A special product license key is used to activate the Windows operating system. The Windows product key used to activate the system differs depending on the operating system version (Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, etc.), OS edition (Home, Pro, etc.), distribution method (OEM, Retail etc).
To activate the Windows operating system, a product key is used, consisting of 25 characters in the form of numbers and uppercase (upper case) English letters, divided into 5 groups of 5 characters: “XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX”.
Laptops used to often have a Windows activation key glued on. At the moment, manufacturers of laptops with pre-installed operating systems sew a product key into the BIOS to automatically activate Windows.
In the event of a system reinstall, or for some other reason (for example, activation failed after a hardware failure), the user may need a Windows product key. How to find the Windows activation key?
You can find out the license key of the installed Windows by running a special VBS script, as well as using five programs: ProduKey, ShowKeyPlus, Free PC Audit, Speccy, AIDA64, SIW. All the listed programs are free, except for AIDA64 and SIW.
The script with the “.vbs” extension and portable free programs (ProduKey, ShowKeyPlus, Free PC Audit) can be downloaded from here . Download the rest of the programs to your computer from the official websites of manufacturers.
Using these methods, you can find out the key of Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10. After you have found out the Windows product key, the data obtained for subsequent use, in case of reinstalling the operating system, to activate the operating system.
How to find out the Windows key in ProduKey
The free ProduKey program from the well-known manufacturer NirSoft does not require installation on a computer. The application shows the keys to Windows OS, Internet Explorer browser, Microsoft Office.
Unzip the archive with the program, and then run the “Application” file from the folder. After launch, the ProduKey utility window will display the key to the installed operating system.
Select the entry with the Windows 10 key, or another operating system, and then select “Copy Product Key” from the context menu to copy the activation key to the clipboard.
We look at the license key in ShowKeyPlus
The free program ShowKeyPlus does not require installation on a computer. After launch, in the application window you will see information:
- Product Name – The operating system currently installed on the computer.
- Product ID (Product Code) – product code.
- Installed Key – the key of the operating system currently installed on the computer.
- OEM Key – a key embedded in the BIOS of a laptop of an initially installed operating system.
To save the data, click on the “Save” button, and then the received information in a text file.
How to view the Windows key in Free PC Audit
The free program Free PC Audit will help you find out the key of the installed Windows. This program does not require installation on a computer. Run the utility file, after that the Free PC Audit program window will open, in which the system scan will begin.
After the scan is completed, in the “System” tab, opposite the “Windows product key” item, you will see the product key of the installed Windows operating system.
To copy the key, select the line with the license key, and then using the “Copy” context menu item, or using the “Ctrl” + “C” keys, copy the Windows product key from the utility window.
How to find out Windows 8 key using VBSCrit
Activation keys for the Windows operating system are stored on the hard drive in encrypted form. Executing the VBSCrit script will allow you to get the product key of the installed operating system in decrypted form. This script was developed for Windows 8 operating system, but this code also works fine in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 operating systems.
To perform the operation, double-click on the “WindowsKey.vbs” file. In the window that opens, you will see the Windows activation code. Next, click on the “OK” button.
The next window will display information about the operating system version, product ID, and product key number. Ignore the name of the entry “Windows 8 Key”. The name of this OS will be displayed on any version of the Windows operating system.
Getting the Windows key in Speccy
The free Speccy program from the well-known company Piriform, the manufacturer of CCleaner and other software. From the official site you can download a portable (portable) version of Speccy. There is a paid version of the program with advanced features.
The program provides the user with detailed information about the hardware of the computer, and with the help of the application, you can find out the license key of the installed Windows.
Run the Speccy program, in the “Operating system” section, the version of the installed operating system, its serial number (activation key) will be displayed.
You can read more about the Speccy program here .
Find out the product key in AIDA64
AIDA64 is a powerful program for obtaining all kinds of information about the software and hardware of a computer.
After launching the AIDA64 program, in the “Menu” tab, in the “Operating system” section, license information will be displayed, including the Windows product key.
Select the product key, select “Copy” in the context menu, then paste the key into Notepad, or another similar program to save.
Read a detailed review of the AIDA64 program .
Key information in SIW
SIW (System Information of Windows) is a program for obtaining information about the hardware state and software of a computer.
After launching SIW, enter the “Programs”, “Licenses” section. This will display information about the product key that is used in the Windows operating system installed on the computer.
Read about the SIW program here .
Incorrect (incomprehensible) product key
When checking the keys in the ways listed above, the Windows product key may appear as follows: “BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB”.
This means that your computer is activated with a corporate MAK or VLK key. Operating Windows does not save such keys, so programs do not see them.
Windows 10 uses a new system authentication method (not for all cases in Windows 10). The activation record is stored on the servers and is not displayed on the computer. After reinstallation, Windows will automatically activate for some time.
The retention of the license is subject to changes in the hardware configuration of the computer. If the motherboard is replaced, Microsoft’s activation servers will revoke the license for that computer. Windows will prompt you to purchase a new product key.
If necessary, the user will be required to enter a valid product key to activate the Windows operating system. The user can find out the license code of the Windows operating system by running a VBS script, or using specialized programs: ProduKey, ShowKeyPlus, Free PC Audit, Speccy, AIDA64, SIW.