How to Find Your Windows 8 or 8.1 Product Key

Extract your lost Windows 8 product key from the registry

What to Know

  • Windows 8 requires the entry of unique product keys, sometimes called serial numbers, during installation.
  • If you don't have yours, you can usually extract it from the Windows Registry using what's called a product key finder program.
  • Belarc Advisor is the best free program to try if the registry approach doesn't work.

This article explains a variety of ways to find your Windows 8 product key.

How to Find Your Windows 8 or 8.1 Product Key

Follow these steps to get that elusive key:

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 our Windows Product Keys FAQ and Key Finder Programs FAQ pages for more help.

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

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

    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.

  2. Install Belarc Advisor, following the instructions given during the installation.

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. Write down the Windows 8 key exactly as shown for use when reinstalling Windows 8.

    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 Belarc Advisor didn't find your Windows 8 product key, you might try a different key finder utility like LicenseCrawler or Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder. However, 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 a retailer like Amazon, which will, of course, come with a new and valid product key.

Windows 8/8.1 is now out of its sales window, with Microsoft focused on Windows 10. You may find it increasingly difficult to purchase a valid Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 license key through normal retail channels.

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.

Where the Windows 8 Product Key Is Located

Halfway through reinstalling Windows 8, you must have your product key to continue the installation. 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 installed 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.

Image of a Windows 8 Certificate of Authenticity

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