In the past you’re able to find the sticker on the back of your computer (usually close to the power supply) or at the bottom of your laptop to find the Windows product key, if you ever needed to reinstall the operating system.
Nowadays you can no longer find your Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 product key as easily. In part because most desktops, laptops, and tablets no longer include the product key sticker, as the recovery partition already contains an activated version of Windows.
However, it’s always recommended to know your Windows product key in case that during an upgrade something goes wrong, such as a hard drive failure, or because you want to do a clean install of the operating system.
Of course, there are product key finder software, but you never know if those solutions will install some sort of adware or malware on your computer.
How to make your own Windows product key finder
Instead, you can use a script that allows you to find your Windows 10 product key, or the product key for Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. The solution is very straightforward, simply copy the content from script below and paste it into a Notepad text file, save the file and change the extension from .txt to .vbs.
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell") MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead("HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId")) 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
Finally, double-click the vbs file and voila, the product key will be revealed. You can also have this file on a USB drive or OneDrive to use it on any computer that you want to know the Windows product key.
Digital license details
Keep in mind that even though you can also find your Windows 10 product key with this script, Microsoft is now moving away from this type of activation in favor of a mechanism called digital entitlement (digital license), as such after upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you will probably only find a generic product key, such as the ones below:
- Windows 10 Pro: T44CG-JDJH7-VJ2WF-DY4X9-HCFC6
Or these other keys, which are known among computers in the Windows Insider Program:
- Windows 10 Home: TX9XD-98N7V-6WMQ6-BX7FG-H8Q99
- Windows 10 Pro: VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T
- Windows 10 Home Single Language: 7HNRX-D7KGG-3K4RQ-4WPJ4-YTDFH
- Windows 10 Enterprise: NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43
The reason is because, with digital license, Microsoft is able to create a unique identification number from the hardware that make up your computer, which allows users to install Windows 10 without the need of a key. That is, of course, after Microsoft’s can verify that you are upgrading from a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
In addition, on Windows 10 version 1511, the software giant is changing the way activation works that allows users to do a clean install of the operating system using their genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key.
How to find your original Windows 10 product key
If you want to know the product key from the original version of Windows, you can use the following command. (You’ll need to open the Command Prompt as an administrator for the command to work.)
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
One caveat from this command is that allows users to find the original product key, as such if your computer came pre-installed with “Windows 8.1”, then you upgraded to “Windows 8.1 Pro”, and then to “Windows 10 Pro”, then the original your original product key would be the one from “Windows 8.1”.