A product key gives Windows 11 the information it needs to verify that you rightfully paid for your copy of the operating system. It also activates Windows to give you access to all the features without any limits.
These days, your product key is usually tied to your Microsoft account and stored in your PC’s motherboard via “digital entitlement.” However, if you’re not using a Microsoft account on Windows 11, then you might want to note the physical key down.
Keeping the key handy ensures you will be able to activate the OS at a later point should you have to “clean install” Windows 11. Here’s a look at how you can find that product key and use it.
Note that Windows 11 is still in a beta state. It is set to hit general availability on October 5. That means Microsoft doesn’t currently sell Windows 11 product keys. Most Windows 11 installs can be activated with a Windows 10 product key instead, and you can get Windows 10 for free under certain situations should you need a product key.
Using Command Prompt
Though it might sound tricky, the easiest way to get your product key in Windows 11 is by using the Command Prompt. All you need to do is open the Start menu and then search for “command prompt.” When you see the app, open it up and type the following command:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
After you type that command (or paste it in), you can hit the Enter key on your keyboard. You’ll see the product key listed in the next line of the command prompt. Note this down if you’re hoping to activate Windows 11 in the future.
Check receipts and or emails
Another way to find a product key on Windows 11 is to check the receipts for when you purchased your version of Windows. If you purchased through Microsoft or Best Buy, you can find the product key in the Orders or Purchases section of the online version of the store.
If you purchased through Amazon, then check the Your Games and Software Library part of Amazon. You also might want to check your email, as the email might have directions on how you can find the product key. Or, the email might have the product key listed itself.
Look for physical stickers on your PC
Finally, you can look for physical stickers on your PC with the product key listed. These stickers usually have a version of Windows listed and a product key. Note that you’ll only be able to use this listed key for that respected version of Windows. So if the sticker has a key for Windows 10 Home, then you’ll only be able to activate it for Windows 11 Home. If the sticker has a key for Windows 11 Pro, then you’ll only be able to activate Windows 11 Pro.