How to Recover an Office Product Key From a Command Prompt

By James Dalton

Office product keys are encrypted in the registry and cannot be read by humans without special software.
i Key image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from

Microsoft Office requires a product key during activation as proof that a valid license is owned. This product key is encrypted in the system registry. If the product key is lost, it must be decrypted and extracted before it can be reinstalled. Numerous software packages can perform this task graphically. It may be desirable to develop a script that can extract this information using the Windows Command Prompt for reasons such as administrative efficiency or automation. Keyfinder, by James River Software, offers a Command Line version that can easily accomplish this task.

Use Keyfinder Command Line Version to Recover Office Product Keys

Open the web browser and go to

Click the "FREE Trial Download" button directly below the title.

Save the "keyfinder.exe" file to a location on the local hard drive, such as C:\Temp.

Open Windows Explorer by clicking the "Start" button, "All Programs," "Accessories" and then the Windows Explorer icon.

In the left pane of Windows Explorer, click on the drive and folder where the "keyfinder.exe" file was saved.

Double-click the "keyfinder.exe" file in the right pane to execute it.

Click the "Next" button, check the box next to "I accept the terms of the license agreement" and click the "Install" button.

Uncheck both boxes and click the "Finish" button.

Open a Windows Command Prompt window by clicking the "Start" button, clicking "Run," typing "cmd" (without quotation marks) into the dialog box and clicking the "OK" button.

Type in the following command, including the quotation marks:

"C:\Program Files\Keyfinder Command Line (Trial Version)\keyfinder.exe"

The product keys for all installed Microsoft Office products, among others, will be displayed.