Skip to main content

Common sense and software companies advise users to save their product keys securely in case they need them in the future, such as when re-installing your operating system. After all, you don’t want to reformat your hard drive and reinstall Windows only to find out that you don’t know what your Windows product key is. Unfortunately, that ever-so-important key can sometimes be misplaced or lost. In many cases though, keys can be recovered in Windows—no need to rummage through purchase e-mails or disk cases.

We offer two approaches for you to recover your Windows product key: searching through the Registry Editor or with a third party program. However, please note that both methods will require administrator rights to your Windows machine.

Windows 7 & Windows 8

Registry Editor

  1. Search and open Regedit via the Search function in Windows 7 or 8.
    Recover Your Product Key - Step 1
  2. In the left pane of the Registry Editor, navigate to the following directory:
    Windows 7 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Win7
    Windows 8 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Win8

    Recover Your Product Key - Step 2

  3. Right-click on the entry named ProductId and select Modify.
    Recover Your Product Key - Step 3
  4. The product key will be displayed in a new window.
    Recover Your Product Key - Step 4

Third Party Program

You can also retrieve your Windows product key via a third party program such as NirSoft ProduKey, which scans your Windows registry file for the product keys of other software. Install and run ProduKey to view a list of product keys stored in your registry file. However, it cannot find product keys for all programs. Most notably, Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 do not store their product keys in the registry file.

recover_key_5

Office 2010 & Office 2013

Office 2010 and Office 2013 do not store their product keys in an easily accessible location in the registry file and many third party programs cannot scan for them. However, you can use a script to find the last five digits of the product key.

  1. Open the Command Prompt by searching for “cmd” in Windows.
    Recover Your Product Key - Step 6
  2. In the command prompt, type or paste in the following:
    Windows (32-bit)
    Office 2010 (32-bit) cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus
    Office 2013 (32-bit) cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus
    Windows (64-bit)
    Office 2010 (32-bit) cscript “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus
    Office 2010 (64-bit) cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus
    Office 2013 (32-bit) cscript “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus
    Office 2013 (64-bit) cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus

    *Please note that if Office is not installed on your C: drive, you will need to update the drive letter in the above script appropriately.

    Recover Your Product Key - Step 7

  3. Once you have the last five digits, you can then back track the full key using the last five digits by contacting Microsoft.

Losing a product key does not mean you have to purchase the product again, as most of the time you can recover it by scanning through the registry file.

Have you ever lost a product key and needed to recover it?

Photo by Nick Perla, taken from Flickr Creative Commons
Wallace Chu

Author Wallace Chu

A self-professed tech hipster that loves computers and music. Uses an iPhone ironically.

More posts by Wallace Chu

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Avatar Alesia says:

    Great article! KeyFind Plus is what I have been using too. It does gather product keys for Windows and Office.

  • Avatar Jason says:

    I was able to scan the barcode right off the screen: 00142023289575

  • Avatar Arpen Patel says:

    Please update your Site! For Office 2016

    Use This For Office 2016 64 Bit: cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus other wise use add in the (x86) for 32 Bit. Use:for Office 32 Bit:
    cscript “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus

  • Avatar Alex Richard says:

    I’ve installed 14393 to 15063 on my hp laptop, but after installation it denied to accept last purchased windows 10 pro license from Microsoft, So I contacted them and followed their instructions but same issue, I cannot buy license again for my OS. At this condition, one of your user recommend me to buy it from ODosta Store at: http://products.odosta.com
    Which is an Indian site with best customer support. Now I bought win 10 25 digit key code at just $48 and happy with successful activation. Cheers

  • Avatar whydoubt says:

    Does not work at all on Dell 7010 running Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit.

  • Registry files often stores the product installation key if Microsoft Office was pre-installed on your computer. If that is the case, then simply use the following instruction to retrieve your product key

  • Avatar Nathaniel Mason says:

    Update, Microsoft Office 2013 no longer offers to look up with only the last 5 digits. They will only help if you have an email address or an entire product key. (*This may be relevant to other versions that will not display the entire key in the registry)

  • Avatar Bob says:

    On a Windows 7 Professionial Edition Dell laptop, the key was named HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProductID — also note that the image and verbal description do not match each in your article above, so where the verbal description says HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Win8 the image shows the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Win8

    Very good article — thanks a lot for the info…

  • You can try KeyGetter.com, pretty useful tool for this

  • Avatar John diggy says:

    Its Very informative post to activate my software, Anyway office, server, visual express product may activate using oem product key, which can be buy from WinRaz
    As I recently bought for my office h&b 2010, worked perfectly. They’ve first class customer support, so you can also get windows and other cheap and legit product keys there.

What's your take?