The method to locate or find Windows Product Key depends on how you acquired the copy of Windows operating system running on your computer.
What is Windows Product Key?
Windows Product Key exists in the form of a 25-character long string of numbers used by Microsoft to activate the Windows operating system on a computer and also to authenticate its software.
The 25-character long Windows Product Key contains both letters and numbers, divided into 5 groups that are separated by a hyphen “-” and written in the following format:
Windows Product Key: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Windows product key is unique and it can only be used on a particular computer to which the product key belongs, it cannot be duplicated or used on more than one computer.
Where to Find Windows Product Key?
As mentioned above, the method to locate or find Windows Product Key depends on how the copy of Windows operating system running on your computer was acquired.
1. On New Computers
In case of new computers, the product key comes pre-installed and can be found on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the computer and also on the packaging in which the PC arrived.
On Laptops, the sticker is usually placed at the bottom or at the lower right corner of the keyboard. In case of Desktop computers, the sticker is fixed on the sides, at the back or inside the casing.
There is no need to activate the product key on new computers as they come with the operating system and the Product key pre-installed on them.
2. When You Purchase Windows
When you purchase a copy of Windows 11 from an authorized dealer, the product key can be found on a label or card inside the box that Windows arrived in.
When you try to install the purchased copy of Windows operating system on your computer, you will be prompted to activate the product key by entering 25-characters of the product key.
3. When You Purchase Digital Copy of Windows
If you had purchased a digital copy of Windows 11 from an authorized dealer, the product key should be available in the confirmation email that you received from the dealer.
If you have lost/deleted the confirmation email, you should still be able to find the product key in a digital locker available at the dealer’s website.
4. When You Buy Windows from Microsoft
When you purchase a digital copy of Windows 11 from Microsoft, you will find the Product key in the confirmation email received from Microsoft.
If you do not have the confirmation email, you should still be able to find the Product Key by logging in to your Microsoft Account and checking your order history.
Can Windows Work Without Product Key?
When a computer qualifies for a free upgrade, it will be automatically equipped with a digital license and it will not have a product key.
In such cases, Windows is operating on a digital license exclusively granted to that particular computer and it can run Windows without the Product Key.
Can You Get Windows Product Key from Microsoft?
This is a fair question, considering that Microsoft should have a copy of all product keys sold by the dealers and activated on new computers.
However, according to Microsoft, it keeps a record of only those Product keys that were sold directly from its online store.
This means, Microsoft won’t be able to help you, if the product key was purchased from a dealer or came pre-activated on a new computer.
In such cases, you should be able to find the Windows Product key for your computer using any of the following methods.
1. Find Windows Product Key Using Command Prompt
On both Windows 11 and Windows 10 computers, you should be able to find Windows Produt key using the WMIC command.
1. Right-click on the Start button and click on Run.
2. In Run Command window, type wmic path softwarelicencingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey and press the Enter key on the keyboard of your computer.
3. Once the command is executed, it should display the Windows 11 Product Key linked to the mptherboard on your computer.
2. Find Windows Product Key Using Registry Editor
While it is easy to locate the Registry entry containing Windows Product Key, you will need a third party software to convert Registry entries in to 25 Digit Windows Product Key.
1. Right-click on the Start button and click on Run.
2. In Run Command window, type regedit and click on OK.
3. On Registry Editor screen, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MicrosoftNT\CurrentVersion.
4. Open CurrentVersion Folder and click on DigitalProductId entry in the right-pane to find Windows Product ID.
As mentioned above, you will be needing a third part service to convert the coded registry entries in to 25 digit Windows 11 Product ID.
3. Use Software Programs to Find Windows Product Key
There are both free and paid software programs available in the market that can be used to find the Windows product key on your computer.
For example, you can download ShowKeyPlus from GitHUB directly on your computer or download the program to a USB drive and Run the program from there.
Once the Product Key is located by the program, it displays it on the screen of your computer and allows you to save the Product key to a text file on your computer.
Can’t Find Windows Product Key?
If you were unable to find the product key using above methods, it is likely that the manufacturer of your computer has failed to input this information in the firmware (BIOS/UEFI).
In such cases, you can contact the manufacturer of your computer and ask them to provide the product key.
Another possibility is that your computer is running on a digital license from Microsoft and does not require a product key. This is usually the case, if the computer had received a free upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11 from Microsoft.