You may need to retrieve the Windows 10 product key if you want to transfer the license to another PC. Or if you want to activate the Windows 11 using the previous version of Windows.
Microsoft offers Windows 10 licenses through different channels, commonly, it could be a retail license or OEM license. There are different ways to retrieve the key depending on Windows 10 license type.
Find Windows 10 License Type
First, you need to find the activation status of your Windows 10 PC.
1. Go to Start and open Settings, navigate to System.
2. Select Activation from the left options and you will find license details.
Now you may see Windows is activated or Windows is activated with a digital license or organization.
|Activation Status||License Type|
|Windows is Activated||Product Key|
|Windows is Activated with a digital license||OEM or Digital License|
|Windows is activated using your organization’s activation service||Volume Licensing|
Product Key– Windows 10 will have a product key in these cases-
- When you buy a PC that came with Windows 10
- Windows 10 bought from Microsoft online store.
- Buying digital or box copy from authorised reseller
- Volume licensing aggrenet with organization
- Bought a refubrhed PC running Windows 10
Digital License – You will see “Windows is activated with a digital license” in these cases
- Upgrading to Windows 10 for free from a genuine copy of Windows 8.1 or 7.
- Buying Windows 10 upgrade from Microsoft Store.
- Buying Windows 10 from Microsoft App Store.
- Becoming Windows Insider from a genuine copy of Window 10
Now, depending on the license type, you may or may not find the actual product key. However, you should try these methods.
Retrieve Windows 10 Product Key Using Command Prompt
If Windows 10 is activated using a product key then you can find it using the command prompt.
1: Go to the Windows Search Bar, type “CMD”, right-click to Run as administrator.
2: Type the following command and hit enter:
wmic path softwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
That’s it, this command will display the product key in the Command Prompt.
If you do not see a Product Key, or if the result is blank it means that you are using a digital license / OEM License.
Also, this method is deprecated with the latest build of Windows 10. But you can still try.
See Product Key Using Powershell
Powershell is another administrative tool to execute Windows commands, you can use it to see the product key as well.
1. Go to Start and search for PowerShell.
2. Right-click on it and “Run as Administrator“.
3. Type or copy-paste the following command-
powershell "(Get-WmiObject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’).OA3xOriginalProductKey"
Again, this may show blank results on a PC activated with a digital license.
Via Registry Editor
Windows stores the product key in the registry database, you can get the key from the registry editor.
1. Go to Start and search for regedit.
2. RIght click on Registry Editor and click “Run as Administrator“.
3. You will get the registry editor, navigate to the following path by expanding the folder tree.
Once you navigate to the given path, select “SoftwareProtectionPlatform” and check the registry keys on the right-pane.
Check the value for the “BackupProductKeyDefault” registry key. Double click on it and copy the value data, this 25 digit string is the product key.
This will work in both cases if your PC is activated using a key or have a digital license.
Using Third-Party Software
If the above methods aren’t working for you, it is recommended to use a third-party tool. One such tool is KeyFinder by Magical Jelly Bean. The tool is lightweight and the publisher is verified by Microsoft.
- First download and install ProductKeyFinder.
- Once installed, run the program.
- Open the ProduKey application.
- Now you will see the CD key listed here.
That’s it! This way you can get the product key embedded in system firmware.
If you bought at laptop with pre-activated version of Windows 10 then most probably it will be a digital license, manufacture will embed the key in system UEFI/BIOS. Such keys are not transferable.
For digital license – You don’t need to supply the product key to activate Windows 10 or Windows 11 on same PC, just link your Microsoft account to Windows 10 before upgrade.
Other Ways to Get Windows 10 Product Key
Let’s say that you do not have access to the activated Windows. There could be several cases like you might have bought a new computer, or a new Windows 10 copy, etc. Then there are a few possibilities of finding the product key:
If You Have Just Bought a New PC Running Windows 10
In that case, you should find the Windows 10 Product Key preinstalled. You can find it inside the packaging of the computer or in the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the PC. You can also contact the seller from whom you bought the computer for help.
If You Buy Windows 10 From Authorized Seller
In case you buy Windows 10 from an authorized seller, you will have the product key inside the packaging. Just make sure that you do not throw the box or contents inside it right away.
If You Buy Digital Copy of Windows 10 From An Authorized Seller
When you buy a digital copy of Windows 10 from any authorized seller, you receive the product key in your email. You can always look inside the spam folder too if you face any problems.
If You Buy Windows 10 From Microsoft Store
Well, if you buy Windows 10 from Official Microsoft Store then there should be no problem. You will get your product key in the registered email account. Additionally, you can also find the product key on the Orders History page of the Microsoft Account you used to buy Windows 10.
You can use the key to re-activate Windows 10 on the same PC if you have a digital license. It won’t work if you have changed the motherboard.
If your PC was activated using the 25 digit product key, then it is transferrable, you just need to deactivate it on the old PC.
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Open the command prompt as admin and type “wmic path softwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey not working” and hit enter to see the product key.
If Windows 10 is activated using OEM / Digital License the above command will show a blank result. In this case, link your Microsoft account to Windows 10 for an upgrade.
1. Open the command prompt as admin.
2. Type slmgr /dli and hit enter.
3. Check the Windows Description
4. It will result in Retail OEM or Volume Licensing.
1. Open the PowerShell as admin.
(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
3. Hit enter on the keyboard and it will show the product key.
1. Open the registry editor.
2. Navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SoftwareProtectionPlatform
3. Check the value for BackupProductKeyDefault, this value is the product key