How to find your product key on any version of Windows, no software required

When you can't find the Windows 10 product key, use this guide to make your own "product key finder" to figure out your key without the need of installing additional software.

Finding your Windows 10 product key

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
Cur = 0
x = 14
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”.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].