There hasn’t been a “new” version of Windows, so most users haven’t needed product keys, especially with Microsoft Windows 10, the last operating system they’ll ever require. Windows 11 was not yet available when this post was first published in August 2021, but now that it is, we offer advice on how to locate your product key in Windows 11. Some users might still require their Windows 10 product key, though.
Your computer’s hardware should have a sticker with your Windows 10 product key on it someplace, usually in the most inconvenient location. There are less arduous ways to locate your Windows 10 product key, so try one of them before you go crawling beneath your desk in search of a 25-digit alphanumeric number etched in tiny print on the back of your computer.
This how-to guide demonstrates how to use the capabilities of Windows 10 to locate your product key.
The Best Way to Locate Your Windows 10 Product Key
Before we start, keep in mind that the effectiveness of all of these strategies depends significantly on how your PC was activated. You are likely to find the product key with most of these techniques if you activated Windows 10 by upgrading from a legitimate Windows 7 or 8 installation or with the recent purchase of the computer. Finding a product key could be more difficult if your PC was activated as part of a licensing deal with a company.
- Command Prompt
Using the command line is the simplest way to locate your Windows 10 product key. In Windows 10’s desktop search box, type “cmd,” and then right-click the returned command line to choose “run as administrator” from the context menu. The command to enter is as follows:
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- Power Shell
The procedure is the same when using Windows 10 PowerShell. Select Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the context menu by performing right-clicking on the Start Menu button. To see the item, enter this command at the prompt.
- Registry File
As you might expect, the product key is kept in the Windows 10 Registry File, so if you know the appropriate key, you can locate the code there. Enter “regedit” into the Windows 10 desktop search box, then choose the relevant result from the list.
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Note: In my situation, the Windows 10 product key shown by the PowerShell and command prompt methods is the same. However, the product keys in the registry sample are different. The best answer I can offer is that the product key displayed is for the upgrade to Pro because I updated the sample PC from Home to Pro (or vice versa). Please share it with us throughout the debate if you have a better idea.
There are third-party manufacturers who offer software that can find and show your Windows 10 product key, but they effectively accomplish the same thing as we did here without involving someone else’s programming and potential security risks. Also, keep in mind that your account order history would contain product key information if you purchased Windows 10 via the Microsoft Store.