After upgrading to a newer Windows version, or reinstalling the operating system on your machine entering the product key is necessary when encountering activation errors. If you have lost your physical product key, it can be frustrating as it will prevent you from activating Windows. In this article, we will be discussing 3 simple ways to locate your Windows 10 and 11 product key and how to find my Windows 10/11 product key.
- Difference Between Digital License vs Product Key
- Types of Windows Licenses
- Find Product Key Using Command Prompt
- Find the Product Key Using the PowerShell
- Contact Microsoft Support to Find How to Find My Product key Windows 10/11
- Frequently Asked Questions
Difference Between Digital License vs Product Key
Microsoft activation servers store data for digital licenses, which are a form of activation that is tied to your hardware configuration. Your computer creates a digital license for specific hardware when you install and activate Windows 10 or 11. You can buy a digital license from the Microsoft Store, upgrade your Windows 7 or 8 operating system to Windows 10 or newer, or use pre-installed Windows installed by an OEM.
In contrast, a product key is an alphanumeric code of 25 characters that is usually included on whichever physical copy of Windows you purchase, or typically sent by email when you make your purchase on any digital copy. Purchasing a product key is possible through an authorized retailer or Microsoft website. In contrast, a product key is not linked to your hardware or Microsoft account, unlike e-commerce products. Why? You are able to utilize the product key anywhere on your computer thanks to this.
Types of Windows Licenses
Windows licenses come in different types, such as Retailer, OEM, Academic, Enterprise, and others. Moreover, the activation of each product key or digital license is restricted to the Windows edition that was originally designed for. Why? To activate Windows 11 Pro, you must first use the license key associated with the Windows Home edition.
Find Product Key Using Command Prompt
The most straightforward way to locate your Windows product key is through the CMD prompt.
1. Follow the instructions to access Command Prompt (CMD) by clicking on Start and entering the code. Direct access to Windows Search can be achieved by simply pressing and holding the key combination (Win+S) simultaneously with the keyboard.
2. Simply type the command below into the Command Prompt prompt and press Enter to retrieve your Windows product key. Copy your Windows product key and save it in a secure location to prevent theft.
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
Note: If Windows is not turned on, CMD will not display any product key.
Find the Product Key Using the PowerShell
If the previous approach was not effective, you can attempt this method instead. Like the Command Prompt, the method for finding a product key involves following several steps. The only modification would be the command that is made in PowerShell.
1. To do it, simply open Windows Search with Windows Key + S and use PowerShell to search. Step by step.
2. On Windows Next, open PowerShell and input the command as described below, then press the Enter key.
powershell “(Get-WmiObject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’).OA3xOriginalProductKey”
Your product key will be visible on your device screen. Select the Windows product key you want to show with your mouse pointer and copy it. If the product key isn’t able to find your PC is not activated.
Contact Microsoft Support to Find How to Find My Product key Windows 10/11
In case you’re unable to locate your product key using the previous methods, you can reach out to Microsoft support for your specific product or Windows activation issue.
1. To reach the Microsoft support team, simply hold down the Windows Key + I to go to Settings and proceed to System.
2. Click on Activation in the upper right panel.
3. Then, select Get help. Thank you.
4. Following that, a contact page will be available where you can provide all the necessary information and subsequently receive reassurance if you happen to hear back.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Difference between Retailer and OEM license?
Individuals who can buy a Retailer license from e-commerce stores are eligible to transfer it to any new computer they have, provided that their old Windows PC is no longer functional. Retailers are usually required to pay a higher fee for their licenses than OEM licenses.
Alternatively, your laptop or PC can receive OEM licenses from PC manufacturers as a pre-installed software program. The OEM licenses are restricted to your motherboard and cannot be used without it. The use of your license for activating Windows on a non-transferable computer is prohibited. The cost of OEM licenses is typically lower than that of retailer licenses because they are sold in bulk by manufacturers.
2. How many times I can activate Windows using OEM and Retailer licenses on your PC?
There is no such restriction. You have the option to activate Windows multiple times by installing it with an OEM or Retailer license. Keep in mind that a single license is exclusively intended for one computer. It is not possible to activate it on multiple computers simultaneously.
3. Can you activate Windows without a product key?
You can install and use Windows on your PC with limited functionality without a product key, but there is no way to activate it.