Lost Serial Numbers or Registration Keys

Even if you lost your serial number, you may be able to get it back.

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One of the first things you have to do when installing a game is to enter a serial number. Without it, you won't be playing the game. If you are positive you have lost your serial number (double-check the obvious spots again!), you aren't completely out of luck -- yet. There are a couple ways get a serial number without having to buy the game again.

Ways to Retrieve Your Serial Number

* Look in the registry for stored serial numbers. Check to see if the key code is still there.

Even if you uninstalled the game, an entry with the serial number may still be there. It is very important to be careful not to delete any of the entries while in the registry, or you may cause problems getting your other programs to run.

For Windows users, go to Start, and then Run. Type in regedit and click OK. The registry will open. Search for the game's title (CTRL-F). Hit F3 to continue the search if the title doesn't show up on the first page. If you look in the data column, you may see a long string of numbers and letters that looks like a serial number. Write it down and save it.

* Download key finder software. About.com's PC Support Guide has a list of free key finders. This should solve your problem if you had the game installed on the computer at some point.

Tips for Storing Serial Numbers

Be prepared for the next time you lose your CD-ROM case by trying one of these tips for saving your serial numbers.

  • Keep your keys in a text file, and always keep the newest version backed up on a floppy or CD.
  • Write the key on the CD.
  • Keep a notebook of keys.
  • Write it in the manual.
  • Send an email to yourself with the key.