Most commercial software comes with a license key to prevent unauthorized copying and installation.
Although software manufacturers use various methods to prevent this type of protection from unwanted installation. One of the most common ways to prevent unwanted installations is registering with a registration key.
With both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, you need a license key to activate the product with Microsoft.
If you upgrade from Windows 7 or 8, Windows 10 or Windows 11 is automatically activated online. However, if you plan to reinstall Windows, you must have your product key to activate windows.
It is advisable to first check how you purchased Windows or Office. If you purchased a copy of Microsoft Windows or Office, the first place to look is the CD or DVD.
The license keys for the Microsoft product are usually on a sticker and consist of 25 characters.
If you purchased a PC with Windows already installed, look for a sticker on your PC. For Microsoft Office, the product key should be a sticker on the installation CD.
If you want, you can contact Microsoft to obtain the license key. However, there are also ways to obtain the product (license) keys through Windows. I’ll go into that in more detail in this article.
4 tips for finding the Windows 10, Windows 11 or Office license key
Retrieve Windows license code with Magical Jelly Bean – Key Finder
If you have installed Windows and don’t remember the license code, you can retrieve it with the Jelly Bean Key Finder program.
Jelly Bean Key finder retrieves the license key directly from the Windows registry. The program also supports 300+ other applications to retrieve the license codes.
Jelly Bean Key Finder can even recover Windows licenses from computers that don’t boot to Windows anymore in case of need.
Install the program, and it will start the program. Jelly Bean’s Key Finder will automatically look up all applications and show their corresponding license keys and information.
Use Lazesoft Windows Key Finder for free to look up the license key
Windows Key Finder not only finds the product key of Windows 11 or Windows 10. Using this software, you can get the product key of Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, 2012, or Windows 7, 8, 10, and Windows 11.
Above all that, this free software can retrieve the Microsoft Office product keys from the registry. Once the product key is retrieved by this tool, you can make a printout or save the product key in a notepad file.
Windows Key Finder is a free and portable tool, so you don’t need to install it on your PC. Instead, just download and run it, and you will immediately see the product key of Windows 10, Windows 11, or Microsoft Office.
List of supported Windows versions to find out the product key:
- Windows 2000 SP4
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
- Windows 8
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 10
- Windows 11
- Windows Server 2003
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- Windows Server 2012
- Windows Server 2012 R2
- Windows Server 2016
List of supported Microsoft Office versions to retrieve the product key:
- Microsoft Office 2000
- Microsoft Office 2003
- Microsoft Office 2007
- Microsoft Office 2010
- Microsoft Office 2013
- Microsoft Office 2016
- Microsoft Office 2019
Retrieve Windows license key using Windows Command Prompt or PowerShell
You can use Windows Command Prompt or PowerShell commands to retrieve the Windows product key.
You proceed as follows, go to search (magnifying glass in the taskbar) and look for “command prompt”. Once you have opened the Command Prompt, then type the following command and confirm it with the enter key:
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
The following screen will appear. Note that this method will not work for every PC.
You can also use the PowerShell code to get the license code. You proceed as follows, go to search and search for “power”. Make sure you choose Windows Powershell and not Windows PowerShell ISE.
If you have opened PowerShell, then type the following command and confirm it with the enter key:
(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
It then looks like this. See the example below.
Looking up Windows license code via Visual Basic Scripting (VBS) with Notepad
Go to search in Windows and type: Notepad. You can now open Notepad and start a new text file.
Copy the following code from this page and paste it into the new notepad text file.
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell") MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead("HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId")) Function ConvertToKey(Key) Const KeyOffset = 52 i = 28 Chars = "BCDFGHJKMPQRTVWXY2346789" Do Cur = 0 x = 14 Do Cur = Cur * 256 Cur = Key(x + KeyOffset) + Cur Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur ≥ 24) And 255 Cur = Cur Mod 24 x = x -1 Loop While x >= 0 i = i -1 KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput If (((29 - i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i -1) Then i = i -1 KeyOutput = "-" & KeyOutput End If Loop While i >= 0 ConvertToKey = KeyOutput End Function
After pasting the above content into Notepad (Notepad), you will get the following result below.
Now we will save the content, choose File from the menu and then click Save As.
Choose the location Desktop to find the File more easily later on. You are free to choose the location. Of course, we assume that the File is saved on the Desktop in the instruction.
Choose (“All Files”) and save the files as licensecode.vbs. Now click the Save button to save the code file to the Desktop.
Now locate the license.VBS file on your Windows Desktop and double click the File to open it. A new Windows window will now appear containing your Windows license product key.
Not sure if your Windows version is activated?
No matter what version of Windows you are using, all Windows versions need to be activated to get product updates. Not only to get updates but also to register with Microsoft that you are ownable from the purchased license.
To ensure Windows is activated, open File Explorer, right-click on This PC, My Computer, or Computer, and select Properties from the menu. A new window will open with information about your computer. At the bottom of the window, click on “Product key and activation” in Windows 11 or see if Windows 10 is activated.
I hope this has helped you. Thanks for reading!