Buy Windows 10 Product Key – Summary For the longest time Windows PCs came with product key stickers that were placed on the outside of the machine or with your computer’s manual. But in recent years, manufacturers have started storing this permission in the machine’s UEFI/BIOS, and the information is automatically retrieved and applied when the operating system is reinstalled. Overall definitely a good way. In other cases, for example, if you’ve built and installed the OS, your key is associated with your Microsoft account, so there’s no way to “lose” it. Read on for more information.
Microsoft has changed and improved the way it manages Windows licenses. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know, from the old ways of getting a key, to the more modern ways to use your license properly, and the restrictions that may apply depending on your license type.
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Windows 10 introduced a “Digital Entitlement” feature for Microsoft licenses that links your Windows key to an ID generated based on your PC hardware. But if you update your device your device may change a lot, when the Anniversary Update (1607) came out in 2016 this right was extended to a “Digital License”.
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This means that your Windows 10 license now links your Windows key to your Microsoft account, allowing you to activate your copy of the operating system by logging in with your license – a valid online pass. So, if you have a new Windows PC or you are already logged in using your Microsoft account, generally you don’t need to find the first key Windows 10. We’ll explain this in more detail in a minute.
There may be other situations where you still want to see the Windows key stored in your UEFI/BIOS or prevent this key from being applied automatically during setup. It goes without saying that different terms apply to non-OEM sales keys, as well as to people who have upgraded to Windows 10 for free. And in the worst case scenario, you might be trying to find a license for a copy of Windows that no longer boots.
Editor’s note: This feature was originally published in December 2018. It’s still the same today, so we’ve included it as part of the #ThrowbackThursday event.
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The Windows 10 Settings app has a page to show your activation information, including whether you have a digital license, even if your key isn’t shown here:
If you have a digital license, you should see “Windows is activated with a digital license” or “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.”
You can link a Microsoft account to your Windows license by clicking “Add a Microsoft account” at the bottom of the page and providing your information.
Entering the following lines in Admin Command Prompt or PowerShell worked to show the OEM key embedded in our system’s UEFI/BIOS. However, this command did not return the keys on the other two machines we used for testing, even with Windows 10 active.
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There is also a Visual Basic script that retrieves Windows keys based on the registry (not stored in UEFI/BIOS). You can download the script here. Copy and paste this text into Notepad, save as a .vbs file. Then double click to launch the file.
We have downloaded various tools that can extract Retail Keys from Windows Registry as well as UEFI/BIOS. In testing, some applications found registry and UEFI/BIOS keys, while others worked for one or the other:
Nirsoft ProduKey – Find OEM keys and retail keys included in current copies of Windows. It also includes keys for several other applications, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe products (surprisingly, Internet Explorer is also included in the results, although no keys are provided). Like the other tools on this list, ProduKey can load Windows keys from an external source/drive.
ShowKey Plus – This tool also detects retail and OEM keys and can import Hive SOFTWARE files from other Windows installations.
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Windows 10 Product Key Tool – Made by the makers of EasyBCD, this tool installs a UEFI OEM key instead of searching for a retail license on a Windows To Go drive.
Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder – Restored minor keys instead of OEM UEFI keys. This software can load registry keys from a Windows installation on another drive (Tools > Load Hive). Our Windows 10 Pro install is listed as Enterprise.
If you are unable to log into Windows and want to retrieve this key, you can still access the data from an external environment such as by inserting a Windows To Go drive or disc that is not running Windows on another machine.
Note that if you restore the key from the Windows To Go platform, the non-boot disk containing your Windows key will not work properly and must be enabled in Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc). Right click on the drive and set it to “online”. As mentioned above, many of the third-party tools we’ve listed allow you to import Hive registry files from other Windows installations.
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In testing, both ProduKey and ShowKey Plus loaded the hive SOFTWARE file and displayed the key for an external Windows installation via Windows To Go. Also note that ProduKey can locate Windows keys on remote domain computers in other locations, and Windows Registry Editor can import hive files from other installations:
Retrieving a Windows UEFI/BIOS key using Linux is as simple as entering the following line in Terminal, although we couldn’t find GUI applications like ProduKey or ShowKey Plus that would retrieve permissions from the Hive registry file:
The Chntpw command line tool can be installed on Linux and can load Windows registry files. This software did not return a valid key when converting to a product ID device, although you can extract the hex data and convert it elsewhere.
If you have a boot disk, Chntpw (also known as Offline NT Password and Registry Editor) is part of all-in-one recovery solutions such as Ultimate Boot CD and Hiren’s Boot CD.
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Here’s how to put a Windows registry file into Chntpw from the Linux terminal and then display the hex value for the key in that chntpw (use dpi instead
Although it’s fine to automatically detect the Windows key from UEFI/BIOS, you’ll need to edit the Windows installation media if you want to use a different license.
Open the installation media in File Explorer, browse to the source folder, and create a new text file named PID.txt in the source folder. In PID.txt, you want the following text, where the Xs correspond to the license key.
It is also possible to extract the retail key from one machine, and although this does not automatically update the information on the Microsoft servers, it will avoid conflicts with multiple machines using the same key.
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Enter the following line in an admin command prompt to remove the current permissions and remove the key from the Windows registry (here are more slmgr commands):
As a final test case, after we removed and cleaned the Windows installation key, we were able to restore that copy of Windows by clicking “Troubleshoot” on the activation page.
One click and this wizard takes the digital license even if it’s not associated with a Microsoft account. Again, this is for a minor key that was used on a desktop that was configured as a Windows To Go drive and mounted on another machine with a different hardware profile. In other words, with luck, Microsoft’s activation is forgiving and you should have no problem verifying your OS license on a new machine or after changing hardware.
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6. The retail key will automatically verify with Microsoft, and activation is complete! You now have a genuine copy of Windows 10 Pro.
This is an unused, brand new Windows 10 Pro retail key, which can be used for normal operation of the operating system.
Note: If you do not have a DVD or USB drive, please download the system setup file from Microsoft’s official website, here.
This Windows 10 Pro key is multilingual and region free. This means retail keys will work globally.
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First, just check the payment method (PayPal or Credit Card). After your payment, you can collect the code in your email. After you collect your Windows 10 Pro key, you will be shown your Windows 10 Pro activation code.
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