When you install Windows 7 on your computer, it asks you to enter the product key to complete the installation process. The key is printed over your installation disc, and you should note it down to utilize it further.

In general, people make bootable versions of Windows 7 from the original OS files to use it for free. But its not a recommended (or legal) way to use Windows products.

As per Windows EULA, you are not allowed to copy the software onto any additional bootable media. But still, people do that to save bucks.

If you own a genuine retail copy of Windows 7 OS and you have forgot or lost its product key, then this post can help you to find it from the installation package itself in a few steps.

The Steps

  1. Insert your Windows 7 installation disc into the optical drive
  2. Right-click and select ‘Open’ from the context menu
  3. You are now accessing different folders in the disc. Just locate the ‘source’ folder, double-click to open it
    Windows 7 Installation files
    Locate the ‘Sources’ folder in Installation files
  4. Inside this folder, look for the product file. Its a file with .ini file extension, just double-click it to open (or choose a text editor like Notepad to open it)
    Windows 7 product.ini file
    Find the ‘product.ini’ file
  5. Now scroll down to the 10th line in the product.ini, and copy / note the product key. Here is a screenshot from the genuine copy of ultimate edition:
  6. Product keys listed in product.ini file
    Note down the key from the file

That was pretty easy.

This quick trick will work for all the editions of Windows 7. Above trick may not work on OEM copies that came pre-installed with your computer. Hope you find this useful, enjoy.