Need to find ACTUAL Windows 11 product key for clean install


Mark Phelps

Active member
Member
VIP
Local time
11:54 PM
Posts
183
OS
Windows 11
Before anyone tells me otherwise -- yes, I know that (1) I don't need a product key and (2) Windows will automatically re-activate once the clean install is done and I reconnect to the Internet...

Problem is, I went through this last November and BOTH of these proved untrue. Windows did NOT reactivate, despite my having a Retail license (which I confirmed using the slmgr command) and I had to resort to calling MS to get it fixed. They had me hunt down an old Win7 Retail Pack and use the product key from that -- because I upgraded to Win11 from Win10, and to Win10 from Win7.

And yes, I know I could do that again -- but I'm looking for a way to find the ACTUAL product key on my PC, not the GENERIC key that all the commands and ShowKeyPlus present.

Can anyone help?
 
Windows Build/Version
22000.675 Pro 64-bit Retail

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom built
    CPU
    Ryzen 5600X
    Motherboard
    ASRock Steel Legend
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GT 710
    Sound Card
    None
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23",24", 19" - flat panels
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1200
    Hard Drives
    None - only M.2 SATA and NVMe drives
    PSU
    750W
    Case
    Antec
    Cooling
    stock Wraith cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair gaming
    Mouse
    Logitech M720
    Internet Speed
    1Gb

bobkn

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
11:54 PM
Posts
746
Location
Danbury, CT, USA
OS
Windows 11 22000.708
As far as I know, if you have a digital license for 11 (as from an upgrade), the key is not present on your machine.

It's also inaccessible from the MS activation servers.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 22000.708
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    homebuilt
    CPU
    Intel I9-12900K
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime Z690-A
    Memory
    64GB Kingston DDR5-5600
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte RTX 3090 ti
    Sound Card
    none (USB to speakers), Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Viewsonic XG320U
    Screen Resolution
    3840 X 2160 @ 144Hz
    Hard Drives
    WB Black SN850 1TB M.2 NVME SSD
    Seagate Iron Wolf 8TB
    PSU
    eVGA SuperNOVA 1300 GT
    Case
    Corsair 5000D AIrflow
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H150i ELITE CAPELLIX Liquid CPU Cooler
    Internet Speed
    1200 Mbps
  • Operating System
    windows 11 22000.708
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    homebuilt
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5950X
    Motherboard
    Asus Tuf Gaming X570-Plus
    Memory
    64GB DDR4 3800 (@ 3600)
    Graphics card(s)
    Zotac RTX 3080
    Sound Card
    built in Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Asus PA329C
    Screen Resolution
    3840 X 2160
    Hard Drives
    Sabrent 1 TB PCI-E 4.0 X4 NVME M.2
    4 GB Seagate Ironwolf
    PSU
    eVGA SuperNOVA 850 G6
    Case
    Phanteks ENTHOO Pro M
    Cooling
    iCUE H115i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler

cereberus

Well-known member
Pro User
VIP
Local time
4:54 AM
Posts
2,028
OS
Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
Before anyone tells me otherwise -- yes, I know that (1) I don't need a product key and (2) Windows will automatically re-activate once the clean install is done and I reconnect to the Internet...

Problem is, I went through this last November and BOTH of these proved untrue. Windows did NOT reactivate, despite my having a Retail license (which I confirmed using the slmgr command) and I had to resort to calling MS to get it fixed. They had me hunt down an old Win7 Retail Pack and use the product key from that -- because I upgraded to Win11 from Win10, and to Win10 from Win7.

And yes, I know I could do that again -- but I'm looking for a way to find the ACTUAL product key on my PC, not the GENERIC key that all the commands and ShowKeyPlus present.

Can anyone help?
As @bobkn says, you do not have a Windows 10 or Windows 11 key.

You upgraded from Windows 7 so got a digital licence and a generic key - you never had a new key, so you cannot find one.
All Windows 7 upgrades to W10 worked like this.

I cannot say why you had an issue - that is rare.

All you can do is install, skip key entry, and if necessary re-enter W7 key.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0

Bree

Well-known member
Pro User
VIP
Local time
4:54 AM
Posts
2,835
Location
S/E England, UK
OS
Windows 11 Home
I upgraded to Win11 from Win10, and to Win10 from Win7.

And yes, I know I could do that again -- but I'm looking for a way to find the ACTUAL product key on my PC, not the GENERIC key that all the commands and ShowKeyPlus present.
There is no ACTUAL key. The upgrade from Win7 to Win10 would get the generic key, and a digital licence linked to the hardware ID of the PC would have been stored on the MS activation servers. The upgrade to Win11 would also keep the generic key and activate from the existing digital licence.

Problem is, I went through this last November and BOTH of these proved untrue. Windows did NOT reactivate....
There are two possible reasons for the generic key not to activate from the digital licence.

The first would be installing the wrong edition. The digital licence is for only one edition, and a digital licence for Home will not activate an install of Pro.

The second is a significant hardware change. A new motherboard will change the hardware ID sufficiently for activation to fail. Usually the Activation Troubleshooter can sort this out, made easier if you had already linked your digital licence to your MS account.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB HDD
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    i5 M 520
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

NavyLCDR

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
8:54 PM
Posts
922
OS
Windows 11
As others have stated, you are asking the impossible. You have two product keys - the Windows 7 product key, and the generic product key for the matching edition of Windows 10/11. None others.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
Top Bottom