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Can I find the Windows XP CD key on the CD-ROM?

If you have a copy of Windows XP Pro, is there a way to find the CD key within the actual Windows XP CD-ROM? Is it embedded in a file on the CD-ROM or elsewhere?

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The CD key for your copy of Windows XP is never on the CD itself. It's provided in one place only—on the license sticker that should have come either with your computer (if you got Windows XP as an OEM preload) or as a certificate in a boxed copy of Windows XP.

Although there are differences between the CDs of different editions of Windows XP, there's never anything on the CD itself that you could use to determine its CD key.

If you have Windows XP running and want to find out what product key was used for that installation, a freeware program called ProduKey can help you find that information. The utility recovers Windows XP product key information for Microsoft Office as well.

This was first published in September 2006

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