Need to find ACTUAL Windows 11 product key for clean install


Mark Phelps

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431
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
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 22631.2861
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    homebuilt
    CPU
    Amd Threadripper 7970X
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte TRX50 Aero D
    Memory
    128GB (4 X 32) Kingston DDR5 5200 (RDIMM)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte RTX 4090 OC
    Sound Card
    none (USB to speakers), Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Philips 27E1N8900 OLED
    Screen Resolution
    3840 X 2160 @ 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Crucial T700 2TB M.2 NVME SSD
    WD 4TB Blue SATA SSD
    Seagate 18TB IronWolf Pro
    PSU
    eVGA SuperNOVA 1600 GT
    Case
    Lian Li 011 Dynamic Evo XL
    Cooling
    Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 360, with 3 Phanteks T30 fans
    Keyboard
    Logitech K120 (wired)
    Mouse
    Logitech M500s (wired)
    Internet Speed
    1200 Mbps
  • Operating System
    windows 11 22631.2861
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    homebuilt
    CPU
    Intel I9-13900K
    Motherboard
    Asus RoG Strix Z690-E
    Memory
    64GB G.Skill DDR5-6000
    Graphics card(s)
    Gigabyte RTX 3090 ti
    Sound Card
    built in Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Asus PA329C
    Screen Resolution
    3840 X 2160 @60Hz
    Hard Drives
    WDC SN850 1TB
    8 TB Seagate Ironwolf
    4TB Seagate Ironwolf
    PSU
    eVGA SuperNOVA 1300 GT
    Case
    Lian Li 011 Dynamic Evo
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H150i ELITE CAPELLIX Liquid CPU Cooler
    Mouse
    Logitech M500s (wired)
    Keyboard
    Logitech K120 (wired)
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
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 Samsung EVO 870 SSD
    Internet Speed
    50 Mbps
    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. Windows Update offered the 22H2 Feature Update on 20th September 2022. It got the 23H2 Feature Update on 4th November 2023 through Windows Update.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro (and all my Hyper-V VMs).

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 8GB RAM, 256GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro RTM and Insider Beta as native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro, plus the Insider Beta, Dev, and Canary builds as a native boot .vhdx.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    Intel® Core™ i5-520M
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    (integrated graphics) Intel HD Graphics
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB Crucial MX500 SSD
    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. In-place upgrade to 22H2 using ISO and a workaround. Feature Update to 23H2 by manually installing the Enablement Package. Also running Insider Beta, Dev, and Canary builds as a native boot .vhdx.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro (and all my Hyper-V VMs).

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 8GB RAM, 256GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro RTM and Insider Beta as native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro, plus the Insider Beta, Dev, and Canary builds as a native boot .vhdx.
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!
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?
To find out your Windows Product key that's injected in your computer's motherboard:

Download the latest portable version of RWEverything and launch it as admin

Click on ACCESS > ACPI Tables

Then go to the MSDM Tab:

e6OG3UV.png
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware m16 R1
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX
    Motherboard
    Alienware
    Memory
    SK Hynix 64 GB 5200 MHz DDR5 RAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    16" QHD+ (2560 x 1600) 240Hz, 3ms 300-nits Screen + 34" Samsung Odyssey OLED G8 2K WQHD (3440 x 1440) Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    QHD (2560x 1440)
    Hard Drives
    2x Samsung 990 PRO 4TB SSDs + WD_BLACK SN770M 2TB SSD
    PSU
    330W AC Power Adapter
    Cooling
    Noctua NT-H2 + Fujipoly Extreme Thermal Pads
    Keyboard
    Alienware CherryMX mechanical keyboard (Laptop) + AW510K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (external)
    Mouse
    Alienware Tri-Mode Wireless Gaming Mouse AW720M
    Internet Speed
    1 GBPS Down / 350 MBPS Up
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Avast Antivirus
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 15 9500
    CPU
    Intel i7-10875H
    Memory
    Kingston FURY Impact 64 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM
    Graphics card(s)
    nVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q w/ 4 GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6 UHD+ Touch, InfinityEdge, 500-nits, Anti-Reflecitve
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2400
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 PRO 2TB + 4TB SSDs
    PSU
    Dell 130W Laptop Charger USB C Type C AC Adapter
    Cooling
    Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste on CPU + GPU
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Anywhere 3
    Internet Speed
    1 GBPS Down / 350 MBPS Up
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Avast Free Antivirus
Y'all do realize the last post in this thread was 3 months ago, right? And the OP, Mark Phelps never made a single reply in it.
 

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!
An option for reading Windows is the free Belarc Advisor, gives in the Software Licenses section.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro RTM
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 3400
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 11th Gen. 2.40GHz
    Memory
    12GB
    Hard Drives
    256GB SSD NVMe
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro RTM x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 5890
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 10th Gen. 2.90GHz
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Onboard, no VGA, using a DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter
    Monitor(s) Displays
    24" Dell
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD NVMe, 2TB WDC HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender/Microsoft Security

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