Where is Windows 10 License Key? For most users, particularly with Microsoft Windows 10, there has been no need for product keys because there has been no “new” version of Windows. When this article was first published in August 2021, Windows 11 was a pending release; now that it’s available, we have tips on how to find your product key in Windows 11. However, some users may still need to know their Windows 10 product key.
Your Windows 10 product key should be listed on a sticker located on your computer hardware somewhere — typically in the most inaccessible spot possible. But before you go crawling behind your desk looking for a 25-digit alphanumeric code printed in fine print on the backside of your PC, there are less strenuous ways to track down your Windows 10 product key.
This how-to tutorial shows you how to find your Windows 10 product key using the power of the operating system itself
Where is Windows 10 License Key?
Used to activate new installations of Microsoft’s OS, the Windows product key is something you probably don’t think about . . . until you really need it. Whether you’re about to do a clean install of Windows 11 or 10 on your existing PC or you need to move the license to a new computer, you’ll probably need this 25-character, alphanumeric code.
As we’ve noted elsewhere, the best way to get Windows 10 or 11 for free is to reuse a Windows product key you have either on the current computer or another you own and aren’t using anymore (note that “OEM” keys may not let you reuse them on different hardware). But unless you bought a copy of the OS at retail and have it written down somewhere handy, you may not know the code. Fortunately, there are several ways to find your Windows 10 or 11 product key and they’re all easy.
Why should I activate Windows 10?
Although you can use Windows 10 without activation, there are many benefits of getting hold of a product key and unlocking the full potential of your system.
- Remove the “Activate Windows 10” watermark from the corner of your screen.
- Opt-out of Microsoft’s data collection.
- Customize your wallpaper and system colors.
There may be other reasons why you should have your Windows 10 product key at hand. For example, Microsoft may require you to provide your product key while troubleshooting, asking for refunds, or other purposes.
In some scenarios, you may also reactivate your Windows 10 system using the same original product key you previously used. This can be done if your digital license is linked to your Microsoft account.
Luckily, there are multiple ways to find your Windows 10 product key.
How to find your original Windows 10 product key
Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard. This is going to bring up the Run utility.
- Type in “cmd” and press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard. By doing so, you’re launching the Command Prompt with administrative permissions.
- If prompted by the User Account Control (UAC), click Yes to allow the Command Prompt to make changes on your device. If you don’t have administrative permissions, you might need to ask for help from your admin.
- Type in one of the following commands, then press the Enter key to execute them: wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
- PowerShell “(Get-WmiObject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’).OA3xOriginalProductKey”
- Windows 10 will automatically display your product key in the Command Prompt window.
Volume License Product Key Activation
If you’re using Windows 10 in a business environment, editions such as Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education don’t use normal product keys. Instead, Domain Administrators set up special KMS (Key Management Service) servers that manage activation across the business network.
This eliminates the need for computers to connect to Microsoft for activation. System Administrators responsible for deploying Windows 10 in an organization can find the product key from the Volume License Service Center portal.
To access your volume license key for Windows 10, click the Licenses tab in the VLSC portal, then click the Key tab for your Windows product.
Imagine or Microsoft Campus Agreement
If you received your Windows 10 license through a Microsoft Campus Agreement or service such as Imagine (formerly called Dreamspark), then the product key should be available from the download page after purchase. A purchase confirmation email should also contain a copy of your product key.
Some universities might also use volume licensing. If your university utilizes KMS for product activation, you will not receive a key. Instead, when you join the campus network or VPN, KMS will activate your system automatically. This also means that you will lose access to the license when you graduate or end your enrollment.
Microsoft Software Developer Network
Subscribers to the Microsoft Software Developer Network (MSDN) can find their product keys by logging into their subscription page. From there, choose the product you would like to view by clicking the Product Keys button.
Dealing with a Lost or Damaged Windows 10 Product Key
Microsoft doesn’t provide much sympathy for customers who lose their product keys. In some cases, you might be able to recover your product key using a key finder utility. Otherwise, if you lose it, your only option is to purchase a new one. That is why you should always make a backup copy and don’t throw away the box.
Users who took advantage of the free upgrade offer don’t have a unique Windows 10 key. This is because of the way Windows 10 handles activation, called Digital License. Users who need to transfer their Windows 10 free upgrade to another computer are entitled to a one-time transfer right. We have previously covered third-party utilities for finding your product key; solutions such as Show Key Plus can help if you have difficulty finding the key after upgrading from a previous version of Windows.
Get Help From Microsoft on Windows 10 Activation
Sometimes, you might have trouble reactivating the software after transferring a license or reinstalling Windows 10. Windows 10 includes a handy chat option to contact a Microsoft support agent who can help get the software reactivated. If you prefer speaking to a live person, you can also use phone activation.
- Press Windows key + R.
- Type slui.exe 4 and press Enter.
- Select your country from the list menu.
- Choose the phone activation action, then wait for an agent to assist you.
Please tell us what you think. Was this article helpful with finding your Windows 10 product key? If you’ve upgraded recently, you can also use similar steps to find your Windows 11 product key.
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