Windows 11 is the most recent version of Microsoft’s operating system, and it comes with a number of new features and improvements. In order to take advantage of all that, Windows 11 has to offer, you’ll need to enter a valid product key.
If you’re not sure where to find your product key, don’t worry – as this post will guide you on how to find the product key in Windows 11. Let’s get on.
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What is a product key?
But before we get into how to find your Windows 11 product key, it’s important to understand what a product key is and why you need one.
Purchasing a copy of Windows 11 requires that you enter a valid product key during the installation process. A product key is a 25-character code that’s used to activate and confirm your copy of Windows.
This code is unique to your installation, and it proves that you’ve purchased a legitimate copy of the operating system.
Product keys are also sometimes referred to as CD keys or serial numbers. It’s important to note that product keys are not the same as product IDs, which are also 25-character codes. Product IDs are used to identify specific products, but they don’t provide any proof of purchase.
Why do you need a product key?
Product keys are important for a few reasons. First, they help to ensure that your copy of Windows is genuine. If you try to install a pirated or otherwise non-genuine copy of Windows, you’ll be asked to enter a valid product key.
Second, product keys help Microsoft keep track of how many copies of Windows 11 are in use. This information is important for things like managing to license and ensuring that Microsoft isn’t being cheated out of revenue.
Third, product keys help to deter software piracy. If it were easy to pirate Windows 11, there would be no need to buy legitimate copies of the operating system. By making it difficult to install Windows without a valid product key, Microsoft makes it less likely that people will pirate the software.
So now that you know what a product key is and why you need one, let’s take a look at how to find your Windows 11 product key.
Quick Tip: If you’re planning to upgrade from an older version of Windows to Windows 11, you’ll need to have your product key handy. The upgrade process will ask for your product key, and you won’t be able to continue without it.
9 ways to find your Windows 11 product key
Let’s take a look at a few different ways that you can find your Windows 11 product key:
1. Finding product key with Windows PowerShell
Use the following steps to find your product key in Windows PowerShell:
- In Windows 11, open Windows PowerShell by clicking on the Start button and then search for PowerShell. In the results, right-click on Windows PowerShell and select Run as administrator.
- If prompted, click Yes to allow PowerShell to make changes to your PC.
- At the PowerShell prompt, type the following command and hit Enter:
(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
This command will retrieve your product key from the Windows Registry and display it on the screen.
2. Finding product key using Command Prompt
If you’re more comfortable using the Command Prompt, you can use it to find your product key as well. Use the following steps:
- In Windows 11, open the Command Prompt by clicking on the Start button and then search for cmd. In the results, right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
- If prompted, click Yes to allow the Command Prompt to make changes to your PC.
- At the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter:
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
It will take a few moments for the command to run, but it will eventually display your product key.
3. Finding product key with a third-party tool
If you don’t want to use either PowerShell or the Command Prompt, there are a few third-party tools like ShowKeyPlus that will retrieve your product key for you.
- Open the “Microsoft Store” by searching for it in the search box. To access the shop on your Windows 11 PC, click the Microsoft Store icon in the taskbar.
- In the search box, type ‘ShowKeyPlus’ and hit Enter.
- From the list of options, pick ‘ShowKeyPlus.’ To install it, click “Get” and wait for the installation procedure to finish.
- After the installation is complete, click the ‘Open’ button to activate the ShowKeyPlus app. Alternatively, you may use the search feature to look for the ShowKeyPlus app.
- Now, start ShowKeyPlus, and it will display information about the Windows license that is installed on your PC. To save the product details as a text file, click the ‘Save’ button.
4. Check on the retail packaging
It is a useful method if you had bought Windows 11 in a retail shop. The product key is usually on the side of the packaging (the box that the Windows DVD came in). If not, it should be on a sticker somewhere inside the box.
If you purchased a digital copy of Windows 11, the product key should have been emailed to you. If not, it might be in your Microsoft account under “Digital Purchases.” If you can’t find it there, contact Microsoft and they’ll help you out.
5. Search sticker with a key on your device
You can look for the sticker with the key on it at the back of your device. It is placed on devices that came with Windows 11 pre-installed
- If you have a laptop, turn it over and look at the base. The sticker with the product key should be there.
- If you have a desktop, look on the top or the side of the monitor and you’ll find the sticker or product key.
6. Find the product key in your email
When you buy Windows 11, you get a product key. The seller should have emailed you the product key or given it to you when they sold you the PC.
Look for an email from Microsoft with the subject line “Welcome to Microsoft.“
In that email, there will be a section called “Your software license.” The product key will be in that section. If you can’t find the email, contact the seller and ask for the product key.
If you have a digital copy of Windows 11, the product key will be in your Microsoft account under “Digital Purchases.“
7. Use the Volume Licensing Service Center
If you’re operating Windows 11 in a corporate environment and have a volume license for editions like Pro or Enterprise, the licensing process will be a little different. Administrators set up Key Management Service (KMS) servers to monitor and handle massive amounts of licensing.
KMS servers are intended to aid in the management of connectivity to Microsoft for license activation.
As an administrator, you can access the Volume License Service Center site using your company credentials. Navigate to Licenses > Key to locate the product key.
8. Check your online store account
If you purchased Windows 11 from an online retailer such as Amazon, you’d locate your product key in your account information. It should be in your order history or, in the case of platforms like Amazon, in a section dedicated to digitally licensed products.
9. Contact Microsoft support
Last but not least, if you can’t find your product key anywhere, you can always contact Microsoft support for help. They should be able to help you locate your product key, or if you’re having trouble activating Windows 11, they may be able to help with that as well.
For assistance, contact Microsoft support. Using the Get Help app on your computer, you can request a callback. Here’s how to put it to use.
- Open Settings and press Win + I.
- Click Activation in the right panel.
- Then, select Get Help.
- Choose your reason and then click Contact Support.
- Then, choose your product and click Confirm.
Follow the on-screen instructions after selecting the Provide your phone number, and the support staff will call you option.
These are some of the ways in which you can find your Windows 11 product key. I hope this guide was helpful.