norton ghost 2002: where’s my license key? (xp edition)

I needed to do a partition-to-partition copy between two disks. I had an older copy of Norton Ghost that I knew would be perfect. It came with Norton SystemWorks Professional (for XP! it said so!), and I had used it before with Windows 98 boxes. Perfect, off I go.

I installed the software on my XP box, and created a bootdisk. I took the bootdisk and used it in the machine I wanted to perform the disk copy on. The PC-DOS environment loaded nicely, and then Norton Ghost started to load. It asked me for a serial number. Wait, what? When you create a boot floppy for Ghost 2002, you must enter your license number every time, and it’s keyed to the install on your PC. Hooray!

I looked on the install CD and the manual – no number. I normally don’t throw that stuff away, so was confused. I read through the manual and was told that the license number would appear in the splash screen every time I started GhostPE.exe on the machine I installed the software on. Simple enough, so I opened a command window and tried to run the program.

I was greeted with “you can’t run this under windows NT, boot to DOS”. Tried running it in Win98 compatibility mode; same nonsense. I didn’t really want to create another boot disk and boot my PC into DOS, mainly because I had already endured the reboot process on my XP box twice from installing the floppy (who uses floppies anymore), creating the norton bootdisk, removing the floppy, and re-installing it in the machine I was ghosting the partitions in. I wondered if the serial number might be accessible elsewhere…

Sure enough, it is.

If you run into this problem, change into the directory Norton Ghost 2002 was installed into. In it you’ll find a file called “ghost.env”. Look at the line labeled “Keycode”. The 12-digit alpha-numeric value is what you need.

Apparently this was only done with Norton Ghost 2002. Hopefully it’s because the users tracked down the product manager or business wonk who thought it was a great idea to put that little hook in to prevent piracy, and disemboweled them with a rusty spoon.

7 thoughts on “norton ghost 2002: where’s my license key? (xp edition)

  1. “Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe?”

    “Because it’s dull, you twit. It’ll hurt more.”

  2. Thanks for this article.
    I was about to give up and bang my head against the wall.

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