This article will show you how to find your Windows product key.
Digital License (Windows 10)
If your PC ever had Windows 10 installed and activated on it, it probably created a digital license. A digital license is a hash of your hardware that gets sent to Microsoft, along with the product key that was used to activate Windows on that computer. If you ever need to reinstall Windows, just choose "I don't have a product key" during installation. Windows will contact the Microsoft Activation servers after installation, and activate with your digital license.
Note: If you activated Windows 10 using a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key, you'll also have a digital license.
Printed on a Certificate of Authenticity Sticker (Usually older PCs running Windows 7, Vista and XP)
If you have an older PC that came with Windows 7 or earlier, the product key is usually found on the Certificate of Authenticity sticker. The sticker is usually located on the underside of laptops, and could be on the top, sides, or bottom of a desktop tower. It looks something like this:
Embedded in the UEFI/BIOS (Usually newer PCs running Windows 8 or Windows 10)
Most new PCs sold in stores today come with the product key permanently embedded in the firmware. Instead of printing the product key on a sticker where it could be easily stolen or smudged off, manufacturers are now opting to store it in the UEFI or BIOS. The firmware is located in ROM on the motherboard, which means if you upgrade other components like your hard drive, RAM, graphics card, or even your CPU, you should still be able to activate Windows.
If you reinstall Windows, it will communicate with the firmware to install the embedded key. There is no need to retrieve the key yourself. If you want to retrieve it, you can do so by running the following command in cmd or Windows PowerShell:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
I purchased Windows 10 separately (Retail or OEM licenses)
You can purchase Windows 10 as a digital download, or you can buy it in the box at a brick and mortar store.
- For digital downloads through Microsoft
You should receive an email with your product key, sent to the Microsoft account that was used to purchase Windows 10 online. If you can't find the email, check your spam folders. You can also get it by logging into your Microsoft account and going to the purchase history tab.
- For digital downloads through Amazon
Visit Your Games and Software.
- If you bought Windows 10 in the retail packaging
Look in the box for a card with your product key printed on it. It'll be about the size of a credit card with a 25-digit alphanumeric string printed on it.
Azure Dev Tools for Teaching (formerly known as Microsoft Imagine and Dreamspark)
This program provides students with Microsoft services, tools, training and operating systems at a discount or for free. Check with your school or university to find out if you can access this subscription and how to get assistance with the software licensing.