by C.K. MacLeod
How do you load software onto a computer that doesn’t have a CD drive? I had to find an answer to this question after I’d purchased an ultrabook all-in-one — a lightweight laptop with with a tablet touch screen.
I love my ultrabook, but it doesn’t come with a CD drive. Nor should it. The whole point of an ultrabook is that it be portable and lightweight. A CD drive is at odds with these goals.
However, I had some word processing software installed on my old computer that I wanted to install on my new computer. Software that was previously installed with a CD. What to do?
You have a couple of options:
- Buy an external CD drive for your ultrabook.
- Download software onto your ultrabook using your software’s product key.
Fortunately, nowadays, you can purchase most software online and download it easily with a product key. Even software that you had loaded onto your computer with a CD has a product key. So before you buy an external CD drive, try this option first.
Can’t Find Your Product Key?
What do you do if you can’t find your product key? It happens. Your software provider will have sent you email message with a product key in it, so check your email account first. If you come up empty-handed, don’t give up just yet.
Use a Key Finder
It’s possible to retrieve a software product key from your previous computer’s operating system. The product key will be encrypted, so it’s not as easy as searching your computer’s file registry for it. But there are tools you can use to find those product key codes.
I used the free version of LicenseCrawler by Martin Kinzman (see Tim Fisher’s article for a review. LicenseCrawler found a number of software product key codes on my computer. I used Tim Fisher’s procedure for finding my product key code.
I then created a spreadsheet to keep track of all the product codes that LicenseCrawler unearthed, so I have them at hand if I need them in future.
Seek Out the Online Store
Once you have your product key code, you’ll need to go to the online store where you originally purchased your software. You'll now be able to download your software using your product key.
With digital downloads being the norm, CDs may eventually become obsolete. So go ahead and buy that ultrabook!
Image by Intel Free Press