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Windows 7: Need to get software licenses from HDD that won't boot up

09 Jan 2015   #1
PatrickGSR94

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
Need to get software licenses from HDD that won't boot up

Wasn't sure where else to post this thread.

I have a user workstation in my office, a Dell XPS, purchased August 2013, and unfortunately only had the 1 year warranty on it. The machine started exhibiting weird behavior the past few weeks, and then got to the point where it wouldn't boot up at all. I ran the Dell diagnostics on the system and it said the hard drive was bad, pretty much.

I ordered a new HDD to install in the machine, because it's all good otherwise and spec'd pretty well to be used as a production machine. The problem is I don't have the serial numbers handy for things like Office 2010, and some other software really should be removed before transferring it to another HDD (essentially a new machine).

Normally I run Belarc Advisor on an existing machine before doing any type of reformatting or HDD replacement, but I don't think that's possible in this case, since I can't actually get this HDD to boot up. I was going to put the HDD into another machine as a secondary drive to see if I could at least access files on it, but I read that Belarc Advisor can't be run on a secondary drive in that way, to get serial numbers off of it.

Do I have any other options here?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Jan 2015   #2
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

What errors do you get when you try to boot up that HDD in its original PC? Does it boot in Safe Mode?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jan 2015   #3
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Normally I run Belarc Advisor on an existing machine before doing any type of reformatting or HDD replacement, but I don't think that's possible in this case, since I can't actually get this HDD to boot up. I was going to put the HDD into another machine as a secondary drive to see if I could at least access files on it, but I read that Belarc Advisor can't be run on a secondary drive in that way, to get serial numbers off of it.

Do I have any other options here?
If Golden's questions don't help I would next try NirSoftís ProduKey if you can read the HD from another PC.

Quote:
The great thing is that you can even recover a key from a computer that wonít boot anymore. All you need is access to the disk drive from a working computer. Keep reading for more.
Quote:
Use NirSoftís ProduKey to Recover Product Keys (Even if You Canít Boot the PC)

The easiest way to get access to your product key is with a third-party utility, and thereís nobody better at those than NirSoft. Their utilities are always crapware-free, and are always really useful. The only issue with this particular utility is that some antivirus will detect it as a false positive, because some malware might try to steal your product key.
Source: How to Find Your Lost Windows or Office Product Keys

NirSoftís ProduKey: ProduKey - Recover lost product key (CD-Key) of Windows/MS-Office/SQL Server
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Jan 2015   #4
PatrickGSR94

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

HDD will not boot up at all, even in safe mode.

I tried ProduKey last Friday afternoon, but couldn't get it to work. I placed the HDD into a USB enclosure and plugged it in to my machine. It powered up, and after my machine installed the drivers, the HDD was visible, at which point I started copying the Windows\System32\config folder. However the HDD access only lasts for a couple of minutes before it becomes inaccessible.

I tried plugging it into a different set of USB ports on my machine, and same thing: after drivers installed, I could access the HDD for maybe 2 minutes before it disappeared out of Windows Explorer. I tried other machines in the office, same thing. I tried copying the config folder files to a USB stick, or reading them off the HDD directly with ProduKey. Nothing worked. Either nothing came up, or I got an error message in ProduKey about "A required privilege is not held by the client".

I'm at a loss because I have no clue where the MS Office product key is for that particular machine.

*edit* so I ran ProduKey as Administrator and now it seems to work, but it only lists the Win7 product key, and being an OEM installation, it's different than the sticker on the outside of the computer case. It does not list the Office 2010 product key, which is what I need.

Also tried Magical Jelly Bean, same thing. Interestingly it shows the correct OEM key for my own Win7 installation, and my Office 2010 install, but does not show the correct one for the registry hive copied from the non-booting HDD. And it still will not show the Office 2010 key.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2015   #5
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Right now you can get MiniTool Power Data Recovery Boot Disk for free.
It has a Damaged Partition Recovery tool you could try.
MiniTool Power Data Recovery Boot Disk (100% Discount)

It sounds like the HD is damaged, so I don't know if this will work.

But, it's free at the moment so it's something you could try.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2015   #6
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Just saw your edit to your last post.
Ignore my previous post, it won't help...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2015   #7
gregrocker

 

You can try How To Recover Windows 7/8 Product Key From Unbootable Drive
How to Recover Windows and Software Keys from a Broken Computer - How-To Geek
How to Find Your Lost Windows or Office Product KeysProduKey - Recover lost product key (CD-Key) of Windows/MS-Office/SQL Server
Option Five in Product Key Number for Windows 7 - Find and See

Where is the Office 2010 disk or installation download and the accompanying Product Key on it's insert or confirmation email?

Not having these keys backed up is like throwing away $150-250.

But if the Product Key on COA sticker is still readable you can end up with a better install as a consolation, by following Clean Reinstall Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jan 2015   #8
mike009

w7 ultimate 64-bit sp1
 
 

Hi Patrick, you mentioned you use USB enclosure, dose it have mains power? (3,5" HDD's need 12v to operate if it is just USB power then you will only get 5v).
If you can get the HDD to work for more that 2 min try running SFC /scannow and chkdsk /r /f, this will need to be done as administrator. This could make the HDD work in the original system.
SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker
Disk Check
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Need to get software licenses from HDD that won't boot up




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