Table of Contents

Updated by Tracy King on Oct 24, 2023

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Remove the Dead Hard Drive Step 1: Open your computer's casing using a screwdriver or press the case-opening button; Step 2: Find...Full steps
Use EaseUS Key Finder Step 1. Take the OS hard drive off from your dead or unbootable PC, then connect it to a running...Full steps
Use Produkey Step 1: Remove the hard drive from your unbootable PC and connect it to another PC to retrieve...Full steps


If you're a computer expert or a local technician, you might need to reinstall Windows frequently. If the hard disc is readable, one prevalent and aggravating issue is that the user does not have a valid Windows license. There are cases when the Windows 10 product key is impossible to read.

And as we all know, the product key is an essential aspect of the windows computer, particularly when attempting to install Windows 10 but unable to boot. So, if you want to Recover Windows 10 Product Key from External Hard Drive, you're at the right place. In this article, you'll find some of the finest ways to recover the windows 10 product key from an unbootable hard drive. Let's get going!

Can I Retrieve Product Key from Another Drive?

When you purchase Windows 10, you will be given a unique product key to your operating system that confirms that you have an activated copy of the operating system. The product key for every Windows PC is a 25-character string that looks like this: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX. There are various reasons why you would need to recover Windows 10 product key from an external hard drive, including the following:

  • The product key is necessary to reactivate or reinstall the Window
  • To recover genuine Windows 10 product keys from a dead laptop or PC
  • It is essential to install and activate Windows 10 on any other healthy device.

In cases when your computer stops working, the next step is to reinstall Windows to a backup system or laptop. However, when you ultimately reach the Reinstall option, you'll be requested to provide your Windows product key to complete the process.

So, if you're wondering about "How Do I Retrieve a Product Key from Another Hard Drive," the following section has the answer.

Remove the Hard Drive from the Dead PC

Remove the hard drive from the dead PC first and fix it into a healthy device to recover Windows 10 product key. Here's how to remove the hard drive safely:

Step 1: Open your computer's casing using a screwdriver or press the case-opening button.

open computer case

Step 2: Find the hard drive that is housed in a cage.

find hard drive

Step 3: Remove the hard drive by pushing the lever and detaching the IDE ribbon cable and the power connection.

remove the external hard drive

Use Powerful Key Finder to Recover Windows 10 Product Key from External Hard Drive

If your PC is in a condition where it is unable to boot or dies, you might need professional third-party software, such as EaseUS Key Finder, to retrieve all keys.

EaseUS Key Finder is an intelligent key finder that helps you recover Windows 10 product keys from the external hard drive. It is a professional application that scans the Windows Registry. When scanning your computer's current operating system and an external hard drive, you can also scan the Registry of the external hard drive using this software. Moreover, you can utilize this professional tool to identify the license key for any installed applications on a dead and healthy computer.

  Free Download

Support Windows 11/10/8/7

Step 1. Take the OS hard drive off from your dead or unbootable PC, then connect it to a running computer via a SATA-USB cable as an external hard drive.

Connect OS drive to new computer via USB sata cable as external hard drive 

Step 2. Launch EaseUS Key Finder on the same new healthy computer, click "External Hard Drive", then select your dead or unbootable OS drive below the Choose a drive section. And click "Scan" to continue.

Or, you can browse to select the user account in the dead or unabootable OS drive under the Choose a Microsoft account section.

Locate the dead PC's OS drive

Step 3. Find important product keys from the dead or unbootable PC's OS drive.

1. To find Windows, Applications product keys or WiFi passwords: 

  • Click "Windows" or "Applications" >The Windows or applications' product keys or your WiFi passwords of the dead or unbootable PC will show up on the right pane.
  •  Click "Copy", "Print" or "Save" to back up the Windows or installed software product keys or WiFi passwords.
Find Windows, applications, or wifi code from dead or unbootable OS drive

2. To find browser's or your Windows Credentials' password:

  • Click "Internet & Network" or "Windows Credentials" on the left, and click "Verify Now".
Find browser or Windows Credentials' passwords
  • Put in your Microsoft account and password of the dead or unbootable PC for verification.
Input Windows account and password of dead or unabootable pc for verification
  • Then, you'll see all accounts and passwords that you saved in internet browsers or your PC. You can "Copy", "Print", or "Save" these accounts and passwords as a backup on your new computer.
Save and backup Windows browser or Windows credentials' passwords on new PC.


  • On a Windows PC, EaseUS Key Finder can quickly provide you with the wireless network password
  • It includes a customizable user interface that makes it easy for users to get the help they need
  • Access the accounts and passwords saved in Edge, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer using this handy application
  • It saves your account credentials as well as app settings to prevent getting locked out or having to re-enter your credentials on a new device
  • Serial numbers for Adobe and Microsoft Office software can also be found and saved using this tool. With simple clicks, you can save a phone number in a safe place

Use Produkey to Recover Windows 10 Product Key from Unbootable Hard Drive

ProduKey is a Nirsoft tool that shows the Product Keys for Microsoft Office, Windows, Exchange Server, and SQL Server installed on your machine. Using command-line parameters, you can examine this data for your current or another operating system/computer.

To recover Windows 10 product key from an external hard drive using ProduKey, follow these instructions:

Step 1: Remove the hard drive from your unbootable PC and connect it to another PC to retrieve the product key.

Step 2: Start ProduKey on your computer. After that, select Source from the File menu.

Step 3: Now, choose Load product keys through the external Software Registry hive.

Step 4: Select the Browse button and go to the SOFTWARE registry hive (of your unbootable Windows system) in the Windows\System32\Config folder.

Note: It should be noted that ProduKey enables you to choose the SOFTWARE (registry hive) file directly, and you don't need the Windows\System32\Config folder structure.

go to the software registry hive

Step 5: After that, hit the OK button to list all the product keys available.

(Without Removing Drive) Create Linux live USB drive

If for some reason, you don't wish to remove the hard drive, you can use a Linux live USB drive, which would allow you to transfer the contents from the first machine's disc and then analyze them using ProduKey on a different computer.

To recover the Windows 10 product key from an external hard, follow the below-mentioned method. However, before beginning with the steps, download Ubuntu and then install Rufus to create a Linux USB drive. After that, follow these instructions:

Step 1: Launch Rufus and pick the USB drive. Select FAT 32 under the File System.

Step 2: Now, check the box next to Create a bootable disk and then select the button next to it. After that, hit the Start button.

Note: When the disc has been created, attach the hard disc to your damaged computer and boot from it. Insert the disc, boot it up, and the machine will boot from the USB device.

check the box next to Create a bootable disk

Step 3: When Ubuntu boots, click the disc icon in the panel to display a file manager window. Go to C:\Windows\system32\ on your Windows disc.

Step 4: Select Copy from the drop-down menu when you right-click the config folder. Connect a second external USB device to your computer and transfer the configuration folder.

Step 5: Connect the disc containing the config folder to another Windows PC.

Note: The directory structure must be recreated.

Step 6: Make a Windows folder, then a system32 folder inside it. Transfer the config folder to the system32 folder.

paste the config folder

Step 7: Launch the Produkey and follow the stepwise guide above to recover your Windows 10 Product key.

To Sum Up

As stated above, the Windows product key is essential to reactivate or reinstall the operating system on the Windows PC. However, if you've lost it for some reason, you can use the methods discussed in this article to recover the Windows 10 product key from an external hard.

Moreover, we recommend using EaseUS Key Finder to recover your Windows product key since it's easy to use and helps you securely extract the product keys of different software and applications.

  Free Download

Support Windows 11/10/8/7

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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About EaseUS Key Finder

EaseUS Key Finder offers complete solutions for you to efficiently find Windows or Windows Server product keys, discover Offce, Adobe, and other installed software serials, and find WiFi codes, etc, successfully in simple clicks.

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