If you’re planning on but can’t find your product key, you’re in luck because it’s stored in the Windows Registry. It’s just not easy to find, and it’s impossible to read without some help. Luckily, we’re here to help. As you can see in the screenshot above, the product ID is stored in the registry but is in a binary format that can’t be read by humans unless you are some sort of Cylon. You aren’t, are you? RELATED: We’re not really sure why Microsoft went to great lengths to make it difficult to see the product keys for their software, especially since they are stored right in there in the registry and can be read by software, if not by humans. We can only assume that they don’t want anybody to re-use a key from an old computer.
The great thing is that you can even recover a key, even from a computer that won’t boot anymore. All you need is access to the disk drive from a working computer. Keep reading for more. Naruto vs pain episode. Three Places You Might Find the Key RELATED: The key you need will be in one of three places: • Stored in software on your PC: When you (or your PC manufacturer) installs Windows, Windows stores its product key in the registry. You can extract this product key, and–often–enter it when reinstalling Windows on your PC. Crucially, you’ll need to grab it from your operating system before you begin reinstalling Windows or it could be deleted if you format your hard drive.
The registry in 64-bit versions of Windows is divided into 32-bit and 64-bit keys. Many of the 32-bit keys have the same names as their 64-bit counterparts, and vice versa.
• Printed on a sticker: Some PCs use a technology called “System Locked Pre-installation,” or SLP. If your PC uses this, the product key on your PC–the one stored in the registry, and the one key-viewer applications display–will be different from the actual key your PC needs. The actual key is on a certificate of authenticity (COA) sticker on your PC or its power supply. The one in the registry and key-viewer application is a red herring. This system was common for Windows 7 PCs. • Embedded in your PC’s UEFI firmware: Many newer PCs that come with Windows 8 or 10 use a new method. The key for the version of Windows the PC comes with is stored in the computer’s or BIOS.
You don’t even need to know it–assuming you’re installing the same edition of Windows the PC came with, it should automatically activate and work without you needing to enter a key. It’ll all happen automatically.
Be sure to use the same version and edition of Windows the computer came with. In other words, if it came with Windows 7 Home Premium, you can’t install Windows 7 Professional. If the Key Is Stored in Your PC’s Hardware Let’s start with the simplest situation. On newer Windows 8 and 10 computers, the key isn’t stored in software where it can be wiped, or on a sticker where it could be smudged off or removed. No one can glance at your computer’s sticker to steal its product key. Instead, the key is stored in the computer’s UEFI firmware or BIOS by the manufacturer. You don’t have to do anything special if you have this.
You should just be able to reinstall the same edition of Windows the PC came with and it should just work without even asking you for a key. (Still, it may be best to find the product key using one of the below methods and write it down before reinstalling Windows–just in case.) If you want to find the UEFI-embedded key and write it down,. Just open the Start menu, type “powershell”, and run the Powershell application that comes up. Then, enter the following command and press Enter: (Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey You should be rewarded with your embedded license key.
Write it down and store it in a safe place. Read the Key From the Certificate of Authenticity Sticker If you have a Windows 7-era PC, there’s a good chance the PC’s key is a single key the manufacturer uses for all their PCs.
Thanks to “System Locked Pre-installation,” you’re not allowed to use that key to install Windows. If you try, you’ll get error messages about the key being invalid. To check, you’ll need to look for a certificate of authenticity sticker on your computer. The COA sticker verifies that the computer came with an authentic copy of Windows, and that sticker has a product key printed on it. You’ll need that product key to reinstall Windows–and, if the manufacturer used System Locked Pre-installation, that key is different from the one your PC came with in software.
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How To View Registry Keys
How To Find Registry Keys For Demo Trial Versions
If your laptop has a removable battery, it may be under the battery. If there’s some sort of compartment you can open, it might be in there. It may even be stuck to the laptop’s charger brick. If it’s a desktop, look on the side of the desktop’s case.