1 Nickel

Help: Finding my Windows Product Key

I'm in a bit of a mess over here and I hope someone here can save me. =)

Status of current system:
I have a Studio XPS Laptop that I purchased in 2009. A couple years ago the optical drive failed -- I currently have no optical drive.
I've replaced the original hard drive with a new SSD. 
I have the original HDD (installed where the optical drive used to be with a special adapter). It has been formatted but it's POSSIBLE that the Recovery partition is intact.

I installed Windows 10. My computer became sluggish so I re-installed Windows 7 Pro from a USB drive using a (LEGAL) ISO file from MS.
The new Windows 7 installation needs my product key but the sticker on the bottom of my laptop is completely unreadable.

How can I recover it?

I have all the paperwork and disks that came with my laptop, if that helps at all. 

Thanks for your help!

-- Scott

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2 Replies

RE: Help: Finding my Windows Product Key


Unfortunately, Dell does not keep a record of the Windows 7 product keys that ships on the computers. If you downloaded an ISO from MS you will need to contact them for the product key, Even if you had the product key that came with your computer it would not work on an ISO download. Click the link below for more information obtaining a product key.

Get a new Windows product key

For me to better assist in troubleshooting, please click my DELL-Jesse L and send me a Private Message with the Dell Service Tag number and your Dell Order number.


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RE: Help: Finding my Windows Product Key

Jesse L,

Thanks for the reply but, with respect, your answer is not correct.

For anybody else having this problem, here's how I was able to recover my product key:

First, I needed to I needed to unhide and access the files on the recovery partition:

Unhide Recovery Partition

1. Start Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) on your computer and take a closer look at your hard disk. Note the disk number and the partitions.

2. Start DiskPart and select your disk: DISKPART> select disk 0

3. List all partitions: DISKPART> list partition

4. Now, select the hidden partition (see step 1) DISKPART> select partition 1

5. Type DISKPART> detail partition and verify that it is hidden. Remember the Type value, this will be handy if something goes wrong.

6. Set the type of the hidden partition to 07. Type DISKPART> set id = 07 override

7. If everything goes ok, you will receive the following message “Diskpart successfully set the partition ID.“

8. All done. Type Exit to close DiskPart.

9. Check the Disk Management to see witch drive letter has been assigned to the recovery partition.

(From defaultreasoning.com)

Secondly, I located FACTORY.WIM -- this is the original image of your hard drive.

Open the WIM file using any capable program (I used PowerISO).

Extract the entire WINDOWS directory to your desktop.

Next, download & install ProduKey Finder by NirSoft.

Now, run ProduKey Finder and direct it to load your key from "An External Windows Directory" -- and select the WINDOWS folder you extracted to your desktop.

It should be able to find your key.

This worked perfectly for me using an ISO that I downloaded from Microsoft. I entered my key and activated without any issue.

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