Windows PCs have long been shipped with stickers carrying the product key and were delightfully placed right outside the machine. These days, manufacturers preferred storing the same right within the BIOS or the UEFI for automatic retrieval and applied when the OS is being installed. Besides, Windows 10 also introduced something called a digital entitlement that formed a part of the Windows license being linked to generate an ID solely based upon the PC hardware. Upon upgrading, the entitlement got significantly expanded to a Digital License, the first time we saw in 2016 Anniversary Edition Update. Effectively such an approach had Windows 10 license being tied to Windows Keys and Microsoft accounts allowing users to activate the OS with right credentials. All that blabber, and still not getting to the point–Here’s why this piece can be helpful for you.
- You have new Windows PC, and you need manually figure out the Windows key which is tucked away somewhere in the BIOS.
- Prevent the Windows Key from being applied automatically during the installation.
- When you are looking o find a license for a Windows that refuses to boot over time.
The first thing that you need to know is that Windows is offering several license types depending on usage. The rule of the thumb says OEM keys are system specific and hence they are shipped alongside a purchase. Ideally, the keys should be auto applied, but one can also retrieve the same manually. Note, those who have upgraded their PC from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10 will never have a key. This is because free upgrades are linked to digital entitlement.
So, how does one check for a digital license
When you look under the Settings app in Windows 10, it presents you with a page that shows information regarding the activation. However, you will not be able to find your key in here. The navigation is simple– Settings > Update & Security > Activation.
Now if you have a digital license, you should see something that reads like “Windows is activated with a digital license” or in some cases, “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.”
If you wish to link your Microsoft account with the license, feel free to do so by selecting “Add a Microsoft Account” which you can find at the bottom of the same page containing your login info.
How to find my key from within Windows OS
Go to the admin command prompt and enter the following :
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
If you are not very confident working with command prompt stuff, there are a couple of third-party tools that you can use to find Windows key. ShowKey Plus is a good utility tool that helps in easy retrieval of OEM and retail Windows keys. It is also capable of loading SOFTWARE HIVE by using another installation of Windows.
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