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Software, if anything which your computer is filled with, it is software. Everything from your web browser, media player, email client, system cleaning applications, screenshot capturing and editing tools, to professional programs like your Office Suite, are all digital content which we call software.
Now, many of us use a lot of premium software, which we buy with our hard earned money. Sometimes, we may have to reinstall such software and re-enter the activation code or license code in the application to activate the pro version or premium features. Lose the license, and you will end up using a free version or a feature or time limited trial version.
Here’s what I ran into before I bought a new laptop.
About a year ago, my desktop computer crashed. Unfortunately, I had to revive it by reinstalling the operating system, which meant I had to format the hard drive, before installing the OS. I had loads of software installed stored on my PC, and a few games as well.
Luckily I had saved most of the software license information in text documents, and had them backed up to another hard drive, and later on to my personal cloud storage. Some, I managed to recover from email-receipts, but a few could never be recovered, and I ended up losing the software which I had premium licenses for, and this was a bit heart breaking.
If only I had a way to backup the software licenses, this would have been much easier to recover from. This is actually possible with an application called Updatestar Product Key Finder.
We gave it a test run and found that the program performs what it is designed for brilliantly, and proves to be a lifesaver in case you want to reinstall your applications.
Here’s an analysis of Updatestar Product Key Finder.
The program has a simple UI, with large colorful icons and a light theme, making it very user friendly. There is no option to customize the interface, but that’s ok given that the application is designed for one purpose, and you are not going to be using the interface for more than a few minutes at a time.
Updatestar Product Key Finder scans your computer for installed software, and saves the license information in various formats. The application supports over 8,000 products including Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, and software from popular vendors like Adobe, products, O&O, Acronis, Ashampoo, WinZip, Nero, Electronic Arts games and more.
We will take a look at this in a more in-depth manner, as go over parts of the UI.
When you open Updatestar Product Key Finder, you will be presented with a small pop-up window with the following scanning options.
- Scan local computer
- Scan another Windows OS
- Scan network Computer(s)
The first option scans the PC on which Updatestar Product Key Finder is installed, for product keys.
The second option scans another Windows OS, which you may have installed on your PC, in a dual boot environment like say Windows 7 and Windows 10. Scanning another OS without rebooting into it and getting your keys? How awesome is that? This option works regardless of whether the OS is bootable or not.
The third option scans other computers which are connected to the same network. So you don’t even have to install Updatestar Product Key Finder on each PC. You can even scan Mac OS X machines connected to your network, for product keys.
The Advanced option is not a scan mode in itself, but one which offers a lot more scanning modes.
- Shotgun-mode scan
- Scan Adobe cache.db
- Scan .reg file(s)
- Scan Registry Hive
Shotgun mode scans the Windows registry for specific keywords related to licenses such as regCode, LicenseCode, etc.
The Scan Adobe cache.db does exactly what the name suggests, it scans Adobe’s cache database for license keys.
The Scan .reg files and Scan Registry Hive options scans registry keys you have saved, or the entire registry section where Windows stores the product key information of software.
Once Updatestar Product Key Finder has finished a scan. You can click on the find text icon (magnifying glass on a page), which will bring up a text box on the screen. You can enter a search term like the name of the software whose product key you wish to find. The program will then filter the results to reflect the change. This happens in realtime, i.e., as you type.
Hit the settings button (the wrench and the screwdriver) for some advanced options. This also has a scan filter. There are several products listed here, which can be selected with a left click, or unselected by clicking on the checkbox next to its name. This will prevent the selection from appearing in the scans.
Alternatively, you can right click on any item in the list, to select or unselect it. The context menu also lets you select all items, uncheck all or check all items along with an option to clear selection.
You can also hold down the shift or control keys to select multiple items at the same time.
Now, take a look at the first two icons in the toolbar. The Floppy drive icon, is as you may have guessed a save icon, but in Updatestar Product Key Finder, it is the export button. You can export your product keys in a document for safe keeping.
You can save the document in the following formats: Word (Doc), Text, Rich Text, Excel (XLS), PDF, HTML, CSV, XML and SQL formats.
Optionally, you can click the second icon in the toolbar (Printer icon) to print the product keys on to a sheet of paper, which you should store away in a secure place. The Print Preview option lets you view your document’s layout and styling, and offers basic formatting options before you take a print out.
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