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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 27 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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1  
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
    
Or more simply: sudo hexdump -s 56 -e '"MSDM key: " /29 "%s\n"' /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM –  david6 Dec 15 at 22:34
1  
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 (!). Tesed on my own system with a Windows 8.1 reinstall. –  Gregor Dec 16 at 12:42

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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Yup, that works too - I put hd in my answer because it displays the binary data too, so you have a clearer separation of where it starts. –  Riking Sep 26 at 8:32
    
For legibility: sudo cat /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM | strings –  Aaron J Lang Nov 24 at 18:00

I couldn't find /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM on my ASUS T100TA running Ubuntu 13.10 amd64, but I found a packaged called acpidump quite useful. Running acpidump as root I was able to get the MSDM table contents.

$ sudo acpidump
...
MSDM @ 0x78d53f90
  0000: 4d 53 44 4d 55 00 00 00 03 6c 5f 41 53 55 53 5f  MSDMU....l_ASUS_
  0010: 4e 6f 74 65 62 6f 6f 6b 00 00 00 00 41 53 55 53  Notebook....ASUS
  0020: 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00  ................
  0030: 00 00 00 00 1d 00 00 00 ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **  ........*****-**
  0040: ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **  ***-*****-*****-
  0050: ** ** ** ** **                                   *****
...
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1  
Hm - two things. (1) why are you on 13.10, it's september 2014. And (2) - does the folder /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/ exist? Possible that you have something mounting it somewhere else (or not at all). –  Riking Sep 14 at 5:36
    
@Riking, it does exist but the only file in that directory is DSDT. At the time I setup the device 13.10 was the latest version of Ubuntu available. It was rather complicated to get 64-bit Linux running with 32-bit UEFI so I didn't spend time to upgrade it. I really never use the device anyway and thought it might be nice to put Windows 8 back on it for others to use. –  Eric Sep 14 at 6:47

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