Dragon Disaster Preparedness: where is your installation key?


This is the second blog post in a short series about Dragon Disaster Preparedness. You can find the first post here.


Just over a year ago my hard drive failed. I had just purchased a brand-new computer less than two months before, but the SSD drive gave up the ghost.

That means that my Dragon installation was gone as well. Fortunately, I keep all my installation keys/serial numbers as a Safe Note in my password manager, LastPass.

So even though I own a downloaded version of Dragon, rather than a physical DVD, I could reinstall the product. In my experience, it is no problem to get a download link from Nuance support if you need one. But if you’ve permanently lost your installation key, you’re in trouble.

There are several ways to make sure that you have it safe and you can possibly even retrieve it after Dragon has been installed from your computer.

Where to find the install key of your current installation of Dragon?

Via Dragon Help

That one is easy: in the Dragon bar, go to Help and then to About Dragon. This will show a splash screen, where you can find your installation key or installation number just below the product name.

On the DVD wrapper

Of course, you may have purchased a DVD, in which case the installation key should be on the paper envelope DVD cover. I suggest you still save it somewhere in a password manager, or even a simple document containing all your software keys.

What to do when Dragon was uninstalled and you lost the installation key?

Nuance registration

First of all… Did you register your Dragon version at Nuance? In that case, as far as I know, you must definitely have entered your installation key during registration. You should be able to retrieve it by logging into your account at Nuance.

Via the ereg.ini

Alternatively, if you still have access to the computer that originally had your Dragon version installed, you may try to retrieve a file called ereg.ini. It should be in this folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Nuance\NaturallySpeaking15\Ereg.

Otherwise you can try searching your drive for “Ser_Num=” and see if the ereg.ini turns up. You can open this file in notepad and it should contain your most recent installation key/serial number.

Obviously this method also works if Dragon is still installed on your computer, but in that case it is just much easier to find the number via the Dragon as described above.

Just to be sure: Try this at yor own risk. Only look in the file. Don’t change anything. And that goes for the following tip as well.

Via the Windows registry

I’m not actually sure whether this will work on your computer (I did test it on mine), but you could try searching your registry for “DNSHistory”. On my PC it is here: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Nuance\DNSHistory

Next action: Put the serial number in a logical spot

Put your install key in your Dragon Preparedness Box, right next to your spare microphone.

That way you’ll have only a single place where you have to look in case of Dragon disaster.

Janneke den Draak

Janneke den Draak

Hi, I'm Janneke and I'm your go-to person for Dragon and Apple speech recognition software help.

When I got severe repetitive strain injury issues over 20 years ago, I didn't want to give up using the computer. So I learned all about controlling the PC with speech recognition and dictating my documents and emails.

I've now been a speech recognition software trainer and consultant for almost two decades, teaching over 2000 people handsfree productivity!

My online courses for Apple Voice Control and Dragon offer self-paced learning and I also love running my membership for Dragon users. For those in need of an intensive training or custom speech command creation, I am available for one-on-one calls.

  • Hey!
    I just bought Dragon Home, but I can’t find a way to download it. There is no download button in my order. Do I have to wait for some time or it should be instant?

    • Hey Jenny,

      If you have issues I’d contact the Nuance online store where you ordered the software. Usually, you’ll receive a confirmation with the serial key. In the past I’ve been directed to ‘look up my order’ via a link in the order confirmation mail and there I found the downloadlink. But I’m not sure if that is still the case.

      I’ve found these instructions on the Nuance website. Hope this helps.

      • Thanks for the help! I’ve contacted Customer Service. I hope they’ll answer soon.
        Have a good day!

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