Whether you decide to install Windows 10 or to move your system to another computer, you will need to know your Windows product key. In this post, we will tell you what a Windows product key is, where to find it, and how to check whether it is genuine or not. Let’s start from the beginning.
What Is a Windows Product Key?
A Windows product key is a code that you need to activate your Windows OS. The code helps verify that the software is not used on more PCs than allowed in the Microsoft Software License Terms. A Windows product key consists of 25 alphanumeric characters. Windows 10 can be activated with a product key or with a digital license (or digital entitlement).
How to Geta Windows 10 Product Key?
Microsoft uses flexible license politics and distributes its products through different channels: retail, OEM, volume license, academic, etc. The only licensed online retail companies are Microsoft and Amazon and you may buy digital copies of Windows 10 from them. If you buy your Windows 10 license in the Microsoft Store the product key will be saved in your Microsoft Account. How to view the Windows 10 product key? Simply do the following:
- Go to Microsoft Store.
- Select Downloads.
- Click Product Keys.
- Go to the Subscription page.
- Select the Digital Content tab.
A copy of the product key will also be sent to your email together with a confirmation letter. Amazon purchasers can navigate to the “Your Games and Software Library” section and find their product keys.
If you buy a physical copy of Windows 10 at a store you can find the product key inside the Windows 10 product box. We strongly recommend making a backup copy of the product key and keeping it on the cloud. If you have Windows 10 preinstalled on your computer you can read the product key on the sticker attached to your computer. This is an OEM license and we also recommend making a backup copy of the product key.
If you use Windows 10 Enterprise or Education edition, you will be looking at the Volume license. In this case, you don’t have a standard product key. Instead, your system administrator sets up a special KMS (Key Management Service) server which activates all work stations across the local network.
If you have lost your Windows 10 product key, there are still ways you can find it. It all depends on how you installed your Windows 10 OS.
How to View Windows 10 Product Key?
The product key can be stored in different places depending on how installed Windows 10.
If you bought your computer with Windows 10 preinstalled, the Windows 10 product key is stored in BIOS or UEFI memory and you can follow the steps below to find your Windows 10 product key:
- Press the Windows key on your keyboard.
- Type “cmd” (no quotes).
- Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
- In the User Account Control window press the Yes button.
- In the Command Prompt run the following command line:
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
- The product key consisting of 25 digits will appear on the screen.
In this case, your Windows product key is read from your computer BIOS or UEFI firmware memory. If you don’t have Windows 10 preinstalled on your computer then you will see an empty space after “OA3xOriginalProductKey”. If your Windows key is not genuine, you will see “Node – MASTER-PC ERROR: Description – Invalid query”.
If you bought a physical copy of Windows 10 and installed it by yourself you may go via the Registry to view your Windows 10 product key. Here’s how it works:
- Right-click any free space of the desktop or any folder.
- Select New.
- Select Text Document.
- Name it: you may choose any name you like, for example ProductKey.
- Open the document.
- Copy and paste into this document the following visual basic code:
Set WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead(“HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId”))
Const KeyOffset = 52
i = 28
Chars = “BCDFGHJKMPQRTVWXY2346789”
Cur = 0
x = 14
Cur = Cur * 256
Cur = Key(x + KeyOffset) + Cur
Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur \ 24) And 255
Cur = Cur Mod 24
x = x -1
Loop While x >= 0
i = i -1
KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput
If (((29 – i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i <> -1) Then
i = i -1
KeyOutput = “-” & KeyOutput
Loop While i >= 0
ConvertToKey = KeyOutput
- Save the file.
- Change the file’s extension from .txt to.vbs.
- Any time you double click this file, you will be able to view your Windows 10 product key.
If you don’t want to go through the Registry, there are much easier ways to locate your Windows 10 product key. However, the process involves downloading third-party software like ProduKey, Product KeyFinder or Belarc Advisor. Below, we will look into how to view your Windows 10 product key using these utilities.
Option One: Use ProduKey to View Windows 10 Product Key
- Download the ProductKey utility.
- Run the ProduKey.exe file to view your Windows 10 product key. There is no need to install the program, go through its Settings, etc. Simply opening the file will let you see your Windows 10 product key.
Option Two: Use KeyFinder to View Windows 10 Product Key
Product KeyFinder is also a freeware utility. It gets your Windows product key from the Registry:
- Download the KeyFinderInstaller file.
- Launch it.
- Allow this application to make changes to your computer.
- In the Keyfinder window, you will see the Product ID, the Product Key, and other information.
Option Three: Use Belarc Advisor to View Windows 10 Product Key
- Download Belarc Advisor.
- Start the utility.
- The program will scan your computer automatically and open a browser.
- After you click on the Software licenses link you will see your Windows 10 product key.
How Do I Check if My Windows 10 Key Is Genuine?
If you are not sure whether your Windows 10 key is genuine or not, here’s how you can check it:
- Press the Windows key on your keyboard.
- Type Settings.
- Press the Enter key.
- Go to Settings and click Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window select Activation.
- Check your activation.
If you see a message that says, “Windows is activated with a digital license” or “Windows is activated using your organization’s activation service,” then your Windows 10 is genuine.
There is another way to check you Windows 10 key authenticity:
- Press the Win + R key combo on your keyboard.
- In the Run prompt, type “slmgr.vbs /dli” (no quotes). Slmgr means Software License Manager and the .vbs extension stands for Visual Basic Script).
- Press the Enter key.
- In the pop-up window you will get all the information you need to know whether your Windows 10 is genuine or not.
We hope the information above has been helpful and you have successfully located your Windows 10 product key using one of the methods above.
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