Finding particular strings in key names, value names and value data; Remotely editing the registry on another networked computer.REG files[. Okay, so let's first go through the scenarios in which you would or would not need a product key to reinstall and reactivate certain Microsoft. Check out this detailed roundup of free video editors for Windows 10. Find a perfect tool even if you have little to no experience at video editing.
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Editors Archives - PC Product key - confirm
How to find a Windows 7 product key
Before downloads became the norm, software was sold on physical storage media, such as CDs or disks, from which the programs could be installed and launched. But since these media were often copied or lent out to friends or acquaintances, software manufacturers began assigning individual numbers to every copy sold. This ensured that software could only be used once the purchased product key had been entered.
But with the majority of software now available for download, the days of printed product keys on CD sleeves are long gone. Because operating systems come preinstalled when you purchase a desktop or laptop computer, you no longer need to make note of a product key to get started. However, if your hard disk requires formatting because of malware or for performance reasons, you will need to enter the product key during the Windows 7 reinstallation, in order to be able to use the operating system.
If you’re planning on doing a reinstall of Windows but can’t find your product key, you’re in luck because it’s stored in the Windows Registry. It’s just not easy to find, and it’s impossible to read without some help. Luckily, we’re here to help.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the product ID is stored in the registry but is in a binary format that can’t be read by humans unless you are some sort of Cylon. You aren’t, are you?
RELATED:Beginner Geek: How to Reinstall Windows on Your Computer
We’re not really sure why Microsoft went to great lengths to make it difficult to see the product keys for their software, especially since they are stored right in there in the registry and can be read by software, if not by humans. We can only assume that they don’t want anybody to re-use a key from an old computer.
The great thing is that you can even recover a key, even from a computer that won’t boot anymore. All you need is access to the disk drive from a working computer. Keep reading for more.
Three Places You Might Find the Key
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The key you need will be in one of three places:
- Stored in software on your PC: When you (or your PC manufacturer) installs Windows, Windows stores its product key in the registry. You can extract this product key, and–often–enter it when reinstalling Windows on your PC. Crucially, you’ll need to grab it from your operating system before you begin reinstalling Windows or it could be deleted if you format your hard drive.
- Printed on a sticker: Some PCs use a technology called “System Locked Pre-installation,” or SLP. If your PC uses this, the product key on your PC–the one stored in the registry, and the one key-viewer applications display–will be different from the actual key your PC needs. The actual key is on a certificate of authenticity (COA) sticker on your PC or its power supply. The one in the registry and key-viewer application is a red herring. This system was common for Windows 7 PCs.
- Embedded in your PC’s UEFI firmware: Many newer PCs that come with Windows 8 or 10 use a new method. The key for the version of Windows the PC comes with is stored in the computer’s UEFI firmware or BIOS. You don’t even need to know it–assuming you’re installing the same edition of Windows the PC came with, it should automatically activate and work without you needing to enter a key. It’ll all happen automatically.
Be sure to use the same version and edition of Windows the computer came with. In other words, if it came with Windows 7 Home Premium, you can’t install Windows 7 Professional.
If the Key Is Stored in Your PC’s Hardware
Let’s start with the simplest situation. On newer Windows 8 and 10 computers, the key isn’t stored in software where it can be wiped, or on a sticker where it could be smudged off or removed. No one can glance at your computer’s sticker to steal its product key. Instead, the key is stored in the computer’s UEFI firmware or BIOS by the manufacturer.
You don’t have to do anything special if you have this. You should just be able to reinstall the same edition of Windows the PC came with and it should just work without even asking you for a key. (Still, it may be best to find the product key using one of the below methods and write it down before reinstalling Windows–just in case.)
If you want to find the UEFI-embedded key and write it down, you can do so quite simply. Just open the Start menu, type “powershell”, and run the Powershell application that comes up.
Then, enter the following command and press Enter:(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
You should be rewarded with your embedded license key. Write it down and store it in a safe place.
Read the Key From the Certificate of Authenticity Sticker
If you have a Windows 7-era PC, there’s a good chance the PC’s key is a single key the manufacturer uses for all their PCs. Thanks to “System Locked Pre-installation,” you’re not allowed to use that key to install Windows. If you try, you’ll get error messages about the key being invalid.
To check, you’ll need to look for a certificate of authenticity sticker on your computer. The COA sticker verifies that the computer came with an authentic copy of Windows, and that sticker has a product key printed on it. You’ll need that product key to reinstall Windows–and, if the manufacturer used System Locked Pre-installation, that key is different from the one your PC came with in software.
Examine your computer to find the key. On a laptop, it may be on the bottom of the laptop. If your laptop has a removable battery, it may be under the battery. If there’s some sort of compartment you can open, it might be in there. It may even be stuck to the laptop’s charger brick. If it’s a desktop, look on the side of the desktop’s case. If it’s not there, check the top, back, bottom, and anywhere else it might be.
If the key has rubbed off of the sticker, there’s not much you can do. You can try contacting your computer’s manufacturer and explaining what happened, but we can’t guarantee they’ll help. Microsoft would always be happy to sell you another key, though!
Use NirSoft’s ProduKey to Recover Product Keys (Even if You Can’t Boot the PC)
The easiest way to get access to your product key is with a third-party utility, and there’s nobody better at those than NirSoft. Their utilities are always crapware-free, and are always really useful. The only issue with this particular utility is that some antivirus will detect it as a false positive, because some malware might try to steal your product key.
Note: the NirSoft keyfinder won’t always work for OEM computers, depending on how they decided to activate the licenses. If your OEM installed your computer and used a single key for all their PCs, this won’t work. It also doesn’t work for Office 2013.
All you have to do is download ProduKey, unzip it, and then run it to immediately see all of your product keys. It’s as simple as that.
If you want to recover a key from a dead computer, you can hook up the hard drive to a working PC, and then run ProduKey and use File > Select Source to point to the external Windows directory. You can then grab the keys from that computer easily.
You can also use a Linux live CD to pull the Windows directory off the other computer and onto a thumb drive, or just grab the registry files if you prefer. If you need help, we’ve got a guide to pulling data off a dead computer.
RELATED:How to Recover Files From a Dead Computer
Find the Windows Key Without Any Software (Advanced Users Only)
Assuming you can boot your computer without any problems, you can easily create a simple VBscript that will read the value out of the registry and then translate it into the format that you need for reinstalling. We’re not sure where this script came from, but reader raphoenix posted it on our forum a long time ago, so we’re sharing it here for you.
Copy and paste the following into a Notepad window:
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell") MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead("HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId")) Function ConvertToKey(Key) Const KeyOffset = 52 i = 28 Chars = "BCDFGHJKMPQRTVWXY2346789" Do Cur = 0 x = 14 Do Cur = Cur * 256 Cur = Key(x + KeyOffset) + Cur Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur \ 24) And 255 Cur = Cur Mod 24 x = x -1 Loop While x >= 0 i = i -1 KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput If (((29 - i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i <> -1) Then i = i -1 KeyOutput = "-" & KeyOutput End If Loop While i >= 0 ConvertToKey = KeyOutput End Function
You’ll need to use File -> Save As, change the “Save as type” to “All Files” and then name it productkey.vbs or something similar ending with the vbs extension. We’d recommend saving to the desktop for easy access.
Once you’ve saved it, you can just double-click and the popup window will show you your product key.
Pro tip: If you use CTRL+C when the popup window is active, it will copy the contents of the window to the clipboard, and then you can paste it into Notepad or somewhere else.
The product key system is complicated to understand because Microsoft doesn’t really want typical Windows users to reinstall Windows on their PCs. Instead, they’d rather you use your computer manufacturer’s recovery media. But the recovery media is full of the bloatware you don’t want on your PC–that’s why so many geeks often opt to reinstall Windows on their new PCs.
Looking for a Windows 10 Video Editor? Check out the list of 7 programs available for free
So, you just bought a new PC or probably upgraded your current one to Windows 10 (it was about time!). And now you’re probably looking for a video editor because Microsoft stopped supporting Movie Maker at the beginning of 2017. Rest assured you're not alone in your search - and welcome to the club of thousands of Windows 10 users worldwide.
Since the moment Windows Essentials suite reached its end of support, we've been relentlessly testing various programs to find the ones we could recommend as Movie Maker alternatives. Today we've got you covered with 7 excellent pieces of software for video editing. Whether you have some experience in clip making or this will be your first masterpiece, you'll certainly find the right solution here.
Oh, did we mention that all the programs on the list are free? Well, consider it a nice bonus.
VSDC - Free Windows 10 video editor of our choice (Download)
If you're searching for a multifunctional solution including a video editor, a slideshow creator, and a screen recorder, look no further. VSDC has it all. Named among the best free video editing software for PC by the GoPro technical support team, TechRadar online magazine, and numerous Youtuber channels, VSDC deserves to hold the top spot of this list.
Let's take a closer look at what the program offers.
VSDC has a wide array of tools for multiple purposes. It will come in handy if you're just planning to give your video a quick touch-up - say, cutting it, adding a soundtrack, fixing the angle, changing the light & color balance - you name it! Yet, it will also cope with a serious project requiring more advanced features.
There are over 30 color filters including Instagram-style presets. You're capable of cropping the original picture borders or zooming the required part gradually. Here are some other popular effects you might be interested in checking out:
What else is good: VSDC works surprisingly well even on computers with limited resources. In other words, you'll be able to utilize VSDC even if your PC has as little as 2Gb memory left. This capability makes it a good Windows 10 video editor choice even for low-end machine owners.
Format-wise, VSDC will open any file, no matter which device was used to record the footage. It works with 4K resolution too. At the export level, you'll be able to choose pre-configured profiles for further upload to social networks (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) or manually set the format, resolution, and quality including HD.
Where to get it: download VSDC from the official webpage.
OpenShot - Windows 10 video editor which is open-source
Openshot interface looks much more minimalistic, so does its set of tools. This software, however, gets the job done pretty fast due to the most actions being implemented through a drag'n'drop mouse movement. If you were a fan of that feature in Movie Maker, you'd probably be happy to see the similarity. Unlike Movie Maker though, OpenShot is a non-linear video editor, which instantly makes it twice as powerful.
By the way, first-time users might be also pleasantly surprised by the popping up tutorial windows walking you through the main steps and helping get familiar with the interface.
Openshot has an impressive list of over 300 transitions. Each one can be applied to the required part or the intersection of two media files by the drag'n'drop movement as well. You also get to play with some essential effects, such as blurring, brightness&contrast, Chroma Key, deinterlacing, wipe transitions, negative, and color saturation. The picture-in-picture effect is a bit indirect, but there is a way to perform it by right-mouse clicking on the file and choosing a 1/4 size layout. Right-mouse click will also open the menu for time-related effects: freezing, fast-forwarding, slow-motion, etc.
What else is good: being able to apply actions "in bulk" - for example, copying the effects from a chosen area, or separating audio from a single clip or multiple clips simultaneously.
Where to get it: you can download the 64-bit Windows installer here.
Shotcut - a decent Windows 10 video editor for Chroma keying
There are not so many semi-professional open source video editors out there - Shotcut is one of them. It is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux users. With its minimalistic interface, Shotcut is capable of all the essential video editing operations, including such challenging ones as film restoration, footage stabilization, and white balancing.
Applying effects is even more convenient because of the real-time preview you get from the left-side filters menu. Simply choose the filters you'd like to try on the footage and go through the checkboxes to see how they look on the picture in the right-side preview window.
What makes Shotcut stand out as a video editor for Windows 10 though, is the Chroma Keying tool. Movie Maker didn't have the feature-set for removing a green background from videos and images - you could only perform the operation through a 3rd-party plugin (quite a painful sequence of actions). Shotcut in its turn allows for applying this advanced effect quickly and easily. Perhaps, that's the reason TechRadar has named it among the software to replace Windows Essentials suite components.
What else is good: the ability to quickly reverse your actions in a non-linear order. As mentioned before, each filter or effect you apply to the footage is eventually listed in the left-side window with a marked checkbox. That means you can uncheck any box at any time without having to start the editing process all over again.
Where to get it: Shotcut official website.
Avidemux - ultra-simplistic Windows 10 video editor and encoder
If the previously mentioned software overwhelmed you a bit with the fancy non-linear video editing technology or the endless lists of features, you'll love Avidemux. There seem to be no creative element involved. You won't find multiple video tracks or file library. In a nutshell, you can only cut, copy, paste and encode. May it not turn you away from Avidemux though.
If you have little to no interest in all those post-production bells and whistles, and only need to quickly cut out a piece of footage, go for it. Download Avidemux and you'll never regret. Not only does it take less than 3 seconds to install this software, it also provides the fastest and probably the clearest way to cut a video file into fragments. Once you've set the markers for the required time frame, simply go to the "Edit" tab in the upper menu and choose what you want to do - cut, copy, or delete the piece.
Once you're done, you can go ahead and choose video and audio output parameters. For such a basic and free tool, Avidemux has a noteworthy set of codecs to choose from. This is why calling it not just a video editor, but also an encoder is more correct. It supports most popular formats including MP4, MPG, WMV, AVI, DVD, and MOV - as well as the latest H.265/HEVC codec for high-quality videos.
Truth be told, there are few filters available at the configuration level - such as interlacing, noise or sharpness - but they seem to be more technically-inclined rather than serve creative purposes.
What else is good: options to add subtitles and a logo on top of video with alpha blending. These features are also available in the video output menu.
Where to get it: Avidemux version of video editor for Windows 10 can be found on Fosshub, but you can also go through the official product page.
Davinci Resolve - professional software for the experienced ones
Most professional video editors (think Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas) tend to be pricey for an average user who might only utilize them few times a year. However, if when saying "professional" you think of advanced color correction tools, Resolve is a spectacular video editor for your Windows 10 PC available at zero cost.
You may want to check online courses devoted to Davinci Resolve available on Lynda or Udemy because mastering this beast will require a bit of a steep learning curve if you haven't worked with anything like this before. However, Hollywood-level color grading capabilities should be worth it. On top of that, of course, you get to perform basic operations, such as cutting, splitting and sound adjusting.
There are only two downsides worth mentioning and taking into consideration. First, Davinci Resolve will use your PC GPU to the fullest, so make sure to have a powerful graphic card and a good amount of memory available. Second, there are occasional issues with recognizing certain formats of video and audio. The officially recommended format to work with is ProRes, but it also seems to work smoothly with the majority of files in H.264 codec.
Where to get it: on the official product page. Scroll all the way down to find the free version of the software download link.
Videopad - a Windows 10 video editor for personal use
Videopad is another multifunctional piece of software for video editing, screen recording, audio and video recording. Its free version is called demo and restricted to personal use only. The interface will sure remind you of Movie Maker - especially the file library and the upper menu where video effects and transitions can be found.
Videopad is more a robust tool though. There are multiple video and audio tracks available, so you can work with the non-linear sequence. If you're working with text objects, this editor provides a good number of effects. First, there is a way to add subtitles in real-time. In other words, you can manually input the subtitle text with the precision of a second being able to preview their appearance immediately and correct if required. Second, there is over a dozen of text effects and animations to choose from.
However, the most prominent advanced feature available in Videopad is masking. Right-mouse click on the chosen video fragment and proceed to Effects. A separate window will open, where you'll be able to set the masking parameters.
What else is good: a quick access button to create snapshots in multiple resolutions including 4K Ultra HD.
Where to get it: on the official website of the developer company, NHC Software. Scroll down past the red download button to the "Get it free" section.
Hitfilm Express - a video editor for Windows 10 focused on effects
We're finishing this roundup of Windows 10 video editors with yet another powerful solution popular among YouTube bloggers fond of adding special effects to their videos. Hitfilm Express is a cross-platform software and works on Windows as well as on Mac. Its unique feature set is well hidden behind an unconventional interface though. On the basic level, you'll be able to cut and split media files, add text and work with audio.
Once you get the feeling of how the editing process is organized in Hitfilm Express, you'll able to play with the effects. From chroma keying to 3D compositing and many more special effects you've probably seen on TV. Once finished, video projects can be exported in 1080p resolution only, but there are several pre-configured output profiles for further upload to social media.
What else is good: Hollywood movies inspired tutorials on how to apply effects in Hitfilm Express like a pro.
Where to get it: Go to the "Express" page of Hitfilm website to download the free version. You'll be asked to share the page on social networks and leave your email address to get the link.
Despite the rumors, the long-anticipated Movie Maker successor released by Microsoft hasn’t met users’ expectations. Moreover, the alternative suggested by the company developer allows you to create a beautiful slideshow from photos at best and doesn’t look like a full-featured video editor. So, we hope this list of programs will be of help to those looking for a decent Windows 10 video editor.
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