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I have seen other SuperUser questions on this topic: How to find Windows 8 product key? | How to find Windows 8 OEM product key? However, all of the answers assume you have Windows 8 running.

I've already done a clean install of Ubuntu 13.04 on my new laptop, and I'm trying to set up a VM environment for those occasional programs that just absolutely refuse to run even with Wine.

I saw this image on another answer: http://i.stack.imgur.com/v14oN.jpg

So it appears that the key should somehow be available via ACPI. However, I've tried ls /proc/acpi and that turns up nothing useful as far as I can see, and acpitool isn't helping me at all.

How the heck can I get the product key out?

EDIT: I have tried running RW-Everything via Wine (the pictured program), but it is unable to 'install its driver'. So no dice there.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I found it! I needed to do this:

ls /sys/firmware/acpi/tables

Which gave me the MSDM table I was looking for.
I have found my license key! :D

Here's an example output:

riking@hp-laptop:~$ sudo hd /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM
00000000  4d 53 44 4d 55 00 00 00  03 13 48 50 51 4f 45 4d  |MSDMU.....HPQOEM|
00000010  53 4c 49 43 2d 4d 50 43  01 00 00 00 48 50 20 20  |SLIC-MPC....HP  |
00000020  00 00 04 00 01 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00  |................|
00000030  00 00 00 00 1d 00 00 00  ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **  |........*****-**|
00000040  ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **  ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **  |***-*****-*****-|
00000050  ** ** ** ** **                                    |*****|
00000055

The *** are the contents of the license key, in ASCII text.

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Quite interesting. But is this key actually usable? I believe there's more to embedded licenses than the actual key. –  Daniel B Feb 18 at 0:13
    
@DanielB All you need to do is call MS and confirm that you are, in fact, installing Windows on the same computer as the one you were sold. –  Riking Apr 19 at 7:03

Using Fedora I have tried with:

sudo cat /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM

Which gave me the following results:

MSDMUoDELL  QA09   LOHR#####-#####-#####-#####-#####%  

The product key was replaced with #.

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I had the same problem and successfully extracted the key with this method, which only works for UEFI systems.

However, when you just want to reinstall your system which came with Windows preinstalled, it is only necessary to get an installation image (Microsoft makes it hard enough for some reason), circumvent the pesky key check with a generic OEM key depending on the version you want to install, and when the install is finished, Windows will pick up your key from the EFI BIOS and activate automatically (!).

Just reinstalled Windows 8 on my laptop's new SSD using a Windows 8.1 ISO I got, and it worked.

see http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/microsoft-product-activation/installation-of-windows-8-1-with-a-windows-8-0-retail-product-key-notes/

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