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Moving On from Windows XP? Collect Your Software Product Keys First

Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP this year on April 8th. We highly recommend that you update your system to Windows 7 at least. It will be a less jarring environment for XP users than Windows 8.1, and of course, it will be supported for years to come.

Before moving on from your old trusted XP system, you’ll want to bring over some of the software you’re currently using. But chances are you don’t have the key codes for those programs anymore. Here’s a look at a couple of free tools that will allow you to find most of the product keys you have.

Recover Software Product Keys

For finding system information, Belarc Advisor is a great start, and possibly all you’ll need. It’s free and will find the product keys for your operating system, Microsoft Office, as well as other popular software from Adobe, Nero, Corel, and video games. The scan takes several minutes because it does more than just find your software keys. It also lest you know about Windows and software updates you’re missing – similar to Secunia PSI.

Belarc Advisor

Download Belarc Advisor

Another popular freeware program is KeyFinder from Magic Jelly Bean. It supports finding the products keys for over 300 programs

The caveat? Well, being that it’s freeware, it’s going to try to sneak some crapware on to your system. Like in this example it want to install the AVG Toolbar and change the search provider and homepage.

Make sure you select Custom Installation and uncheck both boxes for the extra crapware.

Custom install

This is what I got when trying to install it on a different computer. Some fantasy game that I surely don’t want and is probably full of bloatware itself.

KeyFinder

Also, when closing, it tries to sell you a premium version of the “Recover Keys” key finding program – which you might want if you have tons of software on your system. But you can check the box to have that stop showing up.

Closing Key Finder

Once you make get through the clean install and remove the reminder, KeyFinder actually does a good job. It’s simple to use and and fast.

key Finder

Download Magic Jelly Bean KeyFinder

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2 Responses to Moving On from Windows XP? Collect Your Software Product Keys First

  1. ChicagoMom February 5, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    Brian,

    Thank you.

    You seem to know just what I need to help make my life a little easier.

    Much appreciated.

  2. Larry Salberg February 6, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Great suggestions!

    BUT, for those millions still using XP who either don’t want to change or are hardware limited, Microsoft is missing a HUGE opportunity. MS has admitted it will still have a team dedicated to providing PAID  XP support for premium enterprise customers who have figured out that, for their organization, it doesn’t pay to migrate.

    Soooo, if MS were on the ball (and truly looking at their “bottom line”), they would offer continued XP support on an “annual fee” basis to the general consumer. They’ve already embraced this concept and built the front-end business systems to support this when they started Office 365.

    The attractive thing is, what with the MILLIONS of remaining XP users, they could price this VERY reasonably (since they’ll be developing the support patches for enterprise customers anyway). I’d wager that it would cost MS less than $1 per XP user per year. So, despite many XP users who won’t sign up, think of the cash boon if MS were to charge a mere $2.99 per year. Heck, I’d bet users would eagerly pay $9.99 per year.

    I’m surprised no one in the computing world has suggested this idea yet. MS doesn’t seem to “get it” that the bulk of ordinary computer users are NOT geeks chomping at the bit for the “latest & greatest” but simply want their OS to quietly do what it’s supposed to do (just work). Maybe more profits, however, might have an appealing “ring” to Microsoft.

     

    Final Thought: Bill Gates supposedly wants to see computers deployed worldwide, especially in 3rd world countries, right? The cast-off computers being donated for such purposes by many organizations (including charitable mission-oriented organizations), are older hardware that won’t support upgrading, yet can still be useful. Many are opting to strip these computers of their Windows OS in favor of Linux. MS should consider this threat as the loss of potential future MS customers. Apple took the “long view” in its marketing from its early stages through today by providing its products in schools at cost, thereby endoctrinating teachers and students who would later turn out to be Apple’s future HUGE iPod, iPhone, iTunes customer base. If MS ever hopes to crack the 3rd world market, it had better recognize the full range of its demographics.

    The reality is that the vast majority of users don’t utilize a fraction of the new bells & whistles each OS revision deploys. AND, in some cases, they downright resent & reject the changes if the changes FORCES the user to change (e.g. Windows 8 and its radical UI change). Change is nice but not when it’s forced. Hence, XP is just fine for many in the USA, as well as most in 3rd world countries who haven’t ever seen, much less had an opportunity to use, a computer.

    PS – For the critics who will trash me for this idea, I have Windows 7 on six of our family’s PCs and love it. I also still have XP on two machines that I’d gladly pay for continuing support because I’m sure any upgrade will result in insurmountable difficulties. I refuse to be forced to change to Windows 8, remaining optimistic MS will correct its sins with Windows 9.

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