Four Places To Find Your Windows 8 Product Key

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Windows 8 and 8.1 PCs no longer have a Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) sticker with their product key printed on it. This helps prevent theft — people can’t just glance at a sticker on your laptop to get your Windows product key. On the other hand, you can’t simply look at a sticker on your Windows PC when you reinstall the operating system. You’ll have to find the 25-digit product key elsewhere.

Having your product key is necessary if you want to download Windows 8 or 8.1 installation media from Microsoft. Their downloads require a valid product key. It’s also useful if you want to perform a fresh install of Windows to wipe away all the bloatware that comes with a new PC.

Embedded in UEFI Firmware

PCs that come with Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows RT have an encrypted product key embedded in their UEFI firmware. When you reinstall the same version of Windows 8 or 8.1 on a PC that came with it, the product key will be automatically applied and activated. You won’t see any product key prompt — it will all happen automatically.

This only applies if you’re installing the same copy of Windows. This doesn’t apply if you install an upgrade copy, a system-builder copy, or a different edition of Windows 8. This also won’t work if you try to install Windows 8.1 on a PC that came with Windows 8 — Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 have different product keys for some reason, so you’d need to install the original version of Windows 8 and then upgrade to Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store.

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This feature is designed to simplify things, but you may need to get at your Windows product key anyway — use a tool in the next section to view this hidden key while Windows is installed.

product key embedded in uefi firmware 2

On a Running Windows System

The Windows product key is normally hidden and not shown anywhere in Windows’ interface. However, you can use a third-party utility to view the product key stored in Windows. You can then write down this product key and re-enter it when installing Windows. This is the only way to find the Windows product key on PCs that come with Windows 8 or 8.1 pre-installed.

You’ll need to download a third-party tool for this. We like NirSoft’s lightweight ProduKey utility, but you can also use another product-key-finding utility. Run the tool and it will display the Windows product key in use on your current Windows system — write it down so you can use it later.

use-produkey-to-find-windows-product-key

In a Purchase Confirmation Email

If you purchased Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 online — maybe you grabbed that cheap $40 or $15 offer when Windows 8 was released — you’ll find your Windows 8 or 8.1 product key included in an email Microsoft sent you at the time of purchase. The product key from this email can be used when you reinstall Windows 8 or 8.1.

Here’s what our email looks like. Its subject is “Thanks for ordering Windows 8″ and it was sent from Microsoft Customer Support. Your email may look a bit different if you purchased Windows 8 or 8.1 more recently.

windows-8-product-key-in-order-confirmation-email

Included In a Retail Windows Box

If you purchased a retail, boxed copy of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you’ll find your product key included on a card in that box. You may need to dig the box out of your closet to find your product key. Look for a card with a picture of a key on it. If you set it aside when you originally installed Windows 8, we hope you remember where you put it!

windows 8 retail product key 2

Visit Microsoft’s Upgrade Windows with only a product key page to download installation media for Windows 8 or 8.1 — all you need is the product key you found above.

Having trouble? Bear in mind that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have different product keys for some reason. If you have a Windows 8 key, you can’t install Windows 8.1 — you have to install Windows 8 and use the free upgrade to Windows 8.1. If you have a Windows 8.1 key, you can’t install Windows 8 with it. If you try either of these things, you’ll receive an “invalid product key” message. Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade to all Windows 8 users, so why Microsoft decided to make this so complicated is a mystery.

Image Credit: Kiewic on Flickr, Jon Fingas on Flickr, Frank Lindecke on Flickr

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30 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Todd

Speccy is also a good tool and also gives you a lot of detailed info about your computer, sort of a souped up Windows System replacement. The product key is listed on the Operating System section. Free download!

Reply

Abe

I appreciate the link to prodkey. It’s a nice little app. It gets flagged as malware by Malwarebytes. You might want to look into that. I’m sure the app is fine, but something about nags MB.

Reply

Carolyn B

I could use a program that let you get your product key off your computer!

Imran

how can you explain it?

Reply

Alan W

Whenever I buy a piece of software or app etc I always copy the registration number to an encrypted file called PassWords, lost so many of them in the past and the retrieval process of some developers sites is a real pain in the a**e.

Reply

Rebecca Z

I like using Belarc Advisor to find my product keys.

Reply

pinuccio

I use YAKey (yet another key finder) to recovery win 8 key and also office and 400+ others software

altroblog.com/2014/12/14/yakey-yet-another-key-finder-recupera-cdkey-e-seriali-con-1-click/

robin

I have that and no clue how it works – maybe you can help me?

Reply

iDisOrder

1. Copy and paste the following into a Notepad window:

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

2. You’ll need to use File -> Save As, change the “Save as type” to “All Files” and then name it productkey.vbs or something similar ending with the vbs extension.
I recommend saving to the desktop for easy access.

3. Once you’ve saved it, you can just double-click and the popup window will show you your product key.

Protip: If you use CTRL + C when the popup window is active, it will copy the contents of the window to the clipboard, and then you can paste it into Notepad or somewhere else.

Michael

i have tried the above but am getting invalid character inline 1 char 29 code 800A0408

SHSHSIHJ

i dont know who the heck taught u this method, but it doesnt work worth a crap dudE!

x3mghost

Hi!!
This one works for sure, both on my tablet x86 and pc x64!!

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

productkey.vbs

x3mghost

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

*sorry it did not save the right changes to key(x..line for some reason!!*

x3mghost

These two lines will not for some reason be displayed correct after I push the Post Comment button, so for the last time I’ll check if this does any good..?

Note that in the first line after Cur it has backslash before 24
Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur 24) And 255

Note that after (i are lessthan greaterthan -1)
If (((29 – i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i -1) Then

Now lets see , what happens now..?

x3mghost

JUST TESTING

cur 24

i -1

If I am right this site will not post backslash and lessThan greaterThan, so not our fault for the *.vbs file not to work by posting this in good faith, but hope this is understandable how to get it to work.. :-(

Midnight

I think that method is only for windows XP and earlier versions. Because that registry path doesn’t even exist in windows Vista.

Midnight

Oops! I was wrong the regedit path does exist in Windows Vista. This is the path.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersion

And the binary DigitalProductId file exists in this registry folder. I guess it could be written as follows:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

Midnight

Huh I see, I added the proper back slashes to the files path and this forum removed them when posting my reply. Guess it’s a safety measure.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

Midnight

Well that explains why no one in this forum can use the text from “iDisOrder’s” information. Because this website forum is removing the data that “iDisOrder” originally posted into the forum. They must be using Java to remove any types of code language from our posts. Kinda lame!

[code]HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId[/code]

Midnight

[table] [tr] [td]table data[/td] [/tr] [/table]

Midnight

{
[table] [tr] [td]table data[/td] [/tr] [/table]
}

Midnight

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

Midnight

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

Midnight

[table][tr][td]HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId[/td][/tr][/table]

Midnight

“`

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

“`

Midnight

[text] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId[/text]

Reply

Boner jam

Your method of Windows 8 key upon install is invalid. I’ve done a number of installs at this time all of which have required the Manufacturer Media for that key to work. That is the only way it works.

Reply

shah

Hi, my win 7 is crashed even i lost recovery partition on my laptop HP G60-538CA, i looked for activation key bottom of laptop but it was missing only i can read 15 digits only, anybody have any idea to resolve……

kryfon

Ouch. None of the above will work in that case. Only thing I can think of is call Dell. Hope you have proof of purchase (and lots of patience). You might be able to buy a recovery disk from them, and they should be able to determine what your COA is. Otherwise I hate to say it, but you are likely burned.

kryfon

Oops, sorry, meant to say HP.

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