How to Find your Windows Product Key

You might think that you’ll never need to know your Windows product key, and the sticker attached to the bottom of your laptop or the piece of paper you jot down on it may have long since worn out. Maybe you never knew what it was in the first place.

But sometimes, such as when reinstalling Windows or upgrading your computer, you may be asked to enter it. And if you don’t know what it is, it may be too late to find it and you really don’t want to have to pay for Windows again.

Follow our advice below to make sure you have a record of your Windows product key.

Find Your Windows 10 Product Key Using Third Party Software

Windows 10 differs from its predecessors, in that the key finder programs that worked very well in Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8.1 are now deprecated.

Using a paid program like Recover Keys, or free versions like Magic Jelly Bean KeyFinder, may return a code, but it will most likely be a generic number used by manufacturers rather than a number will work to activate the COMPUTER.

We downloaded the Magical Jelly Bean KeyFinder, which on launch displays any Windows code it has found.

Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder

Find your Windows Product Key if you upgraded for free or purchased a digital copy from Microsoft

If you took advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 that Microsoft offered in its early days, or purchased a digital version of the operating system from the Microsoft store, then you will have what is known as a Technical License. digital (or Digital Entitlement) rather than a physical one.

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This means that the Product Key is linked to your account, not kept on a sticker attached to the bottom of your PC.

If you find yourself stuck at the ‘Time to enter your Product Key’ stage of the installation, simply click ‘Do this later‘ in the bottom left corner of the screen and finish the process by signing in to your Microsoft account. Just be aware that you will need Internet access for this to work.

how to find windows 10 product key

If you have your own working Windows 10 PC, you can check if you have Digital Entitlement by going to Settings > Update & Security > Activation and see if it says ‘Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account’.

Activate Windows 10

This means that as long as you use your Microsoft account to sign in to your device during the installation process, you won’t need a code to activate Windows 10 as it will do so from your account.

If you haven’t linked your Microsoft account yet, follow these steps to do so:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Click Account
  • Click your info
  • Click the ‘Sign in with an alternate Microsoft account’ link (it won’t be displayed if your PC is connected to a work domain)
  • Sign in with your details
  • Enter your current Windows password
  • Generate a PIN or click ‘Skip this step’

Find your product key if you bought a new PC or a physical copy of Windows

Another way to find your Product Key is to look for the 25-character code that came with or on the packaging that came with your device. This will be a card inside the box, a sticker on the DVD sleeve, or printed on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the PC.

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how to find windows DVD product key

However, this is not always true. One reader told us that, according to HP, it doesn’t put the product key on a laptop or PC for security reasons. As with Digital Entitlements or Digital Licenses, the product key is stored ‘somewhere in the computer’ and automatically activated if needed. This is supposed to work even if the hard drive fails.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft states that they ‘do not keep a record of purchased product software keys’, so if you’ve lost your packaging and the sticker no longer shows the code, we’re sorry. have to say you might be out of luck.

Do I need a product key to reinstall Windows 10?

Since Microsoft has a ‘digital signature’ on your computer from the first upgrade, it recognizes the combination of components when you do a clean install and automatically activates Windows. This means you can safely bypass the screen asking for the product key at the beginning of the installation process.

It’s annoying that there’s no notification to tell you this: the screen is mainly intended for people who have installed the version of Windows 10 they purchased and therefore still require a key.

So even if you skip that screen when installing, Windows 10 will stay activated as long as you haven’t made any major changes to your PC. Upgrading from hard disk to SSD will have no effect on changing your graphics card.

However, upgrading your motherboard and processor will likely be considered ‘significant’ and you will have to call Microsoft support if you find that Windows is no longer activated or you are reinstall it.

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