I recently stumbled on a program the likes of which I've been looking for for a couple of years now. It's a key recovery program for Macs. What's that? Well, when you get software like Microsoft Office, you get a long key to put in to unlock the software. After you put it in, some software generates a serial number for you to give to support, and others just say you're licensed, but some never show you that original key. You need that key to re-install the software. And if you're disorganized, like me, you might save the disk but not save the key with it (to be fair, I only did this once and learned my lesson!). So if something happens, and you need to re-install, what do you do? You don't want to buy the program again most likely.
It's even more maddening in the case that, say, the install is damaged and you just want to install again. The key is already on your system, but you don't know where or how to dig it out. Some software will find the existing key during the install, but others won't. So unless you can dig up the key, you're out of luck.
There's quite a few of these programs for Windows, and I though for sure there would be several for Macs, too, when I was looking a couple of years ago. But I never did find one – until the other day.
Mac Product Key Finder is freeware that does just that – it pulls out the keys for (some) of your software. The web page has a full list of supported software, and the author is willing to look into other programs if you ask for them. You can print the list out, or save it as HTML, XML, a CSV file, a PDF, or a plain text file. You can also copy keys right from the program to paste in elsewhere.
But Mac Product Key Finder does more than just show you some software keys – it also will show you the serial number of your system, as well as the serial number of any iPhone, iPad, or iPod that was ever connected (and the date that they last connected), which might come in handy for insurance or warranty purposes.
You can see duplicate entires – some are for different versions (like the 3 iWork entries). Other have a key and another entry that just says "licensed" (several Adobe apps are like that). Some are just long keys themselves – not quite sure what they represent. But you can see that there's a lot of good info here, and for the price you can't beat it. The software requires at least 10.5 (Leopard) but is universal and runs on Intel and PowerPC.