How to Request a New Windows Product Key

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

You must have a valid product key to install Windows. If you no longer have the product key to your Windows operating system, and it isn't installed and working on your computer, but you still have the original disc, you may be able to request a replacement product key from Microsoft for just $10, so you can install the software on your computer.

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.

If you lost your product key, but Windows is still installed and working on your computer, use a free key-finder program to extract the key from your registry.

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How to Request a New Windows Product Key

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

  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 another group, see Step #2 but contact the issuing group instead.

  2. 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.

  3. Call Microsoft at 1 (800) 936-5700. This is Microsoft's Paid Support telephone number. Microsoft's site advises that support calls to this number incur a $40 to $60 charge. However, you are not charged this amount for a call about a new product key.

  4. Follow the auto-attendant prompts appropriately so you can speak to a customer service representative about your missing product key.

  5. 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.

  6. Answer the questions the representative asks. They may include requests for specific details about your Windows installation disc, such as the numbers around the inner circle of the CD/DVD and details about what words or images may or may not be on the disc. Microsoft asks these questions to verify that the installation disc you have is not pirated.

  7. Microsoft takes your credit card information after verifying that your installation media is genuine. This new Windows product key should cost you $10, plus tax.

  8. The Microsoft representative then reads you your new product key and asks that you enter it into the activation window to be sure it creates a new installation code.

  9. The representative then transfers you to the telephone-based activation center to complete the Windows activation process.

If for some reason you're not able to get a replacement product key from Microsoft or 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 popular online retailers like Amazon. Older versions of Windows, such as Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, are harder to find, but you can usually find copies at reputable sellers on the internet.