[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
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...