Windows Activation Key is a Product ID which used to activate the Windows OS which installed in your computer. Most of the Windows laptops (it can be any brands Dell, Lenovo etc..) come with preinstalled Windows OS either Windows 7 (too older), or Windows 8.1, or Windows 10. Recent laptops come with Windows 10 OS.
You may face the situation where your preinstalled OS get corrupted, or internal hard disk failure, motherboard issue, which cause you to reset your laptop. Most of the time resetting your PC will resolve OS corrupted problem which restore the Windows OS with valid product key.
But consider the situation, you replace the internal hard disk, or resetting PC doesn’t work as expected, which cause you to install the Windows OS newly. In this case, you can easily download the Windows OS from Microsoft site, and install it.
But here will be a problem, which is the reinstalled Windows OS is not activated with original product key, so it asks you to activate the Windows OS. Here I will tell some simple ways to extract your original Windows product key.
Option 1: Reinstall right/exact Windows OS Edition
By default, Windows laptops come with Windows Single Language Edition. So, if you want to reinstall the Windows OS, make sure you install the right edition of Windows OS.
To download Windows OS, use the following link, here you can chose Windows 10, or Windows 8.1 or 7.
Then chose the edition, Choose Single Language Edition which mostly used for personal use, which comes with laptop while purchasing.
Installing the right edition of windows will automatically, picks the Original Product key and activate the Windows. The above screenshot refers Windows 8.1 version.
Note: You will be lucky that if installing single language edition of Window OS automatically picks the original key and activated it. If not, you no need to worry, we have alternate ways. But installing right edition of windows in important, then only after you recover the original product key using below alternate ways, you can activate the windows. Else activation key does not work, and it informs you that installed edition does not work with this activation key.
Option 2: Find Original Product Key in Label
Some older laptop with Windows 7 or older had come with the printed label on the back/bottom side of the laptop or desktop respectively, this label had Windows Product Key printed on it. This ensures the genuine copy of Windows.
Note: Since it works only for earlier versions, I hope this option will not work out for current generation people. No worries, you can try next.
Option 3: Find in BIOS (Recommended)
The original Product key has been embedded in BIOS. You can use simple command prompt command to extract the original product key from BIOS.
Step 1: Open Command Prompt in administrator mode.
Step 2: Make sure path located in System32.
Step 3: Enter the following command and run it.
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
Step 4: That’s it. You will get the Product Key. Refer the below screenshot,
You can copy this key, and use to activate your Windows OS.
Option 4: Get from Windows Registry
I’m sure the above Option 3 surely work out to all, if not you have another way to find by searching it in Windows registry. No worries, there is only little manual work involved
Step 1: Open Notepad.
Step 2: Copy paste below code snippet,
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
Step 3: Save this text file with .vbs extension, example windowskey.vbs
Step 4:After saved the file close it, then double click on that file to run it.
Step 5: That’s it, this will pick the key from Windows registry and display it in windows like below.
Then try this key to activate the Windows OS.
Option 5: Contact Windows Support
If nothing above works, you should contact the Microsoft windows support, they will guide you to activate your windows OS.
Hope this article address your problem to recover the Windows Activation Key.