Ok, so you’re thinking of reinstalling windows or transfer your old windows key to a new computer? And you’ll be like, how can I or how to find the windows product key of my license. In this article, I will explain the most important things you should know about windows licenses and how to find your windows 10 product key.
Back in the old days, these keys came with a sticker or with the computer’s manual. Recently manufactures have designed to store license keys in computer’s UEFI/BIOS, which makes our life more comfortable. Plus, even Microsoft has changed its way of handling the license key.
Many restrictions are depending on the type of license key.
There’re four types of licenses available for windows.
- 1) OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
- 2) Retail
- 3) Digital
- 4) Volume
Nowadays, almost every computer ships with OEM licenses. The main reason for this being widely used is the price. Microsoft sells these for a lower fee to manufacture’s, so they purchase them in bulk.
- Allowed all hardware upgrades except for motherboard.
- You can’t use it to activate another installation. (Unless you’re re-activating the same computer after formatting. Mostly these days the license is stored in the UEFI/BIOS; thus we don’t have to worry about the license).
- Direct Free Microsoft tech support is not supported.
This is the license type we purchase from a local store or an online retailer (Microsoft, Amazon). This license can be transferred to another computer as long as you deactivate the current device. Prices may vary depending on the version you’re buying. ( Ex:- Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise ).
These keys are mostly activated through your Microsoft account or may be taken from BizPark. Even the free upgrades where people come from Windows 7,8 fall under this license type. Unless you’ve upgraded from an OEM type, these licenses can be transferred to another computer.
It is designed for places like a large business, government, or educational places where it has hundreds of computers. You’ve to look for a partner in your country/region to obtain this, and prices may vary. Usually, a Volume license uses one master product key. Anyhow, you cannot use the key to a pc where it is outside of the organization.
To check which type of key, navigate to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Activation.
1.) Open Start.
2.) Open CMD as an Administrator. (Start > type CMD > Right-click or Click > Run as Administrator)
3.) Type the following command (Same syntax command in the PowerShell) and press Enter and wait for few seconds.
Finding the Key.
As we’ve mentioned earlier recently most computers shipped storing the license in UEFI/BIOS. You don’t need to worry about finding the key hence it’ll activate windows automatically upon installation, As well as you cant transfer an OEM license anyway.
There are few commands available to type in cmd but they aren’t guaranteed. We’ve tested around with 20 computers and only one returned with the key. Anyway here are the commands which you can try.
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
PowerShell “(Get-WmiObject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’).OA3xOriginalProductKey”
This Visual Basic script retrieves registry-based Windows keys. Copy this text and paste it into a Notepad, save it as a VBS file. (Ex:- WinKey.vbs)
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell") MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead("HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId")) Function ConvertToKey(Key) Const KeyOffset = 52 i = 28 Chars = "BCDFGHJKMPQRTVWXY2346789" Do Cur = 0 x = 14 Do Cur = Cur * 256 Cur = Key(x + KeyOffset) + Cur Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur 24) And 255 Cur = Cur Mod 24 x = x -1 Loop While x >= 0 i = i -1 KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput If (((29 - i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i <> -1) Then i = i -1 KeyOutput = "-" & KeyOutput End If Loop While i >= 0 ConvertToKey = KeyOutput End Function
(Note: This method isn’t working with UEFI/BIOS stored license).