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
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  • http://degreeinelectronics/computertechnology! comp tech

    put windows cd in drive and click on i386. look for winnt.sif. click on it and choose notepad to open it. scroll down and you’ll see a default product key. ***may work for some, but not for others*****
    ****lesson learned: write product key in permanate ink on cd cover or cd itself**** enjoy!!!!

    • johng4060

      I tried all of the well intentioned good advice and found that it does not all work for everyone all the time,don't give up just keep reading all the post's here,(I was having the same frustrations as many of you may be having) .the breakthrough for me came when I read Comp Tech's advice Feb 17 2009, (for which I am very grateful Comp).

      There is a genuine key on the cd,it's just so well hidden away by the " Microsoft fiend's".

      This is an excellent site.

    • Courtney

      I can't find a winnt.sif in i386 and the unattend didn't work for me, I'm going a little crazy is there something else I can try. See my girlfriend decided to wipe her computer, now has no operating system and doesn't have her product key for her disk, so I've put her disk in my laptop to try and find the product key so we can continue installing her windows xp professional. I wan't to be over joyed and posting thank you's lol.

    • Shach

      The only sif file in the i386 directory is TXTSETUP, and it doesn't contain any product key #. Any advice?

    • Dan

      thanks loads, saved me days. I had Dell install XP instead of Vista two years ago and they supplied me with no XP install docs. the label on the machine is for Vista.

  • AG

    I did this and I did get the same code as listed above (Chris). I need to know if there is a way to retrieve the product code off the disk?? I borrowed a genuine copy off a friend and I CANNOT find the envelope it came in. I wasn’t able to install it so I do not have an installed copy; just the CD.

  • manny

    Hey, Chris (feb.7, 09).. i have the same product key as the one you typed in your post.

    And i also wasn’t able to install windows using that product key.

    How come this seems to work for some but not for the others..?

  • jah

    the product key contained within the unattend.txt does not work, and there is no winnt.sif file on my windows xp installation cd.

  • James

    It didnt help me at all.

    But thanks for tryin.

  • Mike M

    It may only work for certain distributions. I can attest that it works for retail copies of XP pro. I’m sure volume licensing and OEM are different. But by the way, the OEM key should be on a sticker on the bottom or back of the computer.

  • Narain

    Yes. I could find my product key in the XP Professional Edition. Thank you for letting us know

  • Mark

    Found the product key right where you stated that it would be. Thank you.

  • Kiki

    That was just outstanding!!! Thank you all!!!

  • Joe

    I used my unattend key it didn’t work but chris’ key from above worked! Thanks chris

  • Paul

    Thanks so much!! I found it on my Windows XP Pro cd i won at computer camp for 50 or 51 tickets. They were having an auction and i had to borrow 3 tickets from my friend but i won it! I was really excited until i brought it home and found out my windows 98 computer with a 20 gb hard drive only had like 500 mb left on the drive and wasn’t enough space. But now it’s 2009 and i have a big hard drive and windows vista and virtual PC so i’m installing it now. i’ll say later if it works.

  • Brad

    Saved me a lot of money on a new OS. For me the code was not at the bottom, but about half-way down the file. It’s not a sample, because I recognized it as the one I had used before. Thanks for the help.

  • john

    yeah, the “unattend.txt” doesn’t work and there is no “winnt.sif”. Here is the product key that I retreaved from my unattend.txt file “JJWKH-7M9R8-26VM4-FX8CC-GDPD8″ if anyone can use this then consider yourself luck because it didn’t work for me. If any one else have a different key than mine of the one Christ posted above, please post it so I can try my luck. Thank you.

  • john

    nothing worked

  • john

    however, here is the key I pulled up from my :unattend.txt file “JJWKH-7M9R8-26VM4-FX8CC-GDPD8″. if anyone else have something different than mine or the one Christ posted above, please post it so I can try my luck. Thank you.

    • Dee

      this one worked thanks man

    • jen

      we got the same product key..gross!! it doesn't work..

  • cankarales

    nothing worked for me. i cant find that winnt file. i found that key in unattend.txt tho “RH6M6-7PPK4-YR86H-YFFFX-PW8M8″ but it didn’t work.

    • rjmozina

      thank you worked for me

      • Ben

        This one worked for me also, but the one in my unattend was


        thank you!

  • cankarales


    to find ur key insert installation disc and go to USWXP32P_ZX folder (might be hidden) and then to sysprep folder and open unnatend.txt there. scroll down and there is ur key.


    • Tal

      Finally I made it to your post and actually tried it before I posted that it was successful and I can confirm that you were the only one who got it right. Thank you so much!

    • Computermindz

      Thx Man… You D Best

      • cankarales

        yea i know xD
        thanks :D

    • Will

      Nothing else worked but so far this looks like it is>

      Thanks for the info

    • john

      wow finally worked spent 2 hours trying everything else until i came to this one cool:) i just needed a key to the os, dont need any thing from microsoft ar anything.

    • Frank

      This worked for Compaq OEM Windows XP.

    • rick

      this one works!!!! thank you soooooo much!

  • jason

    suggestion worked got on another computer to open the install cd and it was right there.

  • codyr2550

    Cankarales worked for me but I had the one that john mentioned. the one that I had did not work for me. very odd.

  • Eamon

    I purchased a new Windows Xp Home Edition (oem) only to find the cd had two trojans imbeded. The cd was counterfeit and so was the COA. I found the original COA using your advice which confirmed the cd was counterfeit.

  • Eamon

    Just noticed the comment from Chris February 7th, 2009 at 1:11 am #. I have the same code on my cd which you quoted above. The key supplied on the counterfeit coa is
    RYQYT-JC2JX-8DMB6-2FX29-P849B which didn’t match the code on the cd. Some retailers can’t be trusted because you don’t know where they are getting their supplies from.

    • Dee

      it worked!

    • george

      yes, this key worked. the key in unattend.txt did not however. i suggest trying this key. best of luck from NZ.

    • cankarales

      that one worked

    • jim

      worked I was trying all the codes I have pro xp

    • yeahhh

      yehhh this pass worked for me too!! kawabanga!!!

    • llie

      fiuuuhhh after trying lots of product key posted in this thread, finally yours works for me. thx man!!

    • deep

      this worked for me!!!

      the only one!


    • Nav

      Unattend.txt did not work.
      There is no winnt.sif file on the cd
      There is no hidden folder: USWXP32P_ZX
      But the key: RYQYT JC2JX 8DMB6 2FX29 P849B worked
      complete random effort

    • excited!!


    • Mel

      Thanks Eamon, your key worked. After HOURS of looking online. Thanks.

    • Kish

      This so worked thanks sooooo much… I thought I was f@#$%@

      Hugs & Kisses….

    • thomsario

      Hey, this worked for me, too! I tried all the previous ones but this one finally took.

  • eddy

    I am using Windows Xp Home Edition (Spanish) which came on my computer. I have the original cd and coa. I believe the key codes given in the unattend file are just samples. The key shown below is not the same as the key I have with my cd.
    ; Microsoft Windows
    ; (c) 1994 – 2001 Microsoft Corporation. Todos los derechos reservados.
    ; Muestra del archivo de respuesta para la instalación desatendida
    ; Este archivo contiene información acerca de cómo automatizar la instalación o la
    ; actualización de Windows para que el programa de instalación se ejecute sin
    ; intervención del usuario. Puede obtener más información en ref.chm ubicado en
    ; CD:\support\tools\

    Unattendmode = FullUnattended
    OemPreinstall = NO
    TargetPath = *
    Filesystem = LeaveAlone

    ; Define la zona horaria a la del Pacífico Noroeste
    ; Define la contraseña de administrador a NULL
    ; Activar inicio de sesión automático e iniciar sesión una vez
    TimeZone = “004″
    AdminPassword = *
    AutoLogon = Yes
    AutoLogonCount = 1

    ; Por servidor instalado
    AutoMode = “PerServer”
    AutoUsers = “5″

    ; Hacer una lista de los programas que se quieren iniciar cuando el equipo inicia sesión por primera vez

    BitsPerPel = 16
    XResolution = 800
    YResolution = 600
    VRefresh = 70


    JoinWorkgroup = Workgroup

    FullName = “Nombre de usuario”
    OrgName = “Nombre de la organización”
    ComputerName = *

    ProductKey = “RH6M6-7PPK4-YR86H-YFFFX-PW8M8″

    • Praveen

      True It happened to Me I tried with 10 Cd"s

  • emory

    I have the Same Key as Chris (CD87T-HFP4C-V7X7H-8VY68-W7D7M) and did not worked. I tried all other keys that are published in this post and none of them worked for me.

    How about trying Jason’s trick posted on May 17th, 2009 at 8:17 pm. He opened it in another comp.

    I need to try this out…..

  • Lee

    The file “winnt.sif” is on the cd. You have to change your folder options to show all hidden files and folders to view it. However I have not tested the product id that is found in that file…I am about to do so now.

  • AJ

    winnt.sif worked for me

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