Want to know how to find your Windows Product ID? I won’t tell you right away. Keep reading and I’ll clear up some common misconceptions that you might not know you have.
Recently I dove into the topic of how to discern what installation media was used to install Windows. It’s possible to find that information out using the Product ID number. The search engine results for anything Windows Product ID related were disconcerting. There is a lot of confusion around what the Product ID is. Before I show you how to find the Product ID, let me tell you what it is and what it isn’t.
What the Windows Product ID is Not
The Windows Product ID is not your Product Key (also known as your License Key). The Product ID is not the code that you type in to install Windows. A Product / License Key looks like the following:
That’s five sets of five numbers separated by dashes. To reiterate, the Product ID is not the above number. The above number is the Product Key (aka License Key).
What the Windows Product ID Is
The Windows Product ID is a 20-character number that follows this form:
That’s a five digit number, followed by a three digit number, followed by a seven digit number and finally a five digit number. The Product ID is a number that is generated based on the Product Key (the thing that you pay money for and can install Windows with). The Product ID is then combined with a “Hardware ID” that is generated based on the types of hardware that you have in your PC. Those two things combine to form the Installation ID. When you activate Windows, the Installation ID is associated with the Product ID.
What the Windows Product ID is Good For
Apart from being an internal number that Microsoft uses to make sure your copy of Windows is genuine, it does have a few surprising uses. You can determine what installation media was used to install Windows from it. You can also figure things out like the Microsoft Product Code (MPC) for the installation which tells you the locale and even if it was an upgrade or not.
How to Find Your Windows Product ID
Finally we come to what you probably wanted to see all along. How to find the Windows Product ID. Ultimately it’s located at the following registry key:
reg query "HKLMsoftwaremicrosoftwindows ntcurrentversion" /v ProductId
Notice that you must use quotes since there is a space in the key’s name and you have to run the command in an elevated command prompt. When you have your Product ID, you can then do some interesting things with it like learn what media your installation came from and if it was an upgrade or not.
Aside from that, the Product ID will probably never be something that you have to write down or keep track of.