Product key tracking for Mac

OSX_Aug05_BIf you find that you need to reinstall software on your computer, or a number of computers in the office, you will likely need to enter a product code/cd-key or serial number. Many offices don’t follow a set practice with regards to storing these keys and this can cause an issue when you are trying to track down what they are. Unless you are a Mac user that is.

Serial numbers, product keys and registration numbers come in a variety of different forms – email, physically on the CD/DVD case, on the product box, etc. The answer in tracking them down is not to try and track them down. What’s far easier is 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 say 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 will also be able to get hold of the product keys and essentially be able to steal these. This is pretty rare 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 beside the name. 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 for companies to be more proactive, especially when using expensive software like the Adobe creative suite. The best solution is to keep both a digital and physical copy of all product keys and serial numbers for your computers and systems.

For the digital version, something like a spreadsheet with the product name, computer it’s installed on, the product key and date installed, should be enough. Be sure to include computer serial numbers – they are usually on the case, or under the laptop – and peripheral serial numbers as well. This will also help ensure that they 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, one where you don’t have to keep track of all this information, why not work with an IT partner like us. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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