Retrieved Old Systems32/config folder how do I find product key.

Oct 4, 2018
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Hi and thanks in advanced to anyone who takes a stab at helping me, it is greatly appreciated.

I was fortunate enough to be able to retrieve the system32/config folder from an old harddrive (2009) and wanted to find its windows product key to start fresh on a different harddrive. Is this possible? I tried to use produkey and magic jelly bean setting the hive to the folder that the folder is placed in, but had no luck. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


best,

struggling computer guy
 
Oct 4, 2018
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First let me say thanks for your help. I had tried to use produkey as described from that article before with no luck. Any other suggestions? or maybe I am doing it wrong...
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
It could be the product was activated by the key built into the motherboard as was common on OEM* systems from win8 days and newer.
Can you install the entire drive into your system and then point produkey to that drive instead?

*Hp, Dell, Compaq...
 
Oct 4, 2018
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Thanks for keeping up with this. So I know that it is not a motherboard linked product key since the pc came with windows Vista (for which I have the code if thats important), but I upgraded it to Windows 8. I cannot install the entire drive. So the issue is that I am accessing the drive through an ATA bridge and the Drive is not picked up by windows and its in RAW format. Unfortunately I cannot access the drive without formatting it (which I do not want to do since that would lose the data.) The data I do not care about, but the operating system I do since I do not want to go and buy another. As a result I am only permitted 2GB of data using easeus software (how I retrieved the Windows/system32/config folder in the first place). Any other suggestions?


best,

Ryan
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
In the recovered config folder; do you have a file called software? That's the part of the Registry hive that the key encoded within. It should be fairly large and not just a few hundred kb.

The Registry is stored in the Default, Sam, Security, Software, and System hives (basically database files)
 
Oct 4, 2018
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You may have discovered what the problem is. The files in this folder all seem to be of the appropriate sort "default, sam, security, software, etc" as you said, but all of them are 0kb with the exception of software (8kb) and a components file 1,024kb. Fascinatingly the folder has no files of any substantial size within them, yet when I check the properties there is supposedly 3.22mb of data within them. On the busted harddrive there were three different folders of windows. I took the most recent that was from 2016. The others were from 2010, and 2006 and I feared they would retrieve the windows vista key that used to be on the computer. I suppose its important to note that I attempted to retrieve some photographs from the dead drive at the same time and all of those came up dead when the were transferred. In other words the files were transferred but could not be opened even though they were normal JPEG format. I thought nothing of it since I do not really care if I retrieve the pictures or not since I considered them gone a while ago. Not sure if that is useful information or not. Any ideas then on how I should proceed?
 
Oct 4, 2018
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I am currently sorting through the harddrive looking for the windows.old, but while it is running I noticed that I had a windows10upgrade folder. Is it possible that the reason the other folder was empty was because I upgraded to windows 10 during the free upgrade window? I had not remembered upgrading this system within the time frame, but it seems I may have. Perhaps this changes where I should be looking for the windows registries?


best and thanks again
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
It does. It converts all the old windows OS into a dead folder, so it won't affect boot or running processes. That's a 'just in case' folder, in the event you eant/need to revert to the original OS. If you are happy with the new OS and don't ever plan on reverting, that folder can be dumped, it's a big folder and can use a lot of space on smaller drives.

Once you accept the win10, the original key is used as the new win10 key and automatically registered when you login with Microsoft account. If you revert or reset to original OS by using install media, the original key is still good.

The free 10 upgrade was originally officially for 1 year after release, but Microsoft held it open (unpublicised) until just recently, so it's likely it was done in the time frame even after the year was up, especially if you had the upgrade app viable and waiting.
 
Oct 4, 2018
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This is good news. Is it possible then, that if I registered the device with a microsoft account, I could then get the product key from that? Additionally this implies that old.windows or otherwise would have the same product key, and be able to utilize windows 10?


best,

Ryan
 
Oct 4, 2018
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Sorry to bombard you, I retrieved a windows\system32\config folder that I believe has the content I am indeed looking for, however, when I use produkey as described from the article I am told that there is an error " 1017: the system has attempted to load or restore a file into registry, but the specified file in not in a registry file format." What now is the issue?
Please any help is greatly appreciated.


best wishes
 

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