Here at Cyn’s Tech Tips we hear from a lot of people in distress. Most of the time, we can offer some help or suggestions. But in some cases, people are out of luck because they’ve lost something that can’t be retrieved.

Here are 5 things you absolutely MUST NOT LOSE.

Windows Product Key

This is a big one. If for some reason you need to reinstall the operating system on your computer, you need the product key. Even if a physical disc was not included with our operating system the product key should be somewhere. It might be in the documentation or it could be on a sticker on the bottom of your laptop for back of your computer tower. Get a copy of that product key and put it somewhere safe.

In fact, multiple safe places are a great idea.


It’s inconvenient to lose a password, but sometimes it can be disastrous and expensive. For example forgetting or losing the password to your Android tablet leaves you with an expensive paperweight and forgetting the administrative password to you computer is a nightmare.

Be careful in choosing a password and make sure you store that information where you can find it. If there’s an option for setting up an alternate e-mail account or phone number where you can be contacted if you need to reset the account, make sure that you you take advantage of that option.

Make sure to use an alternate e-mail though, don’t give your address for a Microsoft account as that is the account you would be locked out of.

Remember, things like capitalization and spaces count when entering passwords.

Activation Keys

Product keys are those codes you have to enter to activate serialized software such a security program. Sometimes the information is sent to you in an e-mail for a download. If you purchased the program as a disc, it may be contained in a sheet of paper in the box or most often printed on the paper sleeve the disc comes in.

If you don’t keep a record of this information, no one else will. The place where you purchased the software doesn’t have that key and it’s unlikely the manufacturer would give you one. That key is actually what you’re paying for when you buy the product. So don’t delete that e-mail with your product key and don’t throw out the paperwork or the sleeve a disc came with until you have the product key in hand.

The Original Packaging

If you order any type of electronic device, make sure to keep the original packaging. If you need to return the item for refund or repair at some point, the seller may require the original packaging. Also, the original packaging is much safer to ship an item in that trying to wrap it up it something else.  Often times, the retailer can’t return a defective item to the manufacturer without the packaging.


The Original Accessories

Power cords, cables, adapters and anything else that came with your device. You might not need them at this moment, but you could need them later. These are very important if you want to return something or exchange your item. Most dealers can’t replace the tablet alone or just the power cord. Items are generally sold as a unit and the retailer needs all of those accessories to return a defective product to the manufacturer. Keeps cords and accessories in a safe place. It’s not a bad idea label them with the device they go to.

 ~ Cynthia