Where is your Windows 7 Product Key, Dude?
Upgrading from Windows 7 is not only time consuming; it can be costly if you can’t find your original registry key. But never fear we’ve got a quick guide on how to locate a Windows 7 product key.
If you’re lucky there should still be a sticker somewhere on the case of the desktop or laptop, if it's a laptop it is sometimes under the battery. It’ll look something like this:
If you can’t locate it on the outside of the computer it could have been packaged in the documentation with the computer, sometimes on a card or on the back of a manual, but it’ll look similar to the example on the left.
What you are looking for is a string of five sets of five alpha numeric entries. It should be formatted something like this:
This is your product key, and with it you should be able to follow the usual steps to upgrade to Windows 10.
But what about those of us who home built their computers, did spring cleaning early this year, or just plain threw away their copies of Windows 7 documentation and disks because, “I can just download this straight from Windows if I need it again?” There are still a few different ways to get a hold of your product key*.
If you are uncomfortable with using a third-party program to do the dirty work and have no issues using Windows PowerShell, you can use it to retrieve your product key. Just be sure you’ve upgraded PowerShell to the newest version first. To retrieve your key, simply do the following:
- Go to the Windows Start Button and open the menu, and find your PowerShell program, or search for it in the start menu.
- Copy and paste or type in:
- (Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
- Hit enter and write down the product key.
Not a PowerShell User?
This next section is for you.
If you want to use an outside resource to retrieve your product key, there are two options below. At the time of this blog, these programs are free and we have tested them to ensure they do what they say they will. However, as always, we advise you to do your homework before downloading any program and make sure it is right for you.
You might consider this program overkill for what you are trying to accomplish, but it has a ton of great information that might help you later on. For now, it accomplishes the main goal of retrieving your product key.
In order to download the Advisor, you’ll need to provide your e-mail address and your first name.
The program downloads in a small package and after a few minutes it will give you a detailed amount of information on your computer including the product key.
This is a bare bones program from NirSoft, but it does exactly what it says it does and that’s about it, no hassles and no problems.
The program come in a zipped file or a version that has an installer. Download the one you prefer and send it to the directory you want and run the application file and that’s it.
There are other applications floating around that do this same process, but charge a fee. So while they may be more polished programs and look great, ultimately some of them cost as much as a new key for Windows 10, and that defeats the purpose of trying to upgrade for free.
*If you have a volume license key many of the programs to retrieve your key will not work. Usually this will not be an issue for the average user.