How to Find Your Windows 8 or 8.1 Product Key

Extract Your Lost Windows 8 Product Key From the Registry

Image of a Windows 8 Certificate of Authenticity
Windows 8 Certificate of Authenticity. MIcrosoft

Windows 8, as well as most operating systems and other software, require the entry of unique product keys, sometimes called serial numbers, during installation. Halfway through reinstalling Windows 8, you must have your product key to continue the installation.

Where the Windows 8 Product Key Is Located

Usually, your Windows 8 product key will be with the email you received after buying Windows 8 for download, or if you purchased it in a box with a disc, with the packaging.

If Windows 8 came preinstalled on your computer, your product key should be on a sticker on your computer or with your documentation. It should look a lot like the image you see here.

Fortunately, if you can't find documentation of your Windows 8 product key, you may be able to extract it from the Windows Registry using a program called a product key finder. It's a quick process that takes less than 15 minutes.

Important: A product key finder program will only find your valid Windows 8 key if Windows 8 is installed and working, and if you've manually entered the Windows 8 product key in some previous installation. See my Windows Product Keys FAQ and Key Finder Programs FAQ pages for more help.

Note: You can find your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 product key this way, no matter what edition of Windows 8 you're using.

How to Find Your Windows 8 or 8.1 Product Key

  1. Download Belarc Advisor, a free PC audit program with full Windows 8 support that also functions as a key finder tool. Unfortunately, manually locating the Windows 8 product key in the registry isn't possible so you'll need to use a program like this.

    See my List of Free Key Finder Programs for more tools like Belarc Advisor, but try it first since I've confirmed that it correctly finds Windows 8 product keys.

    Note: Any product key finder that advertises support for Windows 8 will work for either edition: Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, as well as either edition of Windows 8.1.
     
  1. Install Belarc Advisor, following the instructions given during the installation.

    Note: If you choose a different keyfinder, please know that some are supported by optional add-on programs so be sure to uncheck those options during the program's installation if you don't want them. A few of them require no installation at all.
     
  1. Run Belarc Advisor (the initial analysis may take a little while) and note the Windows 8 product key displayed in the Software Licenses section.

    The Windows 8 product key is a series of 25 letters and numbers and should look like this: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx.
     
  2. Write down the Windows 8 key exactly as shown for use when reinstalling Windows 8.

    Important: Make sure each and every letter and number is written exactly as shown. If even one digit isn't transcribed correctly, the key won't work to reinstall Windows 8.

More Windows 8 Product Key Ideas

If you need to install Windows 8 but wasn't successful finding your Windows 8 product key with a product key finder program, you have two more choices:

You can request a replacement product key or you can purchase a new copy of Windows 8.1 from Microsoft, or another retailer like Amazon, which will, of course, come with a new and valid product key.

Requesting a replacement Windows 8 product key is going to be much more cost effective than buying an entirely new copy of Windows 8, but you may have to do that if the replacement doesn't work out.

Need More Help With Your Windows 8 Product Key Problem?

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more.

Be sure to let me know what you've already tried so we can work from there.

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