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A handy SAM utility: Magical JellyBean Keyfinder

Magical Jelly Bean License Key Finder

Magical Jelly Bean License Key Finder

This article has been contributed by Richard Thompson, founder member of Central Technology, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner who frequently manage SAM reviews for customers.

We all know that Microsoft ‘SAM Review’ can be translated to licensing audit, and the rate of audits being conducted by Microsoft doesn’t look likely to ease off soon.  51% of enterprises and partners polled for the IDC Software Pricing and Licensing Survey were audited in 2012 (compared to just 27% by Oracle, the nearest contender for the auditing crown) and if you work in IT you’ll know all too well that nothing’s changed in the past two years.

That means it is worthwhile exploring different tools which can speed up or enhance the auditing process, and one particular tool which is especially useful for small businesses is something called Magical Jelly Bean KeyFinder.

 Magical Jelly Bean KeyFinder is a neat little package which finds all the license keys of Microsoft products (and other products) on your system.  It does this by searching for a configuration file (keyfinder.cfg) to figure out where it needs to look for license keys for various applications.  The file that Magical Jellybean provides already knows the locations of over 160 commercial applications including all versions of Windows (both server and desktop) all the way back to Win95, so it’s perfect for the Windows license audit.

On that note, if you do want to use it for something else, the text is in a simple delimited format which can easily be modified for various purposes.  The great thing about Magical Jellybean’s software is how quickly it gets to work.  Within an hour you can write the license keys for various applications to a central place for auditing or just for backup purposes. provides a neat explanation of how KeyFinder works:

“KeyFinder execute in command-line mode and write its data out to a custom CSV file for each system you run it on. So, over the course of a lunch hour, you can configure Keyfinder to execute via logon scripts for your users and write the license key data for various applications to a central repository for compliance-auditing or backup purposes.

As you add new applications to your enterprise over time, you can simply edit the main keyfinder.cfg file on your network to define where the license keys are stored in the Windows registry, and each system on your network will begin to log this data the next time their logon script executes KeyFinder.”

Richard Thompson, Central Technology

Richard Thompson, Central Technology

What’s more, Jelly Bean KeyFinder is a compact package which requires no installation and is just 600KB, so easily storable on a USB for speedy auditing whenever you need it.  If you’re out on a job you can just plug in your USB and get to work. It’s easy to see why Jelly Bean KeyFinder has become an invaluable tool for lots of IT technicians conducting audits.  If you haven’t tried it yet I’d recommend giving it go!

This article has been contributed by Richard Thompson, founder member of Central Technology

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One Comment

  1. Richard Tubb says:

    Magical Jelly Bean Key finder has been in my IT Pro toolbox for a number of years – but I didn’t realise it could be used in command-line mode. Thanks for sharing about this Richard!

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