How to find lost license keys and serial numbers for apps on Windows 10

Paid software verifies a user in two ways; a license key or serial number provided at the time of purchase, or by having the user log in to an online account used to make a purchase.

Both methods have their own advantage. Authentication through an online account means you only need a username and password to verify a purchase. If you forget one of the two, it’s easy to recover.

Verification through a license means you do not have to be connected / online to activate and use an app. However, with this method, you need to keep your license key or serial number secure.

Find lost license keys and serial numbers

An app license key or serial number is lost when you reinstall Windows 10, and sometimes it can be lost when you uninstall and reinstall the app yourself. Errors within the app can also remove a license.

If you have lost a license key for an app, but the app is still active and you want to recover the license / serial number, you can do so by searching the Windows registry. However, it is not easy because the registry is large and therefore we recommend using an app called LicenseCrawler.

Recover lost license keys and serial number

  1. Download and install LicenseCrawler.
  2. Launch the app and do not change the default settings.
  3. Click on Start searching.
  4. Let the scan to finish.
  5. In the pane at the bottom, go through the different programs and keys found by LicenseCrawler.
  6. Copy the keys you want to save in a Notepad file, encrypt it and keep it safe somewhere.

Note: This app can also find your Windows 10 license key.


Paid or premium software does not always rely on a serial number or license key, even if it uses an online account to verify a purchase. To combat software piracy, apps use all sorts of different methods to check a license.

Some licenses are not numbers. Instead, they are LIC files executed by an app and read to confirm a purchase. LicenseCrawler cannot find these types of licenses.

If you have already done a clean install of Windows 10, or you have removed the app for which you want to restore a license, LicenseCrawler cannot help you.

LicenseCrawler is free for end users, but you will encounter quite a few annoying windows that need to be turned off when using the app.

Recovery of other types of licenses

For licenses that LicenseCrawler cannot find, you should check your email. Developers often email the license or license file to users. Check the email account with which you made the purchase.

If you are unable to find a license in your email address, you can also try to contact the developer. Let them know you lost the license key, give them the email you used to purchase a license, and the date you made the purchase. In many cases, developers will be able to issue a new license or send your old one for free.

Keep licenses and serial numbers safe

After obtaining a license key or serial number, you must first secure it so that you can find it later.

If you store the information, make sure it is secure, e.g. That the information should not be stored on your desktop in a normal text file. If it’s in a text file, upload it to a cloud drive where you must first log in before accessing the file.

If you use a cloud drive to store a license or serial number, make sure that the cloud drive does not synchronize the information on your desktop. This makes the information easy to steal.

Make sure that the information is not stored locally, or that it is not only stored locally, but also stored elsewhere. If your hard drive or SSD fails, or Windows 10 is damaged, you do not want to lose access to licenses that you recovered simply because you stored them in the wrong place.

Licenses may or may not be transferable, ie a license may be limited to the system on which it was originally used, and not to others. In that case you may have to buy a new license to make it work on a new / different system.

The article How to Find Lost License Keys and Serial Numbers for Apps on Windows 10 first appeared on TechtricksNg.

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