Windows 8 was released as a successor to Windows 7 and was supposed to be an operating system for touch devices. However, Windows 8 was not received well as it made major changes to the UI and was difficult for people to adapt. However, Windows 8.1 was released soon after that that provided a more familiar UI. Finally, with the released of Windows 10, Microsoft moved from the product to a service model where Windows will receive two feature updates in a year with minor changes.
If you have a PC running Windows 8, then you already qualify for a Windows 10 upgrade. Moreover, if you have a Windows 8 product key, then too, you can own a genuine copy of Windows 10. Here’s a guide on how you can get a Windows 8 Product key.
Finding the Windows 8 Product Key
With Windows 8 onwards, Microsoft started moving to the digital license. The digital license is a substitute for the product key and is used for copies of Windows 8 where the operating system is pre-installed on a device.
During the release of Windows 8, a lot of device manufacturers transitioned from BIOS to UEFI that provided faster startup and better security. In these cases, the license is embedded in the device firmware and there is no separate product key. However, if you purchased Windows 8 separately, then you should have a product key. A Windows 8 Product Key looks like this.
PRODUCT KEY: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
It has 25 characters, separated by dashes. Where you will find the product key depends on how you have acquired your copy of Windows 8. Here are some places from where you may have purchased your copy of Windows:
- From an authorized reseller, or an online store: If you purchased a physical copy of a Windows 8 Product Key, then you will get the key in form of a card. Alternatively, if you got a DVD or a flash drive as a Windows installation media, then the packaging will have the Windows 8 Product Key.
- A digital copy from the Microsoft store: If you bought it directly from Microsoft, then you will get the product key in your email. If you lost the email, you can check your purchase history to recover the key.
- With a PC running Windows 8: If your PC already comes with an activated copy of Windows 8, then the device uses a digital license and not a product key. If you want to view the product key that can be used to activate Windows 8 on your PC, then you can do the following.
Open a command prompt with administrative privileges and paste the following command
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
Press Enter. You will see your product key on the following line if it uses a product key for activation. Systems that use volume licensing for product activation will not have any such product keys available.
Using a generic Windows 8 Product Key for Installation
If you have Windows 8 installation media, you can use Windows 8 Product Key to install that and then use Windows Update to upgrade to Windows 10. Here are some generic keys for Windows 8. Generic Windows 8 Product Keys will allow you to perform an install and will give you a grace period to activate Windows using a working key. Here are some of the keys that you can use.
- Windows 8 Home FB4WR-32NVD-4RW79-XQFWH-CYQG3
- Windows 8 Professional NG4HW-VH26C-733KW-K6F98-J8CK4
- Windows 8 Professional N XCVCF-2NXM9-723PB-MHCB7-2RYQQ
- Windows 8 Professional ARM 6D4CN-WMGRW-DG8M6-XX8W9-3RPT8
- Windows 8 Enterprise 32JNW-9KQ84-P47T8-D8GGY-CWCK7
- Windows 8 Enterprise N JMNMF-RHW7P-DMY6X-RF3DR-X2BQT
Once you have installed Windows 8 using the product keys listed above, you will get the Windows 10 upgrade. On Windows 10, you can activate Windows 10 using the settings app. If you have a digital license for Windows 8, it will automatically be migrated to Windows 10. You can use the Windows 8 Product Key for activating Windows 10 directly too.
These product keys are quite useful if your installation media did not provide an option to select the edition and you want to install a specific version of Windows 8. Moreover, they are also a good option for Windows 8 setups that ask for keys prior to installation and does not allow you to install without a key in the first place.