Find Windows XP Product Key From Your Installation CD [How To]
By on June 25th, 2008

Have you lost your Windows CD Key and are desperately looking for it? No backups, nothing. What do you do now? Well till you have your Original installation you can easily find the Product key without breaking a sweat.

Here are the simple steps you need to perform in order to get your Product Key from the installation CD.

(Note: This may only work for certain OEM CDs, if it does not work for you, you can check out our earlier post on how you can find your Windows XP Product key.)

  1. Insert the Installation CD into your CD / Drive Drive.
  2. Explore the CD and navigate to the i386 folder.
  3. Open the file UNATTEND.txt and scroll down to the last line.
  4. You will find your Windows XP Product key there.

We were able to find the CD key on a Windows XP Corporate Edition installation CD and would love to know if you were able to find it on your own installation CDs. Do let us know through your comments on how it went for you.

Via: [Cool Tech Tips]

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Author: Keith Dsouza Google Profile for Keith Dsouza
I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

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  • Moldova

    This is very nice. I didn’t knew it.

    • sagar

      Johnny u r really great thank you very very very very veryyyyyyyyy much …u are genius….:)

    • Rachana

      Well it really worked. Thanks a lot.

  • Techblissonline Dot Com
    • Vanessa


  • Magie

    I use to write the key prouct in the back f the CD cover. It’s conventional way, but it helps me a lot. Thanks anyway for your tip.

    • tawi

      There’s nothing on the back of my CD cover, so I was more than happy to finally find out what this pesky key was!

  • Paul

    Thats brilliant. Not sure how I never knew this before. Just saved my arse as well as we have a ton of legit XP disks but no CD keys anywhere!

  • Brad

    I tried this and there were simply “” where the key should be. I wonder if x64 is different? It also says in the text document that it is a sample. How else can I find it?

  • Allon Maxwell

    ALAS!!!! …… On my Win XP home OEM CD it does find a key. However it doesn’t seem to be the actual key for the disk. I think it is a sample. When I try bto use it to install a message pops up to say it is an invalid key.

    I checked on a second OEM disk. It has the identical key to the first disk in the unattend.txt file.

    Back to the drawing board!


  • Murugan

    This google is very good, helps us to find out each and everything.

  • Michael

    This Tip does NOT work, while the there appears to be a key listed in the i386\unattend.txt file it is NOT a valid one.

    If anyone knows if it possible to get a valid KEY from file on the installation CD please post. I have a an installation disk but CD KEY, the former IT guy never wrote it down anywhere.

  • Jeff

    if u still have the ISO do this: open the folder i386 and then open the file winnt.sif . There is located the Serial of any un-attended XP

    • jerikh

      Hi Jeff, GREAT tip!! This worked on my install CD as well, since my CD did not have the .txt file specified in the article above. You’re a life-saver, thanks so much!

      • lostsouler

        lol works like magic…thanx mr

      • krush

        amazing!! the unattended file did not work for me, this did….thank goodness

      • vwlover

        Worked great, thank you

    • Sugar

      THANK YOU!! It works like a charm :)

    • Yosef

      THANKS!!! It really really works!! Its amazing that I have never seen this anywhere and all of a sudden, this tip has made my life a whole lot easier. THANKS!!

      • Kelly

        This worked for me! Thanks!

    • Nate

      THANK YOU Jeff! This tip saved me much hassle. Cheers!

    • Katie

      thank you so much!!!!

    • Shach

      I couldn't locate a file called winnt.sif in the i386 directory or anywhere else on the installation disk. Any ideas anyone?

      • lmnop

        I’m having the same problem; the code in “unattend.txt” is not valid, and same as Shach, there’s no “winnt.sif” file in my i386 folder either… any other options out there?

    • Dan

      Great tip, thanks. I had the .txt file but the same # as everyone else. 2 years ago I had Dell install XP and the label on the machine is for Vista and does not work. They supplied no documentation for the XP install. This saved me a couple of days.

    • Andale

      This one actually works!!!

    • Denisa

      It really works. I couldn’t find the unattend.txt file but it is there in the winnt.sif file. thanks

  • Traci


  • Pete

    This is absolutely amazing, my son lost his instalation key and i thought we where done for.
    Thank You

  • Sukha

    Hey! That key is wrong. I have 5 windows xp compact disks and unattend.txt folder shows same key for every cd.
    You are wrong!!!

  • John

    This absolutely worked for me. Probably different versions of windows or what have you. I was installing Windows XP Professional.

  • kkkk

    i didnt found the i386 and unattented

  • Alexandre

    GREAT!!! This tip saved my skin!

  • Arne

    To confirm: this is *not* a valid key, it’s the “default key” and it is the same for *all* installation CDs of windows.

  • Stevem

    I rang microsoft support to get a new key. They said 3-5 working days to generate. What a load of crap. I asked them if there was any way to pull the key off the disk. They said no. Got this tip. Worked perfect. Thanks for nothing Microsoft . Nice support

  • BuddyBear

    Worked fine for Me. Great info to know.

  • drew

    i have been stupidly looking al over the web to maybe find a working key. but with your help i found it within seconds and it worked perfectly 100%. thanks

  • Matt

    This was the best advice I’ve gotten all day!!

  • keon

    Hi can you help me to find the product key on a vista installation cd. thanks.

  • kirkos

    This wouldn’t work for me either. The key listed on the UNATTEND.txt won’t allow me to install XP.

  • chris

    If you’re all saying its a sample and they’re all the same, why dont you post the numbers you saw for comparison? Itll save alot of trouble for the people that just have to try it to be sure. If I saw someone else post the same number I saw I wouldnt even attempt to try it… Mine BTW is: “CD87T-HFP4C-V7X7H-8VY68-W7D7M”

    • MS_AGENT


      • Windows_Engineer

        wow ms_agent youve got some real audacity to be a jerk towards people looking for solutions to microsoft’s poor programming. I would like to know if you are even certified, and if so i want your employee number so i can talk to my one of the Execs i have on file a microsoft HQ to have you evaluated

      • randy

        thats funny…black listed…every windows xp disk has that key in it

        • Esmith

          Randy , Chris, and Windows_Engineer, you guys are smart….
          should have known M’S” has a default P’K’ for every cd o/s software.
          That’s excellent!

    • mik

      just checked mine is the same number so where is the real one

    • pepe

      lolololol same key number on mine..dont work!!!!

    • Paulie

      Been searching through lists and lists till this one… Thx!

    • Cholombatalipora

      This key worked for me. Thank you.

    • H

      I got some one, that does not work me.NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    • Peter

      Hey, this one worked for me…it’s a farce activating Windows XP now, I know for a fact, I’ve owned enough laptops, etc. that I’m legally entitled to install Windows XP, and I’m sure so has everyone else…

    • CrunkMommaFunk

      Lucky me, both the unattend.txt and the winnt.sif both give me the “black listed” key, which does not work in my PC “CD87T-HFP4C-V7X7H-8VY68-W7D7M”. Would love to know another way. Could have sworn I scanned my key and kept a jpg of it but not that I can find. :(

    • Dan

      Mine is the same.

  • Jess

    EXCELLENT! Had to reinstall from an old disc, which had been separated from the KEY #. Much anguish and $20 saved. (Recovery keys software would have been the “scenic route” to get this.)

  • Johnny

    If this method doesn’t work, search the XP disk for a file called winnt.sif
    The product key given there will likely work if the unattend.txt key doesn’t.

    • caiovino

      unattend.txt didn't work for me, but winnt.sif worked great!


      • vahid

        Its work for me , TY bro , i will remmeber this TIP

        • RNM1

          can’t find winnt.sif. where is it?

    • latin


      open the file in notepad


      great tip ;)

      • general hanor

        This is the correct tip to use
        Unattend.txt is a the default key used for temporary install, you still have to validate, where as every legit copy of xp should have a winnit.sif file that is unique. use this.

        Also, booting from CD typically eliminates the headache of having to know your product key (especially if your dealing with a volume licensed copy of xp)

      • masud


    • lady

      the winnt.sif was the one that worked for me

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