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How to find Windows key on damaged hard drive

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My friend brought me a laptop that I suspected had a broken hard drive. He slammed the screen portion of it down out of anger and it would not start up again. I installed a new hard drive and reinstalled Windows 7 which is what was on it and that went fine. When I connected the old hard drive to my computer using a sata to usb connector, I got nowhere. Windows could not access the drive.

So the next thing I did was plug it into a usb port on my laptop running Ubuntu. It took a long time (almost 20 minutes) but I was able to mount the hard drive and get his pictures off. The thing is, that sticker on the bottom of the laptop that has the Windows key on it is so worn off that I cannot read the key. I also can't boot into the operating system to run a program like Magical Jelly Bean to retrieve the key. What are our options here?
post #2 of 6
call the company that made the laptop give them the serial and you should be able to buy one for pretty cheap. i did that with a toshiba and it was $25 USD for windows 7 home premium i believe
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Alright it is a Gateway, I suppose I will give that a shot. Better than paying full price for a new copy. Thank you.
post #4 of 6
Don't have experience with Magical Jelly Bean but is it possible to copy the entire Windows folder from the dead drive to another drive and point Magical Jelly Bean to it and have it try to recover the key?

I came across another program called miniPe. Not sure if it's still being updated but you should be able to find older versions floating around. What you do is you burn the .iso to a CD and boot from it (while having only the dead drive connected). It should have an option called KeyFinder or something like that.

What this does is it loads the Registry off the dead/dying drive and finds the key for you if the drive isn't too far gone.

Otherwise you'll have to contact the manufacturer and go from there.

Hope it works. Reps if you can. tongue.gif
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Current System
(20 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Xeon X5650 (4GHz @ 1.275v) Asus Sabertooth x58 Gigabyte G1 Gaming 980ti Corsair Platinum 16GB (2x8GB) 2133 DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 850 Evo 500GB (OS Drive) 2x Western Digital 2TB Green (WD20EARS) 1x Western Digital 2TB Green (WD20EARX) 1x Western Digital 4TB Red (WD40EFRX) 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingOS
2x Sony Optiarc DVD RW AD-7240S Corsair Hydro Series H100i 5x Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-14 Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
Samsung S27A950D (Primary) Dell MP2400 (80" projection) Dell Compact Black USB Keyboard (RT7D50) Corsair AX1200 Modular 
CaseMouseAudioAudio
Corsair Obsidian 800D Microsoft USB Intelimouse (Ball) Klipsch Promedia Ultra 5.1 Logitech G930 Wireless Headset 
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Reply
post #5 of 6
get the registry hives off the drive and then mount offline registry. use jellybean on it or decrypt it manually
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Cool, I did not think of trying that. I will give him a call and see what he wants to do, he took the laptop and hard drive back so he can use it for the time being.
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