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How to Find Your Windows Vista Product Key

written by: anuramn•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/31/2010

Do you wish to know how to locate Windows Vista registration key? Find it here...

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    Are you planning to reinstall Windows Vista? If yes, you would require Windows Vista registration key. The registration key is also referred as the product key. Let us take a look at what Windows a Vista registration key is and the process of locating the product key for Windows Vista.

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    Windows Vista Registration Key - What it is

    Product key or the registration key is a unique, alphanumeric code that is required during installation of majority of the software programs. The registration key helps in validating the legality of the software copy. In other words, registration key prevents using pirated copy of the software. It is not possible to install or reinstall the operating system without this product key.

    Take a look at the format of the registration key for various Microsoft Windows operating system:

    Windows 7: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows Server 2008: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows Vista: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows Server 2003: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows XP: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows 2000: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows ME: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows 98: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows NT: xxxxx-xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxx

    Windows 95: xxxxx-xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxx

    Microsoft uses product activation in addition to the usage of registration key to make sure the software copy is legal.

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    Locating Product Key for Windows Vista

    You can locate the product key for Windows Vista in the manual that came with your system or sometimes in a sticker placed in your system. To reinstall the operating system, you would require the product key. You may also find this product key in the registry, but is encrypted.

    Locating the product key in the earlier versions of Windows operating system is easy when compared with locating the product key for Windows Vista.

    If you have lost this product key, follow these simple steps for locating the product key for Windows Vista:

    1. Various free product key finder programs that are compatible with Windows Vista are available. Download and install any one of those free program.

    2. Install the program according to the directions specified by the manufacturer.

    3. The software or the free product key finder program will display the product key once the installation is over. The product key will be an alphanumeric code. Make a note of this code.

    4. Double-check the code as even if you miss one character or enter one wrong character, the whole process of reinstalling your Windows Vista cannot be commenced.

    You can now re-install Windows Vista. You may also try using premier product key finder programs for locating Windows Vista registration key. As the name suggests, these programs are not free. The price of these premier product key finder programs ranges between $6 and $30.

    If you are unable to locate Windows Vista registration key with these programs, options that are left to you is either requesting a replacement product key from Microsoft or purchasing and installing a new copy of the operating system.