How to recover the Windows product key

How to recover the Windows product key

Before the spread of Windows 8 in 2012, manufacturers had accustomed us to the practical labels with the product keys of the software installed on the PC. It was common practice in the late 1990s and early 2000s to find one or more code labels in plain sight on the underside of laptops, or on the back panel of desktop cases, ready to use should the machine need to be formatted.

With the advent of Windows 8, Microsoft has chosen to abolish these labels. If your PC was manufactured after 2012 and had Windows 8 as its pre-installed OS, you can stop searching because there will simply be no label. The product key is no longer physically accessible but is stored within the motherboard UEFI firmware and, in case of re-installation of the operating system from scratch, the windows setup will find it for you without you having to worry about anything .

According to Microsoft, there may be rare cases in which this serial is not detected by the Windows setup: in this case the procedure involves selecting the item "I do not have a Product Key" and then proceed to the next screen by choosing a hand the correct version of Windows (the choice is between Home edition or Pro edition, the one installed previously must be selected, making a mistake is not serious but it means having to repeat the installation). Activation will take place automatically, as soon as the internet is available.

However, if you need to physically view the Product Key, perhaps to move it (within the limits of your license) from a PC you are retiring to a new one , there are multiple solutions.

Finding the Windows Product Key with third party programs

NeoSmart OemKey Finder will show the Windows code saved in your card mother This little program, simple and requiring no installation, does exactly what it says: it will read the code stored on your motherboard and display it in plain text.

It is important to point out that Oem Key Finder only works on machines where Windows is pre-installed by the manufacturer and not on assembled PCs, for which a license has been purchased. If this is your scenario, the second method will come in handy.

Microsoft account: forget about the product keys!

In Windows 10 and later, as well as for Office 365, the Product Key plays an increasingly secondary role and the most convenient tool to manage Microsoft product licenses is undoubtedly the Microsoft account.

To create a Microsoft account, no third-party software or technical skills are required, it is possible create one directly during the first start of your new PC, or through the dedicated web page if you want to have more control during the creation phase. To register a Microsoft account, an e-mail address from any provider will be required, furthermore we point out that the Microsoft addresses (therefore the various hotmail, outlook, live and msn boxes) are already usable Microsoft accounts.

As for the first method, you can use this system to transfer the license to a PC that does not have one. Just install Windows and when entering the Product Key select at the bottom "I don't have a Product Key", in the next step manually select the correct edition of Windows (it must be the same as your previous PC) and proceed normally with the installation.

The steps of the windows activation procedure Once you have entered your microsoft account, the procedure should be automatic. If not, just click on the message "this copy of Windows is not active", then select "troubleshooting" and finally "I have recently changed the hardware of this device". This will allow you to select a device from those in your account to use the license.

As for the first method, it is worth remembering that it will no longer be possible to use Windows on the previous machine. If, despite everything, you do not want to discard it, it will be possible to use a free operating system, such as a Linux distribution.

Retrieve the Office Product Key

We will not turn around much: try recovering an Office product key is no small feat, because the registration and activation procedure for Office has been online for many years, with the serial that is combined with a Microsoft account required to proceed and is no longer saved in the local PC. As for Windows, the best choice to have a "backup" of your code is to keep your Microsoft account carefully, choosing a good password and perhaps enabling 2-factor verification for extra security.

The NirSoft tool is perfect for legacy software If, ​​however, your Office is a version prior to 2013, you can use a KeyFinder like the one created by NirSoft. You can download it from the official website and run it on the PC where you have installed Office, or even on a PC to which a hard disk with a compromised system is connected, and still recover your keys.

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