> Ive just reinstalled Vista on my laptop. I had it activated when i got
> it and today i had to wipe the hdd and reinstall it. Because my copy
> of vista was an upgrade the coa was stuck on to the disc case cover
> and now i cant find it! how can i find my old coa and register vista?
The Windows 25-character Product Key (required to perform the
installation) is not on the installation CD in any way, shape, or form.
It is stored on the CD packaging on a bright orange sticker that says
"Do not lose this number." If it was an OEM (factory installed)
license, it's stored on a label that the PC manufacturer affixed to the
exterior of the PC case, or on the bottom of a laptop.
To recover a lost Product Key:
If your system still runs, you should be able to use Belarc Advisor
to find the Product Key.
(If you have a factory-installed OEM license, and haven't since
reinstalled the OS, the revealed Product Key is probably of the drive
image used at the factory and not your specific Product Key; therefore,
it probably cannot be -- and definitely should not be -- used for a
If it was a retail license and you have proof of purchase:
How to Replace Lost, Broken, or Missing Microsoft Software or Hardware
If it was an OEM license, you should contact the computer's
manufacturer; although very few manufacturers/vendors keep records of
the Product Keys they've sold, it's worth a try before you have to buy a
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