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Does anyone know of a way to get the product key that was used to activate Windows 8?

Bonus points for an updated algorithm to extract the product key from the registry key.

While I realize this question has been asked for other versions of Windows, it looks like like many of the older activation key detection tools do not work with Windows 8. Most seem to return strings of the right form (e.g. 5 x 5 characters) but they do not match the actual product key.

UPDATE : This question was originally asked when Windows 8 was first released. It seems most of the tools now handle Win8 properly . . .

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As most of Windows 8 product keys will be digital, can't you look at the email that was sent, or this more of a placeholder question? –  Ramhound Oct 29 '12 at 21:26
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@Ramhound sure, if I have that email . . . but plenty of cases where I won't have that, e.g. working on a friend's system, lost email, system with Windows pre-installed, computer lab with dozens of systems, etc –  ernie Oct 29 '12 at 21:47
    
I have to issue a downvote because of the edit. 1) We don't need to know you edited your question 2) its not relevant the question was asked when Windows 8 was new because the answer has not changed 3) its not required to explain the when the question was asked its already protected nobody can provide a new answer anyways –  Ramhound Nov 12 '14 at 18:53
    
Fair. I was more thinking the question is no longer relevant, and no particular tools is better than any other now as they all seem to support Win8. The history was such that when Win8 was first release, many did not support the new key algorithm. Arguably the question is offtopic as a product recommendation now . . . –  ernie Nov 12 '14 at 19:04
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It's not off topic and still relevant to anyone with an OEM machine with 8.0 still installed –  Ramhound Nov 12 '14 at 19:33

6 Answers 6

A utility has been released over at mydigitallife.info for this purpose

Windows 8 Product Key Viewer works for both version of Windows as 32-bit and 64-bit and it can

Decodes Windows Product Keys.
Decodes product keys with N character.

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+1 works perfectly! –  avirk Nov 28 '12 at 2:02

I have been using Nirsoft's ProduKey. It works with Windows 8.

enter image description here

ProduKey is a small utility that displays the ProductID and the CD-Key of Microsoft Office (Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office 2007), Windows (Including Windows 7 and Windows Vista), Exchange Server, and SQL Server installed on your computer.

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Recover-Keys seems to be updated to work with Windows 8. It has always been my go to Utility for recovering Product keys.

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On a test system that doesn't have a key, the demo is returning the start of a key (first 4 characters as it's a demo), which suggests it's not working. I'll try on a registered system momentarily . . . –  ernie Oct 29 '12 at 20:37
    
Even if it is unregistered, they registry key that contains it still has information contained. it just may or may not be legit information (placeholder key rather than a real one) –  Jared Tritsch Oct 29 '12 at 20:38
    
Looks like that may be the case, as Windows is reporting info for the current product key as well on a system that hasn't been activated. Recover-Kyes demo was able to determine the first 4 characters on an activated system. I'm going to leave this open for a bit to see if there are any other options (ideally free), and if anyone has a link to an updated algorithm. –  ernie Oct 29 '12 at 20:43

Yes there is another program SterJo Key Finder not only for Windows 8, but also can recover the new Office 2013 key

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The free OEM Product Key Tool from NeoSmart Technologies is probably the most straight-forward way of doing this. Just run the standalone exe and it'll come up in the main dialog like this:

NeoSmart product key tool

Unlike other tools, it pulls the key from the ACPI tables, meaning it'll get the embedded Windows 8 product key even if Windows has been formatted.

Disclosure: I'm the author of this tool

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If I installed windows 8 (which used the embedded key from the ACPI tables) and upgraded to Pro using a different key, which key will this tool report? –  ernie Feb 19 at 17:30
    
The key embedded in the BIOS does not change, so it should report the first one. –  Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Feb 19 at 20:28
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The freeware Magical Jelly Bean has also been updated to handle Windows 8 keys

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protected by slhck Aug 24 '13 at 16:12

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