If you have bought a new laptop or desktop PC in the last few years, it won’t have come with a product key on a sticker or certificate of authenticity (COA).
Moreover, among all the Device IDs, Product IDs, and so on in the ‘About your PC’ section of the system control panel, there is no information about your Windows product key. In this guide, we will show you how to unearth this key. Our guide is specifically for users of Windows 10, but the method and commands might work with, or be similar on, other Windows versions.
Microsoft and its systems partners stopped providing stickers and certificates with Windows product keys printed upon them starting with the introduction of Windows 8.1. Since that time, Microsoft has been activating Windows with a digital licence, tied to your system’s hardware fingerprint.
On one hand, this makes it easy to reinstall Windows from scratch – there is no need to hunt around for and type in a 25-digit alphanumeric product key as it is remembered by Microsoft’s activation servers. On the other hand, you might need your product key for some OS downgrade / upgrade projects you have planned.
So what do you do if you have a PC with an activated copy of Windows 10 and want to find that product key? A solution for everyone that requires a bit of command prompt typing is quite quick and easy if you follow our walkthrough below. Alternatively, you can search for the Windows 10 product key in RegEdit – or download a freeware app, run it, and it will spit out your key. We will provide a short guide and link to these alternative processes in the FAQ at the bottom of this article.
- Modern Windows 10 desktop PC
The Short Version
- Press the Windows key and R keys simultaneously
- Type cmd in the run box dialogue you have summoned, and hit the enter key
- In the resulting cmd.exe window, type “wmic path softwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey” without the quotation marks
- Press enter, and you should see your Windows 10 product key revealed – copy it for posterity in your favourite notes app, or simply write it down somewhere
Press Windows+R, then type “cmd” and click OK
Hold down the Windows key and press R to summon the Windows Run box. Now type “cmd” without the quotes and hit the enter key, or press OK
Carefully type in the lengthy command, precisely as shown (or copy & paste it)
With the command prompt window open, copy and paste the following text, without the quotes, to where the cursor is flashing: “wmic path softwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey”
Your Windows 10 product key will be revealed
Press enter immediately after inputting the above lengthy command, and you will see two lines of text output. The first line says ‘OA3xOriginalProductKey’ and the next line will be your 25 digit alphanumeric Windows 10 product key
Yes, you can run RegEdit in Windows then do a search (edit menu > find) for the term “BackupProductKeyDefault” without the quotes. After a few seconds (my fast modern PC took about 20s, don’t worry if nothing seems to be happening) you will see the 25 digit alphanumeric product key listed to the right in the BackupProductKeyDefault row.
Head on over to Magical Jellybean’s website and grab their ~9MB app. There is a free version which when run pops up a window displaying your Windows 10 product key, without any user interaction required.