If we have already purchased a user license in the past we can recover it from the old PC and use it on the new one, so as not to spend anything.
In this article we, therefore, see how to recover the Windows 10 product key to be able to reuse it in a new installation, and to correct the problem of unauthentic copy when it is Windows, it has been regularly purchased.
The procedures described are valid also for the old versions of Windows, in case we want to recover those codes too.
How to find the Windows 10 product key
In the following chapters, we will show you first of all what are the types of licenses supported by Windows 10 and what are the methods that we can use to view and copy it on a new PC (always if the license is compatible with the transfer).
Windows 10 can be activated in two ways:
- Via Windows product key, i.e. a 25-character code (of type XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX). This is usually the license that is purchased in-store (Retail) or that we can purchase from the Windows website and is transferable.
- By digital license: the digital license allows you to activate Windows 10 without entering any product key. This license is provided when we upgrade from an old Windows operating system or when our license is tied to the Microsoft account. Most of these licenses can be transferred.
- Through OEM license: this license is linked to the motherboard of our PC so, unless we use the same motherboard, we will not be able to transfer it from one computer to another.
Before proceeding with the move of the license we will have to check which type of Product Key is active on our computer, so as to know in advance if we can proceed. In this regard, we invite you to read our guide On how many computers can I install Windows?
How to Find Product Key without any app
On Windows 10 we can view the active product key without having to use external programs.
To succeed in the interior we open the Start menu at the bottom left, we search for the Command prompt, press the right button on it and choose Run as administrator. In the black window that appears, type the following command:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
We reward Submit or enter on the keyboard to confirm; if we have done everything correctly, the product key will appear directly under the command, ready to be copied.
Another effective method to find Product Key without any app on Windows 10 involves the use of PowerShell, an enhanced version of the old Prompt.
To open it, go to the Start menu in the lower-left corner, search PowerShell, right-click on Run as administrator and type in the blue window, the following command:
Powershell “(Get-WmiObject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’). OA3xOriginalProductKey”
We press again Submit or enter on the keyboard to see the code of our license appear directly in the new terminal.
Best apps to show Windows 10 product keys
If the previous commands have not had the desired effect or we want to recover the Product Key with a program, there are numerous free tools designed for the purpose.
One of the best is without a shadow of a doubt ProduKey, produced by the famous software house Nirsoft (which has also created other useful tools for Windows).
To find the code quickly, just open the tool (it’s portable, it doesn’t even require installation), select the item Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro in the column Product Name, right click on it and select Copy Product Key. The code thus obtained we can copy it in a personal chat or save it in a text file for validation on the new computer.
Another tool similar to that produced by Nirsoft is the Windows 10 Product Key Tool, available for free for each version of Windows 10.
This tool is even simpler to use, since you just need to start it to immediately view the code in a simple window, ready to be reused or copied.
Another valid program to find the Windows Product Key is undoubtedly Lazesoft Windows Key Finder, which can also be downloaded for free.
Also in this case we will have a very simple tool to use: just download it to your computer and start it to immediately see the product key of the active copy of Windows 10. To save it we can either copy the code directly or use the Save buttons (to save a text file) and the Print button (to print the code on paper or a PDF file, thanks also to the virtual printers).
How to validate product key on Windows 10
After recovering the Product Key from the old PC we can validate it on a new one clean installation of Windows 10 both on the installation screen and later, by opening the Start menu in the lower left, looking for the app Settings and taking us on the path Update and security -> Activation and press on the item Change product key, which will appear immediately under the heading Activate Windows now.
A new window will open in which to insert the recovered code with one of the methods seen above, so you can activate Windows 10 and use it without limits. If we already have an old active license and we want to change it with the one recovered from another PC, just go to the same screen at the top and always press on Change product key, which will appear this time under the heading Update product key.
If instead we have a digital license we can activate it on our new computer with Windows 10 by logging on with the same Microsoft account used on the old computer (where the Retail digital license was already present); to proceed, open the Start menu, click on the app Settings, let’s get on the path Account -> Your Info and log in with the Microsoft account. Immediately after logging in, let’s go to Update and security -> Activation and check if the license has been moved; otherwise we press down on Troubleshooting, so as to be able to start the procedure for restoring the license that may be in your possession.
To learn more about this aspect, please read our guide How to activate Windows 10 and resolve product key errors.
The Product Key can also be used on the new computer, without having to spend an absurd amount again to buy a license for every new PC we buy! Obviously we can only transfer the compatible licenses (Retail and some digital licenses), while we will not be able to transfer the pre-activated licenses on the computers for sale in the stores (ie the OEM licenses).
If we don’t know where to buy a license for Windows 10, we invite you to read our in-depth analysis of where to purchase the Windows 10 license.
If instead, we find it difficult to move the license from an old PC to the new one, we can also read our guide on how to Move your Windows license and disable the product key from your old PC.