Unlike Apple, Microsoft goes a bit crazy when it comes to license keys for its products. If you build a computer and forget to put the COA license sticker on the machine or just flat out lose the license key, what do you do when it comes time to activate? This can be a common problem on laptops because often times via wear and tear the license key sticker gets worn and it becomes impossible to make out the letters and numbers.
Luckily there is a way of recovering your Windows key before you need to do a big system reinstall or just want to have it on file. The software we use and recommend is free and very easy to operate, even for a novice.
Go to winkeyfinder.com and download the Simple Keyfinder utility. It is a very small 38k zip file. The product information says it works with Windows 2000, 2003, XP, and Vista, however with our testing it appears to also work well on Windows 7.