How to find Windows 11 product key

If you are looking for your Windows 11 product key, if only to keep it in a safe place, there may not be an obvious place to find it. If it’s been a while since you upgraded your version of Windows, you may not know how the product keys changed. The good news is that it’s quick and easy to find your Windows 11 product key.

You may not have a product key

The first thing to know is that you may not have a key at all. Some versions of Windows 11 (and Windows 10 for that matter) are activated with digital licenses. For example, your laptop’s motherboard is likely associated with a digital authorization to Windows, so when you reinstall or upgrade to Windows 11, it will be automatically updated and detected.

Remember you don’t need a product key to install Windows 11; you can activate the operating system after it is fully installed. There’s no rush either, because except for a watermark and the inability to change your wallpaper, Windows 11 will be fully functional even without a key.

So go ahead with the installation and worry about a key if automatic activation doesn’t work. Even then, linking your Microsoft account to the local installation of Windows 11 should activate it if you’ve done so in the past. Even if it was for an older OS like Windows 10, you don’t need a key in either case, so try them first.

Your old product key still counts

If you’re upgrading from Windows 10, but you’ve chosen to do a clean reinstall rather than an in-line upgrade, you can still use the product key that came with your copy of Windows 10. If you upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1, you could try using those keys. While Windows 11 cannot perform an inline upgrade from anything older than Windows 10, you can use any eligible product key.

Use Command Prompt

This may be the easiest way to find your product key in Windows 11.

  1. Open the Start menu and type Command Prompt
  2. Right click on the Command Prompt Input and choose Run as administrator
  1. Type wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey and press Enter

You should see such a result if you have a product key. All you have to do is write it down and save it somewhere. While this method is simple, it won’t help much if you don’t have an active copy of Windows 11!

Search your mailbox for a receipt

If you purchased your digital copy from Microsoft, you should have an email from them with your product key. Search our mailbox for emails from them or for messages containing the phrase “product key”, hopefully it will be there waiting for you.

Check your online store

If you bought your copy of Windows 11 from an online retailer like Amazon, you’ll find your product key in your account information. It should be in your order history or in the case of platforms like Amazon, in a special section dedicated to digitally licensed products.

Check your PC for stickers

Although it’s not as common anymore, you may find your product key on a sticker attached to the outside of your computer. These stickers usually have a hologram to indicate that they are genuine.

With laptops, the sticker is usually on the bottom of the computer. On desktop computers, it is usually located at the back of the tower. If you don’t find them there, they may be in another place. Asking the computer manufacturer or consulting the manual is an option if it is hidden somewhere strange.

Check the physical packaging of the drive

At the time of writing, Microsoft doesn’t sell a physical boxed version of Windows 11. After all, most people don’t even own optical drives, and it’s easy enough to Download Windows 11 media directly from the Microsoft site. Nevertheless, if there are boxes in the store, your key should be on a card or sticker somewhere in that box.

A more likely scenario is that if you buy a pre-built desktop or laptop computer, the key is in the documentation package that comes with the computer. Most likely with all the drives that are part of the software that comes with the computer.

Ask your company system administrator

Aside from in-store copy product keys and digital activation linked to your computer hardware or Microsoft account, you should also consider volume licensing.

Volume licenses are a type of Windows license sold to large companies that need to install Windows on hundreds of computers. If the computer for which you need the key belongs to our employer, please ask the system administrator for assistance. They have access to the volume licenses and can therefore issue them to you.

Using Windows 11 without a key

As we mentioned above, Microsoft changed its stance on Windows licensing with Windows 10. Instead of banning unactivated users from the operating system, you only get mild reminders and restrictions on how much you can personalize Windows.

You will still get updates; you can buy things from the Microsoft Store and use paid subscriptions, such as: GamePass and Microsoft 365. So if you’ve lost your key and have no other way to activate Windows, take your time until you’re ready to get a new key.

That said, if you’re using an activated copy of Windows 10, you’re entitled to Windows 11 as a free upgrade. If you are unable to activate Windows 11 with your previous Windows key, please contact Microsoft support who have always resolved these issues quickly in our experience.

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