How to Find the Serial Number in Registry Files

By Erin Banister

If you lose a serial number for a computer game or program, it can take a bit of effort to find it. Many computer programs store the serial number in the Registry file, which is a database where Windows allows computer programs to store their settings for profiles, user data, and more. If the serial number is stored in the registry, it's relatively simple to find with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Step 1

Click "Start."

Step 2

Click "Run."

Step 3

Type in regedit, and click "OK."

Step 4

Search for the program title by clicking CTRL+F and entering the program name in the search box. Press "OK."

Step 5

Write down the numbers in the data column, if it is the serial number. On more complex programs, like Microsoft Office, you may have to look through several sub-folders to find a "Registration" folder (or in the case of MS Office, you'll look for "Office Genuine Advantage"). Once you've found the right folder, a long string of numbers and/or letters will show in the data column -- write this down and keep it in a safe place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some programs don't offer the option to view a serial number in the registry. If you're having a hard time finding a serial number, there are a number of serial programs (called key finders) available free on the internet to help you find the correct code.
  • Do not adjust anything in your Registry file. This is a centralized location storing the back-end to all of your programs, and it tells your computer how to run them. If these files are corrupted, even with a single character, your programs may not run again.