How To Request a New Windows Product Key

Lost Your Windows Key? Get a New One From Microsoft for $10 USD

Photo of a man talking on the phone while using a computer
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If you no longer have the product key to your Windows operating system but do still have the original disc, you may be able to request a replacement product key from Microsoft for just $10 USD.

Important: If you've lost your product key but Windows is still installed and working, use a free key finder program to extract the key from your registry.

You must have a valid product key to install Windows.

Your only alternative is to buy a brand new copy of Windows, so it won't hurt to at least attempt to get an inexpensive replacement from Microsoft.

Follow the instructions below to request a new Windows product key for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Requesting a replacement product key from Microsoft will probably take you about 20 minutes.

How To Request a New Windows Product Key

  1. Determine if your copy of Windows is a retail copy or preinstalled copy:

    Retail: Your copy of Windows is a retail copy if you or someone else purchased Windows as a standalone software package and then installed it on your computer. Your copy of Windows might also be a retail copy if it came on your new computer and your computer came from a small builder. Proceed to Step #3.

    Preinstalled: Your copy of Windows is a preinstalled copy if it was already installed when you purchased your new computer. This is likely the case if you have a major brand PC and you've never installed a new copy of Windows yourself. See Step #2.

    Other: If you purchased or were given a copy of Windows from your organization, business, or other group, see Step #2 but contact the issuing group instead.
  1. Contact your original computer manufacturer directly to request a new product key if Windows was preinstalled on your PC.

    If your computer manufacturer is not able to assist in issuing you a replacement product key for Windows, proceed to Step #3. Microsoft may still be able to help.
  2. Call Microsoft at 1 (800) 936-5700.

    Note: This is Microsoft's Paid Support telephone number. Microsoft's site advises that support calls to this number will incur a $40 to $60 USD charge. You will not be charged this amount for a call about a new product key.
  1. Follow the auto-attendant prompts appropriately so you can speak to a customer service representative about your missing product key.

    I was able to reach a human after only three questions - not too bad, in my opinion.
  2. The Microsoft representative will take your contact information - your name, telephone number, and email address - and then ask for details about your problem.

    Tell the representative that you have your original Windows installation CD/DVD but need a replacement product key.
  3. Answer whatever questions that are asked of you. The Microsoft representative may ask for specific details about your Windows installation disc, like the numbers around the inner circle of the CD/DVD and details about what words or images that may or may not be on the disc.

    Microsoft asks these questions to help verify that the installation disc you have is not pirated.
  4. Microsoft will take your credit card information after verifying that your installation media is genuine.

    This new Windows product key should cost you $10 USD, plus tax.

    Important: A few readers have even emailed me saying that Microsoft didn't charge them anything at all, that the charge was more than $10, or that Microsoft told them that they don't replace product keys at all! I'm not sure if they're changing policy or if some of the support people at Microsoft don't have the information they need, but let me know if there's anything more I might want to include here.
  1. The Microsoft representative will then read you your new product key and ask that you enter it into the activation window to be sure it creates a new installation code.
  2. He or she will then transfer you to the telephone-based activation center to complete the Windows activation process.

    Note: If for whatever reason you're not able to get a replacement product key from Microsoft or from your computer manufacturer, and your copy of Windows is not currently installed (excluding you from the product key finder method), then your final course of action is to purchase a new copy of Windows.

    You can buy Windows 10 and Windows 8 directly from Microsoft or from popular online retailers like Amazon and Newegg. Older versions of Windows, like Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, are harder to find but you can usually find copies floating around at Amazon.

    Special thanks to Jay Kinnard for much of the information in this article.

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