How to Find a CD Key Inside a Disc

By Diana Braun

Updated February 10, 2017

Browse the contents of a disc to find a CD key.
i cd-r image by matteo NATALE from

Almost all applications and programs rely on a CD or product key for use. The CD key is a string of letters and numbers that authorizes the use of a specific application. During installation, an application often asks and prompts you for the key before proceeding with the install. To make it easy, manufacturers typically include the CD key on a sticker for reference. If you lost the sticker or piece of paper with your CD key, browse the contents and folders of your CD to find the key.

Insert the CD into the optical drive of your computer.

Click your desktop's “Start” menu in the lower-left corner of the screen.

Click “Computer.”

Right-click the CD drive under the list of available drives and click “Open.” The contents of the CD are displayed.

Browse the folders and files of the CD for the license or product key. Each application stores the product key in a different location. Consult the user manual of the specific application or operating system you are trying to access for the exact location of the product key. Some licenses and product keys may be displayed in the root folder under a .lic file extension.