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Old 08-21-2015, 03:31 AM   #1
REACTOR
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Default Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

Hello, recently I have been creating an install media for my Windows 8 operating system. The specifics are:
My computer came preinstalled with Windows 8,
I chose the option to update to Windows 8.1 (Single Language),
And the install media is Windows 8.1 (Single Language).

But the problem is that for any re-installing I need my Windows product key. I have looked into ways of getting it, and so far many people have recommended third-party software.

But the problem is it's exponentially hard trying to get confirmation on whether the third-party software is safe or not.

Are there any other methods?
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

Normally there is a sticker on your computer with the key on it. Check all sides!
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamul View Post
Normally there is a sticker on your computer with the key on it. Check all sides!
That's the problem... Computers with Windows 8 don't come with stickers anymore, Microsoft's "new privacy act".
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Old 08-23-2015, 01:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

I can promise that the magical jellybean keyfinder can grab the key for you. I've used it in the past. Sorry for continuing to recommend software but it really is the best route.
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

Quote:
Originally Posted by seamonkey View Post
I can promise that the magical jellybean keyfinder can grab the key for you. I've used it in the past. Sorry for continuing to recommend software but it really is the best route.
Is it 100% safe?
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

I don't think any software is 100% safe per se. That said I've used it a couple times, and it's been sitting on my laptop for a couple years now, and I have had no problems. Small little utilities designed to automate some task are usually safe.

Alternatively if you feel comfortable using the command prompt there are several ways to do it there.
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

Quote:
Originally Posted by seamonkey View Post
I don't think any software is 100% safe per se. That said I've used it a couple times, and it's been sitting on my laptop for a couple years now, and I have had no problems. Small little utilities designed to automate some task are usually safe.

Alternatively if you feel comfortable using the command prompt there are several ways to do it there.
I would like to know the command prompt method before trying any 3rd party software. Please tell me how!
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

Well, I thought I would just use ProduKey since it seems to be the most recommended among the internet users, and I got my Windows 8.1 product key.

But something seems weird... Both Internet Explorer and the operating system have the same key?
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

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Originally Posted by REACTOR View Post
Both Internet Explorer and the operating system have the same key?
how
EDIT: ie has a key??
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

Yeah they both have a key that is the same that is stored in the registry. When I made my initial post I just googled retrieve win8 product key command prompt, and people had given positive answers so I went with it.

I have since tried these methods and while other people have gotten results, I'm getting invalid query errors. I also really don't have the time to figure out what's going on, as I've never used this utility.

But yeah. most (but not all), little utilities that claim to automate some task are usually telling the truth, and if a lot of other people are recommending em you're almost certainly good to go.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: Need Help With Trying To Find Windows 8 Product Key

A little late to the discussion but I've worked with Win8 enough over the past few years to provide a little more clarity on this:

Beginning with Windows 8 Microsoft has begun having OEMs storing the product key via the motherboard ROM rather than a sticker as in the past, presumably to prevent people from moving a key from one PC to another as some did in the past. By storing it on the mobo ROM it won't get wiped during a reinstall and theoretically would auto-input itself during a reinstall using a standard Win8/8.1 install disk (in reality, the system has issues and I haven't had 100% success with it personally). Obviously, the intention is that the customer should never need to actually obtain the key itself, but there's many cases where you might need to.

Internet Explorer and Windows having the same key is normal - IE has the exact same key because it's considered a base part of Windows itself. I've seen the same thing pop up when running key finding programs on 7 and Vista computers as well (can't recall off the top of my head but I think XP was slightly different since IE could actually be removed from the OS if you so wanted), it's just something with how IE is implemented into the OS. Can't think of a situation where you would need the key for anything pertaining with IE though.

Programs like the one seamonkey recommended (Jellybean) work by searching the Windows registry for the stored key - while the key itself is in the motherboard, it's also copied to Windows during installation as the OS needs it to activate and verify that the OS is genuine. Theoretically, you could pull the key manually yourself by accessing the corresponding value in the registry, but that's a much more difficult process and runs a much higher risk of damaging your machine if you accidentally modify a value you weren't supposed to. Personally, I've always used ProduKey myself when doing IT work; it's fairly lightweight and has a portable version you can run from a USB key which is ideal when you may need it on multiple machines. That said, they work in similar fashions and usually if one doesn't work, the other won't either.

The rare cases when those programs don't work is when Windows (more specifically, the registry) is corrupted - things like virus infections and programs not installing/uninstalling correctly can build up over time and corrupt the registry due to values not being changed the way they should and the like. In extreme cases, this can prevent normal OS use (I've seen countless numbers of infected PCs that had corrupted OS, preventing installation of antivirus/anti-malware programs) and sometimes mess up certain parts the registry, including that which holds the key itself. Since the above programs rely on the registry to work, a damaged/corrupted registry won't give you anything. Never seen an invalid query error cased by that personally, though I usually don't use Jellybean myself.

In the event that you desperately need the key and those programs don't work (or if you reinstall before getting it and Windows doesn't automatically obtain the key for some reason), it's still possible to obtain it by accessing the ACPI tables on the motherboard using certain programs like RW Everything, but that's something I would never recommend a user doing - if you were to do so and accidentally modify something you could very easily brick the whole PC. Even I've only ever resorted to that method twice in my career.

Windows 8/8.1 retail keys bought from a store, on the other hand, will usually have a sticker included, but that's because if you're manually installing Windows 8 for the first time, you normally won't have a key preinstalled on the board and thus would need to enter it manually when installing.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicchaos1993 View Post
A little late to the discussion but I've worked with Win8 enough over the past few years to provide a little more clarity on this:

Beginning with Windows 8 Microsoft has begun having OEMs storing the product key via the motherboard ROM rather than a sticker as in the past, presumably to prevent people from moving a key from one PC to another as some did in the past. By storing it on the mobo ROM it won't get wiped during a reinstall and theoretically would auto-input itself during a reinstall using a standard Win8/8.1 install disk (in reality, the system has issues and I haven't had 100% success with it personally). Obviously, the intention is that the customer should never need to actually obtain the key itself, but there's many cases where you might need to.

Internet Explorer and Windows having the same key is normal - IE has the exact same key because it's considered a base part of Windows itself. I've seen the same thing pop up when running key finding programs on 7 and Vista computers as well (can't recall off the top of my head but I think XP was slightly different since IE could actually be removed from the OS if you so wanted), it's just something with how IE is implemented into the OS. Can't think of a situation where you would need the key for anything pertaining with IE though.

Programs like the one seamonkey recommended (Jellybean) work by searching the Windows registry for the stored key - while the key itself is in the motherboard, it's also copied to Windows during installation as the OS needs it to activate and verify that the OS is genuine. Theoretically, you could pull the key manually yourself by accessing the corresponding value in the registry, but that's a much more difficult process and runs a much higher risk of damaging your machine if you accidentally modify a value you weren't supposed to. Personally, I've always used ProduKey myself when doing IT work; it's fairly lightweight and has a portable version you can run from a USB key which is ideal when you may need it on multiple machines. That said, they work in similar fashions and usually if one doesn't work, the other won't either.

The rare cases when those programs don't work is when Windows (more specifically, the registry) is corrupted - things like virus infections and programs not installing/uninstalling correctly can build up over time and corrupt the registry due to values not being changed the way they should and the like. In extreme cases, this can prevent normal OS use (I've seen countless numbers of infected PCs that had corrupted OS, preventing installation of antivirus/anti-malware programs) and sometimes mess up certain parts the registry, including that which holds the key itself. Since the above programs rely on the registry to work, a damaged/corrupted registry won't give you anything. Never seen an invalid query error cased by that personally, though I usually don't use Jellybean myself.

In the event that you desperately need the key and those programs don't work (or if you reinstall before getting it and Windows doesn't automatically obtain the key for some reason), it's still possible to obtain it by accessing the ACPI tables on the motherboard using certain programs like RW Everything, but that's something I would never recommend a user doing - if you were to do so and accidentally modify something you could very easily brick the whole PC. Even I've only ever resorted to that method twice in my career.

Windows 8/8.1 retail keys bought from a store, on the other hand, will usually have a sticker included, but that's because if you're manually installing Windows 8 for the first time, you normally won't have a key preinstalled on the board and thus would need to enter it manually when installing.
Thanks for the insight Sonicchaos, I will keep that in mind.
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