What is a Windows 10 "product key"?
The Windows 10 "product key" is a 25-character alphanumeric code. When you install Windows 10 newly or reinstall it, you need to enter the "product key" for "activation".
The Windows 10 "product key" is printed on the PC package or attached card. If you can't see these labels, you can still view your product key in Command Prompt or PowerShell. In the case of a self-made PC, you can check by using the free software "Windows Product Key View".
How to check with Command Prompt
If you have a manufacturer-made PC with Windows 10 installed from the beginning, you can check the product key with "Command Prompt".
How to check with PowerShell
If you have a manufacturer-made PC with Windows 10 installed from the beginning, you can also check the product key with "Windows PowerShell". The same result can be obtained with "(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey" in addition to "wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey", which is the same as the command prompt.
How to check with Windows Product Key View (for your own PC)
If the product key is not displayed in the command prompt or PowerShell, you can use the free software "Windows Product Key View" to check the product key. You can check the key. Homebuilt PC users should use this method.
No product key if you upgraded from Windows 7/8.1
If you upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for free, you will not have a "Windows 10 product key". Instead, a "digital license" linked to hardware information is provided.
When a product key is required
The product key is required when installing or reinstalling Windows 10. A screen to enter the key appears during the installation. However, Windows 10 can be installed without entering a product key, and on a PC that has been authenticated with a digital license, it will be automatically authenticated when connected to the Internet. If it is not automatically activated, you will be prompted to enter the product key on the "License activation" screen.
Windows 10 activation is explained in detail in the related article below. Please for your reference.
[Related article] Windows 10 activation, how it works and how to do it
"Product ID" and "Product Key" are different
Windows 10 has an ID called "Product ID" to identify the product. This is completely different from the "product key", so even if you write it down, it cannot be used for license authentication.
Verification environment: Windows 10 version 21H1 (May 2021 Update)
Masayoshi SerizawaMasayoshi Serizawa
After working as an editor for a production company and a computer magazine, he has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. He writes a wide range of PC-related articles, both hardware and software. In particular, he has a deep connection with the self-made PC community, and sometimes speaks at events such as lectures on how to use storage and PC assembly. He is also active (straying?) as an "old man player" in the PS VR series.Click here for a list of articles by this author