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Is it safe that everybody can see the Windows product ID? What is my CD key given the product ID?

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  • Is it the same number which is usually printed on a sticker on the pc? – Federico Poloni Mar 7 '15 at 14:36
  • No. On a sticker there is a Product Key (its format is XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX). You use it during Windows installation. – Xdg Mar 8 '15 at 9:23
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Product ID and Product Key are two different things and they have nothing to do with each other. Product ID created upon Windows installation and used for technical support purposes only. It has absolutely nothing similar with a key used for activation.

You can't get activation key if you know Product ID and yes it's safe for other people to see it.

  • So what about the product key? :) – Robert Niestroj Mar 7 '15 at 15:35
  • 1
    Product Key's format is XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX. You use it during Windows installation. – Xdg Mar 8 '15 at 9:23
  • @Kdg it's a different thing indeed, but the product key can also be obtained in some cases. – Bruno Mar 8 '15 at 17:45
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The simple answer is that these are two distinctly different things. This Microsoft KB describes what's happening -

A PID is created after a product is successfully installed. PIDs are used by Microsoft Customer Service to help identify the product when customers engage Microsoft for support. A Product key is a unique combination of numbers and letters that is used during Microsoft software installation to "unlock" or open the product. If you do not enter the product key when you are prompted during the installation, the product may not open until you enter the product key.

Bolding mine.

Essentially, the Product ID can be tied to hardware, whereas a Product key is tied to software.

It is important to note that PID isn't used only for PCs with Windows OS, but also for mobile devices, gaming consoles, peripherals, etc.

  • The product Id basically tells the support team what your hardware configuration is. – Cole Johnson Mar 9 '15 at 6:18

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