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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 Overcome Windows 8.1 Upgrade Errors With A Legal ISO Download Overcome Windows 8.1 Upgrade Errors With A Legal ISO Download The Windows Store upgrade doesn't work for everyone. To avoid or fix issues, perform a fresh Windows 8.1 installation using Microsoft's ISO file download. You can even use the installation media on multiple computers. Read More . 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 How To Remove Unwanted Crapware From Your Brand New Windows 7 System How To Remove Unwanted Crapware From Your Brand New Windows 7 System Read More .

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 What Is UEFI And How Does It Keep You More Secure? What Is UEFI And How Does It Keep You More Secure? Read More . 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 Which Windows 8 Version Is For You? Which Windows 8 Version Is For You? If you’re interested in upgrading, you’ll also need to know which edition of Windows 8 is right for you. The good news is that Microsoft has simplified the different editions of Windows in Windows 8... Read More . 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 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 Are horror stories of how Windows 8.1 upgrades went horribly wrong keeping you from upgrading yourself? If you are longing to try Windows 8.1, you can now learn from other people's lessons and upgrade safely! Read More via the Windows Store.

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

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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 3 Portable Applications To Help You Find Serial Keys On Your PC [Windows] 3 Portable Applications To Help You Find Serial Keys On Your PC [Windows] If you've ever paid a chunk of change for a shareware application or subscription, you know the drill. Serial keys in the form of plain-text strings or files are pretty much the universal standard. The... Read More . 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 How To Get Windows 8 For The Lowest Possible Price How To Get Windows 8 For The Lowest Possible Price Whether the mixed reviews of the preview releases of Windows 8 have influenced pricing or Microsoft are simply taking a leaf out of Apple’s book isn’t quite clear, but the price of a new copy... Read More 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

  1. Dananjaya
    August 4, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Please tell me how to set my Product key windows 8.1
    Thank you

  2. Amanda Green
    July 22, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Hey, Guys can try this link to get Office 2016 Product Key Here:
    #plus.google.com/113990216221163079769/posts/iuuYmjB12Jv

  3. Zenn
    May 26, 2016 at 8:58 am

    How to get my old windows 8 product key after update windows 10

    • asdqw
      July 7, 2016 at 9:28 am

      assaasd

  4. shawn
    February 10, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    what do i do when i bought my computer on ebay years ago and now i had to change hard drive in it so now i need a new operating system installd and originally when i bought the computer it had windows 8 installed on it already so now i have no product key to use for this new install and I even had windows 8 on my computer so now i have to spend more on this computer when i didnt have to just to get my computer back to working order again.

    • joe
      May 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      this is exactly what my problem is :C

    • Axiomatic
      June 5, 2016 at 12:39 am

      Buy it on kinguin. Its 30 dollars, but it works most of the time and you can add protection for 1 dollar.

  5. blide
    February 1, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    help,when I check for mine product key in Produkey it said "product key was not found"(window 8)

  6. Greg Nelson
    October 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Hello,
    I got a tablet that is running WinRT and I can't activate windows. I saw your
    utility but because its RT and you can only get this from the windows store,
    I can't get this. I thought it was supposed to be embedded any way. So why
    won't this work. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  7. Max E. Pad
    May 28, 2015 at 5:58 am

    what if you can't DL any of those programs? I'm working on a crashed laptop and i'm at the screen asking for my prod key from a windows 8 boot disk on a USB

  8. Joann V. Sterner
    May 27, 2015 at 3:50 am

    Hey,guys just wanna share a site with u,it's about windows keys,they're legal&genuine,cheap and easy to use.i just get mine and activated succeed,check it key4cheap.com

  9. lydia20155
    May 14, 2015 at 7:19 am

    If you want to activate windows 7, you might search for ***windows 8.1 key sale^^ from bing. I am sure that will work. Even I have activated my windows 7 with that software.

  10. robert niwagaba
    May 8, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    where can i find my product key windows 8 inside my pc thanks.

  11. shah
    March 16, 2015 at 5:35 am

    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
      March 20, 2015 at 6:00 am

      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
      March 20, 2015 at 6:01 am

      Oops, sorry, meant to say HP.

  12. Boner jam
    February 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    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.

  13. iDisOrder
    February 4, 2015 at 2:19 am

    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
      February 9, 2015 at 10:50 am

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

    • SHSHSIHJ
      February 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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

    • x3mghost
      February 21, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      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
      February 21, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      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
      February 21, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      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
      February 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      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
      February 22, 2015 at 6:55 pm

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

    • Midnight
      February 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      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
      February 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      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
      February 22, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      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
      February 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm

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

    • Midnight
      February 22, 2015 at 8:15 pm

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

    • Midnight
      February 22, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

    • Midnight
      February 22, 2015 at 8:28 pm

      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

    • Midnight
      February 22, 2015 at 8:31 pm

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

    • Midnight
      February 22, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      ```

      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId

      ```

    • Midnight
      February 22, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      [text] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionDigitalProductId[/text]

  14. pinuccio
    December 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    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
      February 13, 2015 at 10:19 am

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

  15. Rebecca Z
    May 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

    I like using Belarc Advisor to find my product keys.

  16. Alan W
    May 1, 2014 at 7:07 am

    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.

  17. Carolyn B
    April 30, 2014 at 12:21 pm

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

    • Imran
      March 14, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      how can you explain it?

    • jay
      March 29, 2015 at 2:10 am

      Hello, Can i get that?

  18. Abe
    April 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    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.

  19. Todd
    April 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    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!

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