In earlier days, Windows PC manufacturer was used to paste a sticker on computer or laptop where you could see a 25-digit product key or license key. It is a 25 digit code that is used to activate your Windows installation. When you install a fresh copy of Windows after formatting, the same key is used to activate your PC from the Microsoft server.
Nowadays, if you purchase a preinstalled Windows 10 PC, you might be wondering how to find your key. You would be unable to find the sticker on the machine, and the computer manufacturer doesn’t include one in the box. Windows PC manufacturer has started embedding product key in the BIOS, and hence there is no need for a sticker to affix on the computer or laptop. This makes it really easy if you ever want to reinstall or upgrade Windows. Windows OS will find the key from BIOS, and there is no need to type the key even when you install a fresh copy of Windows.
Still, we recommend finding and keep the key in a safe place. It is beneficial to transfer a Windows Home or Pro license to another machine if the PC’s motherboard dies.
Reasons may several, and situations may be different for you; in this post, we will guide you to recover the Windows 10 product key from BIOS using the command prompt.
How to see your Windows 10 product key with the Command Prompt?
There are several tools available over the internet to find a Windows 10 product key from the BIOS. But, those who don’t prefer to use third-party software to retrieve the product key from BIOS/UEFI can use Command Prompt. It is the easiest way to find the product key or license through the Windows Command Prompt.
Step 1. Open the Command Prompt with elevated privilege.
To do this, press the Windows logo + R keys to open the Run dialog box. Type cmd in the Run box. Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter from the keyboard to open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
Step 2. In the elevated Command Prompt window, copy and paste the following lines:-
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
Alternatively, you can run the following command in the Command Prompt terminal to retrieve the product key from BIOS/UEFI:-
powershell "(Get-WmiObject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’).OA3xOriginalProductKey"
Both of these commands attempt to read the Windows product key from the OA3 BIOS marker. That means the above commands will only show the Product key if it is embedded on BIOS and not if you built the machine yourself and installed/activated Windows.
If the product key isn’t saved to your BIOS/UEFI, the above commands will either throw an error or return an empty string. In such a case, you can use a third-party tool to get the Windows 10 Product Key.