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Windows 7: registry edit from old windows install

18 Dec 2011   #1

windows 7 professional x64
registry edit from old windows install

I recently upgraded all my hardware, and did a fresh install on a new hardrive. I kept the old windows on another drive. My problem is I had to reinstall a plugin I purchased less than a year ago, and the company has disappeared (pluginlab), they used an online tool to activate software, and this server is no longer available, yes, I am extremely mad, but have searched endless websites & forums and there is no solution to trying to activate this software. $150 down the drain, unless...

Is it possible to somehow extract the plugins information from the old registry, and replace the registry entry in the new registry?
I did not make a backup in the old registry, and I can't boot into that windows version anymore...
Too risky???

My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Dec 2011   #2

Windows 8.1 ; Windows 7 x86 (Dec2008-Jan2013)

Yes, it is possible to load registry hives from another windows installation.
And it is not risky at all if you know what are you doing.
Have you ever worked with registry before (edit, import/export of values)?

And most importantly do you know where is the activation info in old registry?
What is the name of that software by the way?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #3

windows 7 professional x64

Hi Neutron16, thanks for your reply. I have done little bits in the registry before, but not extensively. As I said, I can't import anything, as I did not export from the previous version of windows, so not sure how I would go about importing, if I don't have an exported file.
No, I don't know where the activation information is, but I thought that if it was possible to compare all hives relating to the software, it might be possible to find where they differ. Maybe I am just clutching at straws trying to do this. I suppose an easier way would be to rebuild my old machine, and then get into the registry and export the values that relate to the plugin?
Anyway, your help is greatly appreciated. The software is called PluginLab, plugins for Dreamweaver menu systems ( It is a pain, because I have the activation codes from when I first activated my purchase, but the plugin does not let you get to that stage, as it needs to contact the server, which doesn't exist anymore!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Dec 2011   #4

Windows 8.1 ; Windows 7 x86 (Dec2008-Jan2013)

Ok, here is the deal: you can mount and edit other registries as long as they are not being used at the moment (no previous saving, exporting, dumping required, because we are going to access registry files directly). There is no need to revive old machine, you only need one file to copy to a new current machine.

I also did a bit of research on those plugins -Horizontal and Vertical Flyout Menu and where (I think so) they keep registration info.
Press Start obr - type REGEDIT, open it.
Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then File - Load HIVE.
Browse your old hard drive DISK:\Users\%USERNAME%\, highlight file
NTUSER.DAT and open it. That is HKEY_CURRENT_USER of your old Windows.
It will ask you for a Key Name, enter 123test.

Now you will see that HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE have got a new thread - 123test. That is actually old registry mounted. Go to 123test\Software\Pluginlab, right click Export.
Then click head thread 123test, and File - Unload Hive.

Open exported reg file in NOTEPAD. Edit - Replace, replace
save that reg file and run it.

If something did not work out, try to delete registry thread HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Pluginlab
and then import that modified file again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2011   #5

windows 7 professional x64

Wow, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response. I did try and load the hive, unfortunately, it wasn't there. I did find a NTUSER.DAT in system32, but it only had Microsoft in software section. I did find files called NTUSER.DAT.LOG, but I dont think that is it. Anyway, bang goes that idea. Thanks anyway for your help!
And, yes it was the Horizontal and Vertical Flyout Menu along with 10 other plugins, I bought the whole package, css menu systems and a couple of other plugins. I wish I hadn't bothered now, as i have only used it 2 of them!
Oh, btw, is it possible to remove taht 123test hive now?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2012   #6

windows 7 professional x64

Just thought I would post a reply. I managed to reboot from my old hard drive, exported the registry from HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Pluginlab, then imported it on my new hard drive. Checked it, it shows that the plugin is registered to me. Tried launching Dreamweaver and the plugin still says that it is not registered and won't work!!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit

A lot of apps hide their activation status in a registry key in an obscure location. The reg key and data will be done in such a way as to be not obvious what it is. The more expensive the program the more lengths the developer will go to to prevent you from pirating it. Unfortunately that can cause problems for legitimate users too. In your case, that program may be trying to connect to an activation server that isn't there anymore. Who knows? Some software goes so far as to validate your hardware just to prevent you from installing on another or more than one PC. Windows for instance will do that. I'm not saying it hopeless, but you might have your work cut out for you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2012   #8

windows 7 professional x64

Thanks for your reply. I think you're right, it may be a waste of time. Its a pity, it was a good batch of plugins, it was definitely worth trying, but as you say, these developers want to prevent pirating, but in doing so it has ruined it for a few legitimate software users. I have found another set of plugins on the web, problem is, it looks so similar, I hope it is not the same developers reinvented!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2012   #9
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit

That would suck if you got burned twice in a row. I hope your plug ins aren't to expensive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
Process Monitor

Try "Process Monitor".
It shows you the "Registry" operations that are being executed and their status (e.g. Success or Failure).
Process Monitor

You could run it on your old install and then on your new one and compare the results.

Be aware that there are a ridiculous number of operations, constantly accessing your "Registry", so you will have to wade through a large number of results (unless you can create the right filter).
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 registry edit from old windows install

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