Finding your Serial Key using Terminal

If you’ve lost your serial key for the game you can find it using Terminal, providing the game is still installed on your Mac.

  • Go to Finder > Utilities > Terminal
  • Copy and paste the following into the window then hit enter:

cat Library/Preferences/The\ Sims\ 3\ Preferences/system.reg |grep -A1 ergc

You should see the following (minus the stuff in red):

TerminalCommand

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79 thoughts on “Finding your Serial Key using Terminal

  1. You are a total and utter life saver! I have been attempting to sort this for the last 3 months and now its all working within a couple of minutes after finding this, thank you so much!

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  2. Hey 🙂 This worked for my sims 3 games (which are not the ones I needed :P). Do you have the same cat Library/Preferences/The\ Sims\ 3\ Preferences/system.reg |grep -A1 ergc for the Sims Medieval?

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    1. It’s only a file path, try replacing the 3 with medieval and see if that works? Or you could go into the games Preferences within the Library on your Mac and look in the Medieval folder for a system.reg file 🙂

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    1. Make sure you copy and paste this:

      cat Library/Preferences/The\ Sims\ 3\ Preferences/system.reg |grep -A1 ergc

      and nothing else. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work, unless you’ve already uninstalled the game?

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  3. This was excellent 😀
    However, not sure if you can help? I’ve two daughters who both have the game and have both lost the book with the serial key on it. One daughter used the above to find her key (successfully) but then used this to reload the game on her sisters Mac (so when I now use the above both mac’s have the same key). I have the System.Reg from the original version which was deleted but how do I determine the serial key from that as nothing in the file looks to be the serial key format :S

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  4. Hiya everything wiped off my computer so i have to download the sims 3 again.. and i tried this method and nothing came up is there any other way?

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      1. I have the same issue. I followed your instructions and received the same no such file or directory. I have the game installed. I am looking at the game launcher as i type this. and even logged in but can’t play sims 3 because i misplaced the cd

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          1. ^I have this problem. The computer was backed up onto an external drive but then the computer died. Is there a way to access the code now on the hard drive through another mac?

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    1. It’s just a file path to the location. Finder > Go > Library > Preferences > The Sims 3 Preferences (From Lion onwards Apple hid the Library folder, if you can’t see it hold down Alt after you click on Go).

      Have a look there and see if there is a similar TS2 one? It may say Aspyr. I don’t have it installed so can’t look.

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  5. I’d like to find a key for a different game, can you explain this method more thoroughly? Can I use it to find the key for a simple paid-for downloaded game like Monopoly?

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    1. It’s just a file path. Navigate to the Preferences folder, look for the game and hunt around for the specific file. Not all software installs the same files so it is impossible to give you an exact answer I’m afraid.

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        1. hmmm, what’s wrong with Origin? The game will only work with it open. Unfortunately TS4 is completely wrapped up in Origin. I haven’t found a way to access the serial code yet, let me have a quick look now.

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          1. I really don’t know i’m working on it but i think that someone hacked my account because even my name or email address is not on origin anymore (and i’m sure that i used that email address and name). So i have created a new account and i was hoping that maybe knowing my serial code would help.

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  6. How do I find the serial code for Sims Medieval? I bought the game on Origin but I never got the code so I can’t play it. Do you know how to fix this?

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  7. Sorry to bring up an old thread but I’ve done this and got all the codes except the one for the base game which is the one I needed! Is there a reason for this or have I done something wrong? thanks

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  8. Hello! i got to the terminal window but when i copy and paste Library/Preferences/The\ Sims\ 3\ Preferences/system.reg |grep -A1 ergc it says permission denied. do you have any idea why? thank you so much!!!

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  9. Oh my god I literally just deleted my Sims 3 Pets off my external hard drive (I recently restored the hard drive of an old laptop with the Sims 3 Pets which I haven’t had access to since 2012) and then immediately after find this tread! 😩 So is it true, there’s no way to retrieve the code after I’ve uninstalled the game, even if I have the original CD?

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  10. I’m trying for The Sims Medieval, I tried to replace 3 for medieval but it doesn’t work. Any hints? thank you so much

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    1. You need to look for where the Preference files are stored for Medieval. Make sure you’re in Finder then click on Go in the menu bar, hold down Alt and the Library folder will appear. Have a look in there for the Medieval files and then enter the file path in Terminal.

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  11. I was having the disc authorisation failure notice just like everyone else, so I followed your instructions and uninstalled the game. Now I’m trying to reinstall the digital copy on origin and it asks for the game code. Problem is, I don’t have a game code. I have gotten no emails from origin (yes I’m sure its the right email, yes I’ve checked every folder). The first time I had The Sims 3, I had bought it off of Amazon as a digital download, so I don’t have a game box I can look at. I can’t use terminal because I uninstalled the game in order to reinstall it. Do I have to pay 20$ to buy the game all over again because EA can’t bother to fix their bugs!? Please tell me there’s a way around this!! I’ve been trying to fix my game for months, and now the end is in sight!

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  12. I did this, but when I tried to redeem the product code it said that it has already been used (it has, by me). I was looking for a way that I can play without the DVD itself.

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  13. I have been searching everywhere to find my serial key for about 2 years. Finally found it, im so happy that I almost cried. Thank you sooo much.

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  14. so i did everything and found the files but when i clicked on terminal, it didn’t come up with anything! PLZ HELP!!!!! :'((((

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