Key for windows: Find your Windows product key

Find your Windows product key

Activation Overview

  • Activate Windows

  • How to find my Windows product key?

Install and Upgrades

  • How to install with a product key

  • Upgrade Windows Home to Windows Pro

Activation Troubleshooting

  • Reactivating after a hardware change

  • Why can’t I activate Windows?

  • Get help with Windows activation errors

  • Using the Activation troubleshooter

Windows 11 Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 7 Microsoft account dashboard More…Less

A Windows product key is a 25-character code used to activate Windows. It looks like this:

Locate your product key for Windows 10 or Windows 11

Depending on how you got your copy of Windows 10 or Windows 11, you’ll need either a 25-character product key or a digital license to activate it. A digital license (called a digital entitlement in Windows 10, Version 1511) is a method of activation in Windows 10 and Windows 11 that doesn’t require you to enter a product key. Without one of these, you won’t be able to activate your device.

Where to find your product key depends on how you got your copy of Windows.

Select any of the following to see more information:

The product key is preinstalled on your PC, included with the packaging the PC came in, or included on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the PC. For more info, contact your hardware manufacturer, and for pictures of authentic product keys and COA labels, see How to tell your hardware is genuine.

The product key is on a label or card inside the box that Windows came in. For more info, contact the retailer that sold you Windows 10 or Windows 11. How to tell your software is genuine.

Find your product key in the confirmation email you received after buying Windows 10 or Windows 11 in a digital locker accessible through the retailer’s website.

The product key is in the confirmation email you received after buying your digital copy of Windows. Microsoft only keeps a record of product keys if you purchased from the Microsoft online store. You can find out if you purchased from Microsoft in your Microsoft account Order history.

If you upgraded to Windows 10 for free from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you should have a digital license instead of a product key.

If you bought Windows 10 or Windows 11 Pro upgrade in the Microsoft Store app, you’ll receive a digital license instead of a product key in the confirmation email that was sent to confirm the purchase. That email address (MSA) will contain the digital license. You can use the digital license for activation.

For more information about digital licenses and product keys in Windows 10 and Windows 11, see the “Methods of Activation” section in Activate Windows.

Your product key is available through the web portal for your program.  For more information, see Volume Activation for Windows 10.

Locate your product key for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

A product key is usually required when uninstalling or reinstalling Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Generally, if you bought a physical copy of Windows, the product key should be on a label or card inside the box that Windows came in. If Windows came preinstalled on your PC, the product key should appear on a sticker on your device. If you’ve lost or can’t find the product key, contact the manufacturer. To ensure your product key is genuine, see How to tell your software is genuine and How to tell your hardware is genuine.

Related links

For info about how to tell if your copy of Windows is genuine Microsoft software, see the How to tell page.

For more Windows 11 download info, see Download Windows 11.

For more Windows 10 download info, see Download Windows 10.

If you need installation media to install or reinstall  Windows, see Create installation media for Windows to learn how to create your own installation media using either a USB flash drive or a DVD.

If you need more help with activation, see Activate Windows.

If you’re getting an activation error, see Get help with Windows activation errors.

If you’re reinstalling Windows, you might not need a Windows product key. See Activation in Windows for more info.

If you’re reinstalling Windows 10 or Windows 11 due to a motherboard problem or some other hardware issue, see Reactivating Windows after a hardware change.  

If you’re looking for product keys for Office, apps, games, and more, see Find your Microsoft downloads and product keys

How to Get Windows 11 or Windows 10 for Free (or Under $20)

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

You can spend thousands on components and make one of the best PC builds, but it won’t boot without an operating system. Linux is a viable option, but most prefer Windows because it runs all their favorite software, including the latest games. Installing a copy of Windows 11 or 10 for a built-from-scratch computer can be costly – if you do what Microsoft wants. The Redmond software giant charges consumers a whopping $139 for a Windows 10 or 11 Home license and $199 for Windows 10 or 11 Pro. If you spent $500 on PC parts, that would add at least a 28 percent Windows tax to your build.

This Windows tax is profoundly unfair to PC builders, because large OEMs such as Dell and Lenovo pay much lower licensing fees to put Windows on prebuilt systems (though these costs are not made public). Fortunately, there are many ways to get Windows 10 or 11 for free or for as little as $20, depending on what flavor of Windows you want, what you already have and what caveats you’re willing to accept. 

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Update (11/26): If you are interested in buying a Windows key,  Kinguin is selling a Windows 10 Pro key for just $17 if you use the coupon code KINGWIN16 at checkout. Note that a $2 service fee adds to the cost slightly.

 How to Download Windows 10 or 11 For Free 

Why you can trust Tom’s Hardware
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

No matter how or whether you pay for it, you can download Windows 10 or download Windows 11 for free from Microsoft. com. And, in fact, you should only download it from Microsoft, as grabbing it from any other site or from a P2P network could give you malware. Microsoft offers a free media creation tool, which grabs the latest code from the Internet and then burns itself to a USB Flash drive or outputs a Windows 10 or Windows 11 ISO file you can write to a drive yourself. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Once that’s done, you can boot from your installation media and start the process. During installation, Microsoft asks you to enter a Windows 10 or 11 product key. If you don’t have a key, you can skip past this step by clicking “I don’t have a product key,” but there are drawbacks to using an unactivated copy of Windows, which we’ll talk about below. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Below, we’ll also show you the different methods for saving money on Windows and compare them. If you need a product key and don’t have one available already from an existing build or copy, you’ll want to check out method 5, which involves using a low-cost key marketplace.

1.  Upgrade from a Prior Windows Version: Free 

If you already have a prior version of Windows installed on the computer and you just want a newer version of the OS on the same hardware, you can likely upgrade it for free (obviously this method doesn’t help if you are building a new PC). Windows 7 and 8 will upgrade to 10 and Windows 10 will upgrade to 11, if your computer meets Windows 11’s stringent system requirements, which include TPM 2.0 support, at least 4GB of RAM and at least 64GB of storage space (you can bypass Windows 11’s TPM and RAM requirements but we don’t recommend it). 

If you are still on Windows 7 or 8, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Whether you’re going from 7 / 8 to 10 or 10 to 11, you can upgrade either by using an install disk (created with the media creation tool) or with Windows update. 

2.  Use an Old Windows 7, 8 or 10 Key From Another PC: Free 

If you have an old, retail (non-OEM) copy of Windows 7, 8 or 10 you are no longer using on another PC, you can likely use the product key when you do a fresh install of Windows on your new PC. However, you must first make sure it’s deactivated on the old PC it came from. See our article on how to transfer a Windows 10 or 11 license to a new PC for step-by-step information on how to retrieve and move your key. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The process of transferring a Windows license varies, depending upon whether you have digital or non-digital license. With a the former, you’ll need to log into your Microsoft account to deactivate the old PC. And with the latter, you’ll want to use a command line command to terminate the activation.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Note that if the product key comes from a prebuilt computer that came from the factory with Windows on it, it has an OEM key that may not work on a different new PC. Feel free to try it, though, because if it works you have Windows 10 or 11 for free.

3.  Don’t Activate Windows 10 or 11: Free

If you don’t have a valid product key, you can opt not enter one during the install process and live with an unactivated version. The good news is that you only have two serious disadvantages from not activating Windows 10 or 11. The first is that there’s an embarrassing (if someone is looking over your shoulder) watermark on the lower right corner of the screen, which says that you’re using a non-activated copy of Windows. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The second drawback of using unactivated Windows 10 or 11 is that you can’t use personalization options such as changing the wallpaper, mouse pointer or desktop theme. However, if you are using a Microsoft account that syncs with another computer on which you have custom wallpaper, that wallpaper will appear on your unactivated Windows. 

Microsoft blocks out your personalization options if you get Windows 10 for free and don’t activate it. 

You also can’t get tech support from Microsoft should you call for help with Windows. But come on; does anyone actually do that?

Other than those inconveniences, unactivated Windows should work just fine and receive automatic updates too. We’ve known folks who used unactivated Windows for months or years without a problem, but we can’t guarantee that Microsoft won’t crack down and limit functionality further in the future.

4. Microsoft Student or Teacher Discount: Free 

If you’re in college, you may be able to get Windows 11 for free, just by being enrolled. Microsoft offers students attending certain universities and high schools the ability to get Windows 11 Education at no cost (it’s unclear if you can get Windows 10 this way anymore). Windows 11 Education is actually more full-featured than Windows 11 Home and has most of the same features as Windows 11 Pro, including BitLocker encryption, Remote Desktop and Hyper-V virtualization. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Meanwhile, teachers may be able to get Windows 11 Education for $14.99. You can see if your school is eligible and download your free Windows 11 key here.  

5.  Buy a Cheap Windows 10 or 11 Key From a Third-Party Seller: $20+ 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

If you don’t have any way to get a Windows 10 or 11 product key for free and you don’t want to live with the drawbacks of an unactivated copy of Windows, there are some third-party sellers that offer keys starting at around $20. At the time of writing, Kinguin, a popular key marketplace, was selling Windows 10 Home for as little as $20.81 or Windows 11 Home for $26.76. Windows 10 Pro started at $24.28 and Windows 11 Pro was $29.70. You might be able to get them for less with a Kinguin discount code though. These are all OEM keys and likely can’t be used on another computer after you activate them on the first one.

We recommend paying a little extra to get a key that has “online activation,” which means that it should activate automatically over the Internet. Keys that aren’t marked for “online activation” may force you to call Microsoft, wait on hold and ask a phone representative for help activating. The representative may even ask for your Microsoft account, which is not great for your privacy.

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Windows 10 / 11 Product Key Prices (Kinguin) at Press Time
Version Price (USD)
Windows 10 Home $21
Windows 10 Home (Online Activation) $26
Windows 11 Home $28
Windows 10 Pro $25
Windows 10 Pro (Online Activation) $34
Windows 11 Pro $29. 74

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. While we can’t vouch for all of them, websites selling cheap Windows 10 or 11 keys are likely offering legitimate codes. Kinguin has more than three dozen merchants worldwide selling Windows keys. Mark Jordan, Kinguin’s VP of communications, told Tom’s Hardware in 2019 that Kinguin’s merchants acquire the codes from wholesalers who have surplus copies of Windows they don’t need.

“It’s not a gray market. It would be like buying Adidas or Puma or Nike from a discounter, from TJ Maxx,” Jordan said. “There are no legal issues with buying it from us. It’s just another marketplace.”

Once you complete a purchase, you’ll be emailed a product key that you can use either during the Windows install process or to activate an unactivated copy of the operating system you already have installed. 

We’ve bought keys from Kinguin a few times. At one time, we bought a Windows 10 Home key from Kinguin to activate a copy of the OS on a newly-built PC. This was not an “online activation” version so the instructions on the product page warned that we might need to call Microsoft’s activation phone number to make the key work and, indeed, the first time we tried using the key, Windows wouldn’t accept it. So we tried calling the number and waited on hold for a few minutes. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We thought activating via phone would be an automated process where we just punched in the key and got an approval code, but instead we got a live representative who immediately asked for our Microsoft account ID. Though these are supposed to be legitimate keys and we shouldn’t get in trouble for using one, we were uncomfortable giving out personal information so we hung up and tried the key again and strangely it now worked. 

Another time, we paid a few dollars more for an online activation key. Lo and behold, it activated as soon as we entered the code, with no phone call required. 

Are you likely to be ripped off? According to Jordan, Kinguin’s merchants have sold “several hundred thousand” keys and are not one-time sellers posting listings for codes they don’t want. As part of its fraud protection, a Kinguin employee randomly buys a key “every now and then” to make sure they’re legitimate, he said. Jordan added that it’s rare for a customer to get a key that’s been resold, but if they did, customer support would help them get a new one for free.

“If there’s ever a problem with a key being already activated or something like that, our customer support team helps you get a new key… And that merchant would be in deep trouble, so they are very careful with it,” Jordan said. 

If you’re not comfortable with buying from a key marketplace like Kinguin, you might think you’d be better off buying a slightly-discounted boxed or downloadable copy of Windows from Amazon or Newegg. However, both sites play host to a number of third-party sellers whose product keys may or may not be legit. 

At first glance, it looks like you can get Windows 10 Home for as little as $98 on a USB Flash drive from Amazon. However, if you look at the seller’s name, you might notice that it’s not Microsoft or Amazon but a third-party named UNILOVO and there are several complaints in the user reviews about the key not working. You can find Windows 11 Home on a Flash drive for $139 on Amazon and Microsoft is listed as the seller so that’s probably legit, but no cheaper than what charges.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

7.  Buy Windows from Microsoft: $139 – $199

The easiest but most expensive way to get Windows is to buy your key directly from You can get Windows 10 Home or Windows 11 Home for $139. And you can get Windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro for $199. You can get these either as downloads or on USB drives. 

What’s the Best Way to Get Windows 10 or 11? 

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Header Cell – Column 0 Upgrade From Windows 7, 8 or 10 Don’t Activate Windows Student Discount Buy a Cheap Key From a Third Party Buy a Key From Microsoft
Price Free Free Free (Windows 10 Education) $18+ Home: $139, Pro: $199
Pros Access to all personalization options; Microsoft support access; Free Free Access to all personalization options; Microsoft support access; Equivalent to Windows 10 Enterprise; Free Access to all personalization options; Microsoft support access Access to all personalization options; Microsoft support access; Refunds
Cons None Desktop watermark; Personalization options restricted; Can’t use Microsoft support You have to be enrolled in an eligible school There’s a chance your key won’t work, and you’ll need to get customer service Expensive

If you have an old Windows key you can carry over from a previous build, that’s your best option and effectively gives you Windows 10 or Windows 11 for free. If you don’t have a key on hand, you need to decide whether you’re comfortable using an unactivated version of Windows 10 or 11, which limits your customization options, has an ugly watermark and leaves you ineligible for Microsoft support. 

Many would argue that downloading Windows without paying for or already owning a product key is ethically wrong. That said, Microsoft has made this process easier over various Windows iterations and lessened the limitations and nagging that happens when you don’t activate. The company isn’t trying to close this loophole, probably because it’s more interested in driving user numbers. We’ve even seen well-known vendors and Microsoft partners do press presentations with watermarks on their desktop.

If you need to buy a Windows 10 or Windows 11 key, you can save a lot with a low-cost seller such as Kinguin. We strongly recommend that you buy a key with online activation so you don’t have to explain yourself and give out personal info to a Microsoft operator.  

It’s hard to recommend paying MSRP for Windows 10 or 11, because Microsoft’s price is astronomically high. You can save $100 or more by buying a key from one of these third-party sites, which is money you can spend on one of the best graphics cards, one of the fastest SSDs or a few AAA games for your new PC. 

Join the experts who read Tom’s Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We’ll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.

Contact me with news and offers from other Future brandsReceive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors

Avram Piltch is Tom’s Hardware’s editor-in-chief. When he’s not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you’ll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.

What key is needed to adjust plastic windows?

In order for PVC windows to serve better and longer, they must be periodically adjusted by changing the mode of operation of the sashes – summer or winter. Adjustment can be done independently or by contacting specialists. Decided to adjust the glazing yourself? Do you know what key is needed to adjust plastic windows? We will give you the answer to this question.

Window adjustment tools

To adjust the windows yourself, you will need the following tools:

  • pliers,
  • Allen key 4mm,
  • flat and Phillips screwdriver;
  • rubber sealing scissors,
  • set of “star keys” for rebate adjustment,
  • fastener lubricator.

Adjusting PVC windows is problematic without these tools. Don’t know what hex size to use for adjusting plastic windows? We recommend a 4mm hex wrench.

When should windows be adjusted?

  • When burrowing, the sash hits the frame.
  • The sash and frame do not seal properly.
  • The lock bars are worn out.
  • In the “closed” mode, the handle of the open sash fails, the frame does not open.
  • The handle is loose and does not adhere well to the profile or is difficult to turn.

Hardware mode

Modern plastic window fasteners operate in winter and summer modes. He happens:

  • budget,
  • standard,
  • specialized.

Domestic-made budget fittings, popular in new buildings, are limited in functionality. It does not switch to another mode during the off-season.

High quality standard fasteners in high demand. It is switched to the “winter”, “summer” mode. It is produced by foreign companies.

Specialized fittings are mounted depending on the operating conditions of the window and transferred to different seasonal modes. It includes anti-burglary fasteners, reinforced, at the entrance doors.

You can find out whether the fittings are adjusted depending on the season by the presence of trunnions (eccentrics) on the side of the sash, by their shape, by the holes for the hex key, screwdriver, asterisk.

When to change the glazing mode?

When the frame starts to blow when it gets cold to 4-8°C below zero, it’s time to put it into winter mode. When the temperature rises outside in the spring, the operating mode of the windows is changed to summer. In the “winter” mode, the sealing circuit wears out a lot. If there is no need, it is better to operate the window in summer mode. When the rubber in the opening wears out, it is changed.

Who can I trust to adjust the sashes?

Many people adjust the window fasteners themselves. Without experience, this takes a lot of time. The result is not always satisfactory. By entrusting the adjustment of window fittings to an experienced craftsman, you can demand the necessary result of manipulations with the sash and count on a quick completion of the task. Specialists can correct errors made during installation, take into account the features of double-glazed windows and house walls when adjusting the sashes.

You can order window adjustment from our company. The masters of “Window Systems” have all the necessary materials and tools for window repair of any complexity. They know well how to adjust windows, and have successfully coped with this task many times.

do-it-yourself adjustment instructions

Modern PVC profile windows are designed for several decades of service, and therefore their design includes the ability to eliminate any problems that may arise over time. Moreover, both the master and the owner himself can use these opportunities.

When it comes to installing windows, the initial adjustment of the sashes is a rather complicated process. It is definitely not worth contacting him without appropriate preparation. But in general, the adjustment mechanisms are quite simple, and if you just need to press the sash more tightly or lift it so as not to scratch the frame, you can cope with these actions without any noticeable effort and special skills. The main thing is to find sensible instructions (preferably in video format) and follow it without digressions and amateur performances. And we will provide you with a detailed description of the most necessary techniques.

First, find out exactly what problem you are facing and what actions you need to take to eliminate it, and then get to work. Do not forget to arm yourself with grease, rags and a 4 mm hex wrench, which you will absolutely find, if not in the household, then in the nearest hardware store.

  1. Summer/winter switch.

    Few people know about it, and even more so, few people practice it, but twice a year the windows should be switched to summer and winter modes. The difference between them lies in the tightness of the sash to the frame. In winter, the clamp is tightened as much as possible to avoid heat loss and drafts, and in summer it is slightly loosened to increase the life of the seal and provide additional ventilation.

    Depending on the fittings used, the position and type of adjustment mechanisms may vary. But in any case, they are located along the perimeter of the sash. Turn the key (or the cylinder head itself with pliers if it does not have a hex hole) clockwise, and the sash will fit snugly against the frame. Try to tighten all mechanisms evenly.
  2. Deskew.

    If the corner of the sash farthest from the hinge sags (this happens with a large width), the window can be adjusted horizontally. The mechanism we need is located in the upper loop under the plastic casing, which will need to be removed.

    To adjust the upper hinge, the window will need to be opened, insert the key into the hole that appears and turn it clockwise. Then the lower part of the sash on the opposite side will rise by a few mm.
  3. Tight closing solution.

    The lower hinge is responsible for the vertical movement of the sash. To adjust this mechanism, it is not necessary to open the window. If the sash scratches the bottom frame, lift it up by turning the key slightly to the right.
  4. Handle turning force adjustment.

    Most often, the handle begins to turn hard when there is not enough lubrication in the hinges. Fix this problem with machine oil and a brush/cotton swab/other suitable tool. If it doesn’t help, open the sash 90 degrees, insert the key into the top or bottom hinge and turn until you get the desired result.
  5. Blowout control.

    In this case, the same actions can help as when switching windows to winter mode, that is, adjusting the fit of the sash. Perhaps you simply forgot about this action before the onset of cold weather, or the mechanism needs to be additionally tightened.
  6. Seal replacement.

    If the sashes are in the ideal position and fit as close as possible to the frame, but the window is still blown through, check the seal. It should be soft and elastic, as rubber should be. If the sealing tape has dried out and cracked, pull it out of the groove and insert a new one, securing it with sealant. To prevent this problem, apply silicone grease to the gum 1-2 times a year.
  7. Check adjustment results.

    After any action, check how easily and conveniently the window opens, the handle turns, and the sash leans back for ventilation. Ideally, this should not require any noticeable effort.

    To check how tightly the sash is attached to the frame, insert a sheet of paper between them and try to pull it out. If you followed the instructions correctly, this should not work. The same thing in cold or windy weather can be checked with a lighted match brought to the gap. The flame should not fluctuate noticeably.

Okna R provides a guarantee for both windows and their installation. If it seems to you that something is wrong with the window (it does not open or close well, the sashes do not fit snugly enough to the frame, the window looks skewed, and so on), be sure to call the master. Some people try to fix the cause of the malfunction on their own, but not everyone can cope with this task. If you are afraid to harm the window – contact the professionals, this will be the right decision.