This is how to find your Windows 10 product key and activate it
Whether you used Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer or got a new license off retail, MSDN and the likes, you need to know how to find your Windows 10 product key and how activation works on free upgraded as opposed to new retail copies of Windows 10. Here’s everything you need to know about Windows 10 product keys and activation process.
Upgrading to Windows 10:
If you have used a genuine copy of either Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to upgrade your PC to Windows 10, then your license will be tied to the hardware you upgrade on, and not your Microsoft account. In this case, you won’t get any new product key either. This can be verified by using any third-party product key software like ProduKey or The Ultimate PID Checker. They will show you generic product keys like TX9XD-98N7V-6WMQ6-BX7FG-H8Q99 for Windows 10 Home and VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T for Windows 10 Pro edition.
Clean Installation of Windows 10:
If you want to perform a clean installation of Windows 10 on the same machine, you can download an ISO file, turn it into a USB drive or DVD media and then run the setup for clean install. During the installation, Windows setup will ask you to provide product key, just skip this step and allow the installation to complete. Once clean installation of Windows 10 is complete, your copy of Windows will activate automatically as soon as you connect to Internet. This happens as Microsoft knows you clean installed on the same hardware. To check your activation status of Windows 10, you can either go to
Settings (WinKey+I) > Update & security > Activation:
Or go to Control Panel > System and Security > System:
However, if you decide to change the hardware in the future, you will need to contact Microsoft support and notify them about the change to get your copy activated.
New PC with Windows 10:
If you have bought a new PC running Windows 10, the product key will be pre–installed on your PC and your PC will automatically be activated, included with the packaging the PC came in, or included on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the PC.
Windows 10 retail product key and activation:
You will have a unique product key that you can use to enter in Windows setup during clean installations, in cases where you have bought retail license of Windows 10, or got a product key either from MSDN, DreamSpark, TechNet and the likes. In the event you lose this number, you can use third-party softwares like ProduKey to find it on an existing installation.