Digital Entitlement has introduced in Windows 10 element to Microsoft’s license, which links your Windows secret to an ID generated based around your PC’s hardware. However, since your device can significantly change if you improve your equipment, this entitlement was extended to become a “Digital License” with anniversary updates in the year 2016.
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So, in the event, you have a more modern Windows PC, and you already sign in using your Microsoft account. Typically shouldn’t have a search for your original Windows 10 key. Our company will explain that in better detail shortly.
Meaning that your Windows 10 license now ties Windows keys to Microsoft accounts, allowing you to activate the same device by merely logging together with valid online credentials.
There may be other instances in which you might still wish to manually discover a Windows key stored in your UEFI/BIOS, or avoid this key from automatically being implemented during installation. Aside from that, different conditions make an application for non-OEM retail keys, along with those provided to people who upgraded to Windows 10 at no cost. And in the worst scenario, you might be attempting to find the license for a copy of Windows that does not boot.
Third-party tools that find Windows keys
We downloaded various utilities that could retrieve retail keys due to the Windows registry along with those people who are UEFI/BIOS-bound. In testing, a number of the applications also found registry and UEFI/BIOS keys, while other people only worked for one or the other:
Nirsoft ProduKey – Found both the embedded OEM key in addition to the retail key from our currently running copy of Windows. It also includes keys for several different applications, for instance, Microsoft Office and Adobe products (strangely, Internet Explorer was also covered in our results, though no key was provided). As with the other tools for this list, ProduKey can load Windows keys from external sources/drives.
Windows OEM keys vs. free upgrade vs. retail sales
The retail secret is purchased directly from Microsoft, Amazon, etc. — they can be transferred to a different machine understanding that process should happen automatically to obtain a digital license, though you can even “uninstall” a Windows key from a given PC.
OEM keys are shipped along with a specific computer and can’t be transferred to a different machine. Again, these should be auto-applied using your UEFI/BIOS when reinstalling Windows on any modern boxed PC; even so, you can also retrieve them manually.
Those that upgraded to Windows 10 at no cost from Windows 7 and 8 haven’t got a unique Windows 10 key. This can be transferred to one other machine (not if you upgraded in an OEM key). Free upgrade licenses certainly are a digital entitlement.
If you cannot boot into Windows and hope to retrieve that key, it’s possible to still access this data in an external environment, for example, a Windows To Go drive, or by attaching your non-booting Windows drive to another machine.
Observe that in case you are recovering the main element typically from Windows To visit workspace, the non-booting drive in your Windows key’s offline by operation of law and shall need to be approved in Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc). Make the right-click the drive and set it as “online.” As stated above, a number of the third-party tools that we already listed will allow you to load the registry hive file from another Windows installation.