Windows 10 Home
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How to Find Your Original Windows 10 Product Key
Comments In brief For the longest time Windows PCs came with a product key sticker that was placed outside of the machine or with your computer’s manuals. Certainly a better approach overall. In other instances, for example, if you built and installed your OS, your key is associated with your Microsoft account, so there is no way to “lose it” anymore.
Read on for more details. Microsoft has been changing and improving the way it handles Windows licenses. We’ll cover all you need to know in this article, from old school ways to retrieve keys, to the more modern approaches to make good use of your licenses and what restrictions may apply depending on your type of license. Windows 10 introduced a “Digital Entitlement” element to Microsoft’s license which links your Windows key to an ID generated based on your PC’s hardware.
But because your hardware can significantly change if you upgrade your hardware, this entitlement was expanded to become a “Digital License” when ‘s Anniversary Update arrived. This means your Windows 10 license now ties Windows keys to Microsoft accounts, letting you activate a copy of the operating system simply by logging in with valid online credentials. So, if you have a newer Windows PC or you already log in using your Microsoft account, you generally shouldn’t have to search for your original Windows 10 key.
We will explain that in better detail in a minute. Not to mention that different conditions apply for non-OEM retail keys, as well as those given to people who upgraded to Windows 10 for free. And in a worst case scenario, you might be trying to find the license for a copy of Windows that no longer boots.
Windows OEM keys vs. As a general rule of thumb: OEM keys are shipped with a specific computer and can’t be transferred to another machine. Retail keys are purchased directly from Microsoft, Amazon etc. Those who upgraded to Windows 10 for free from Windows 7 and 8 don’t have a unique Windows 10 key. This can only be transferred to one other machine not if you upgraded from an OEM key. Free upgrade licenses are a digital entitlement.
Do I have a digital license? The Windows 10 Settings app has a page for displaying your activation information, including whether you have a digital license, though your key isn’t shown here: Go to: However, these commands didn’t return any keys on other two machines we used for testing despite Windows 10 being activated.
You can download the script here. Copy this text and paste it into Notepad, saving it as a. Then double-click to launch the file. Also includes keys for many other applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe products strangely, Internet Explorer was also included in our results, though no key was provided. Listed our Windows 10 Pro install as Enterprise. Find your key from outside Windows If you can’t boot into Windows and want to retrieve that key, you can still access this data from an external environment such as a Windows To Go drive, or by attaching your non-booting Windows drive to another machine.
Note that if you’re recovering the key from a Windows To Go workspace, the non-booting drive with your Windows key is offline by default and will have to be enabled in Disk Management diskmgmt.
Right-click the drive and set it as “online. You can also navigate to your license directly from the Windows registry regedit via Start though the key is not in plain text. Also note that ProduKey can search for Windows keys on computers at remote domains among other locations, and that the Windows Registry Editor can load hive files from other installations: This software didn’t return a valid key when decoding the product ID within the tool, though if you had to you could extract the hex data and decode that elsewhere.
Here’s how to load a Windows registry file in Chntpw from a Linux terminal and then display the hex value for the key in that hive use dpi instead of hex to decode the key within chntpw, though again, this didn’t give us a valid key: In PID.
Enter the following line in an administrator Command Prompt to uninstall the currently active product license and clear that key from the Windows registry here are more slmgr commands: One click and that wizard retrieved our digital license, despite not being linked to a Microsoft account. And again, this was for a retail key that was originally used on a desktop which was cloned as a Windows To Go drive and plugged into another machine with a different hardware profile.
In other words, with luck, Microsoft’s activation is forgiving enough and you should have no issues validating your OS license on a new machine or after several hardware changes. More Useful Tips.
Hint: You might not have to…
To do this, you will either have to buy genuine Windows 10 product keys or find free product keys. Once you have genuine products keys, you can go ahead and activate your Windows Read on for more information about activating Windows Free Windows 10 One of the most common questions people ask is whether they can install Windows 10 for free.
VIDEO: Windows 10 Pro Key
windows 10 product key activation To buy a digital license, click the Go to Store . The product key can ONLY be used with a fresh Windows 10 Professional after many years in the PC Windows world to buy a new PC laptop in I had a. Windows 7 was the last good copy of this product. Microsoft must be using gamers to build this system. Big business will never buy into this junk. I work for a .