If you are using Windows 10 on your computer, whether you built it or bought it, a product key will be linked to it. Or rather, you will have the assumption that you are using an activated version of Windows 10.
In the past, a product key was critical to installing and reinstalling Windows on your PC, but with Windows 10 things have gotten a bit easier. If you need to find your Windows 10 product key, we’ll show you how to do it in a few clicks.
Why do you need a Windows 10 product key
You no longer need a Windows 10 product key to install the operating system on a PC. You can add it during the installation process, but you can just as easily add it afterwards.
A Windows 10 product key is required to activate your copy of Windows 10 and gain unlimited access to its features. You can continue to use your computer with an unactivated copy, but you will lose a number of functions and, most importantly, important updates.
The system will also send you a reminder from time to time that you are using an unactivated copy of Windows 10.
Where to find your Windows 10 product key on copies you purchase
If you buy a copy of Windows 10, you will be provided with a manual key or it will automatically be applied to your Microsoft account. As such, if you buy Windows 10 through the Microsoft Store on your PC, the latter will apply.
If you buy digitally or physically through an authorized reseller, you will be provided with a copy of your product key, which you will need to enter manually. It’s a good idea to keep it in case you ever need it. However, even if you do lose it, all is not lost.
How to find your Windows 10 product key on your PC
You can easily find your Windows 10 product key on your PC. It only takes a few minutes and the only prerequisite is that you need to use the command line.
The first thing you need to do is check if your copy of Windows 10 is activated. If so, you should be able to find your product key. If not, then you will need to buy it.
Open the Settings app on your PC and select Update & Security. Then click Activate in the sidebar.
You will now see a message telling you if your Windows 10 is activated or not. In our case, Windows 10 is activated with a digital license tied to our Microsoft account.
After that, you need to open a command prompt with administrator rights. In the Windows search box, type “Command Prompt” and when it appears, right-click on the name and select “Run as administrator”. Click “Yes” in the window that appears and a command prompt window will open.
Alternatively, you can use Windows PowerShell. Open it by right-clicking the Start menu and choosing Windows Powershell (Admin).
You will now need to enter the required command to see your Windows 10 product key. Note that it is case sensitive, so you need to copy it exactly as shown below:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
Press Enter and you will now see your Windows 10 product key in the Command Prompt window.
You may need a Windows 10 product key only a few times, but it is advisable for every user of the Windows operating system to know it.
Fortunately, even if you have a physical key and lose it, you can always dive into your computer and look at your Windows 10 product key. Knowing the product key will also make it easy to upgrade to a new computer or perform a clean install of Windows 10.