Most business owners have to keep track of a mind boggling number of computer software product keys. Serial numbers, product keys and registration numbers come in a variety of different forms, such as email messages, printed on the CD/DVD case or on the product box, etc. This information is easy to misplace, and usually seems to come up missing just when you need it most.
If you have a Macintosh computer, there is a way to minimize loss. The answer to tracking down lost keys is not to try and track them down, but to use a key finder instead.
What is a key finder?
A key finder is a small app that will search through the files in your computer for product keys and serial numbers. Because these are usually stored as encrypted files, most finders will be able to decrypt the files and then compile the keys into a list which is then presented to the user.
These apps are useful if you can’t find a product key for those times when you need to reinstall software. However, they could pose a slight security risk, especially if the app is left on your computer. If a hacker gains access to your system and runs the key finder, they could get ahold of your product keys and essentially be able to steal your software. This is a pretty rare occurence however, as hackers don’t normally go after product keys.
An example of a key finder for Mac is Mac Product Key Finder. When you install this app, you will be able to execute a search of your hard drive and the app will present you with a list of programs and their related serial numbers. Of course, the app won’t be able to obtain all serial numbers, especially if the developers have used a strong level of encryption for their security keys. But this will certainly return a fair amount of keys.
Is there a better way?
While key finders are useful tools, it is better to be more proactive about storing keys safely, especially when using expensive software. The best solution is to keep both a digital and physical copy of all product keys and serial numbers for your computers and systems.
By digital version, we mean you should use something like a spreadsheet with the product name, the computer it’s installed on, the product key and date installed. Be sure to include computer serial numbers – they are usually on the case, or on the bottom side of a laptop – and peripheral serial numbers as well. This will help ensure that the information is easy to find should you need to file a warranty claim.
For the physical version, the easiest thing to do is to simply print out the digital version and keep a copy in a safe place, like a safe. Then, make sure that the spreadsheet is locked and access limited. If you can add a password to access it, all the better. If you are looking for another solution, where you don’t have to keep track of all this information, why not work with an IT partner like Providence? Contact us today to see how we can help.