Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Recover A Windows 98 Product Key

[Windows 98; Product Key; Lost Key Recovery]

For whatever reason, you have lost the Windows 98 Product Key for your LICENSED copy of the same and need to retrieve it, but how?

From DOS run the following command for example:

C:\>find /i "ProductKey" C:\windows\system.dat

The Story:
I recently had an old Windows 98 PC that a friend needed help with. It didn't take too long to realize that the system would need to be reloaded. I installed his HDD in another machine and used Linux to back up the drive contents to a DVD-R (a very good thing I did too, as the drive got dropped later and was totally ruined). Obviously now a total reload would have to occur. I installed one of my own spare drives in his machine but I needed his Key to install Windows 98. I found a really easy way to get the Windows 98 product key online. I put the DVD in my box and used the following command from a DOS prompt:

C:\>find /i "ProductKey" e:\windows\system.dat

It returned the key from the file on the DVD. The reload was successful (as it turned out I built him a new[er] box with spare parts I had around the house). I applied all available MS security updates, and also loaded a full compliment of free (for home use) & OSS software (anti-virus; anti-spyware; anti-adware; firewall; FireFox browser; ThunderBird E-mail client; OpenOffice.org 2.0).

Unfortunately, he told me the PS went out after he got it home. Sad. That was a fairly new Enlight unit. Oh well, I have another one he can have...

I know there are other ways to accomplish this task but this is the simplest I have found so far. And, you would be surprised (if you are not in IT) at how many home users still use Windows 98. It's out there in droves...


Anonymous said...

There are so many users still, there is some guy who works on an "unofficial service pack" for 98. Can't remember his name off the top of my head, but Google will show you the way.
I'm still using my copy of Windows 98. A friend gave me the disk years ago when his old compy crapped out and he bought a new one off the shelf. I install it on every computer I cobble together to replace the last computer I cobbled together. Why should I add $150 to that just for a few OS features I need and a whole bunch that I don't?

chronicon said...

I'm still using my copy of Windows 98... I install it on every computer I cobble together to replace the last computer I cobbled together. Why should I add $150 to that just for a few OS features I need and a whole bunch that I don't?

I think that is how a lot of people feel. I have a Win98 partition for the kids to play their games on. It still works just fine, and manufacturers still write drivers for it.

Click here for info on the Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack.

Anonymous said...

Bless you! You have no idea what I have been through to find out how to get another key. If this works...you havemade my day. THX.

Anonymous said...

I hope you are as smart as you sound. My computer has been sitting in the closet for monthts because i can't figure out why it wont recognise my product key. I'll try to retrieve it and see what happens. thanks

Skrpune said...

Thanks so much for the tip! I am trying to revive a Win98 machine for a friend & it needs a reinstall...of course, he doesn't have the product key and I don't have any to spare, but your tip yielded the original OEM key that came with the machine. Thanks a bunch!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, made my day!!!

Anonymous said...
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SO HAPPY said...


Anonymous said...

I really hope this works as today yes,01/12/2012, I was trying to find my Win 98 key also. If it works I will let you know.