If you have bought a PC that shipped with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system preinstalled you may have noticed that it did not ship with a product key label that your previous PCs shipped with. The reason for this is that manufacturers have started to embed the product key of the operating system in the BIOS of the system instead. While it is no longer necessary to enter the product key during re-installations of the operating system on the same computer system, it may cause issues at times under certain circumstances.
One scenario where this is working against the user is the following: say you bought a PC with Windows 8, the standard version of the operating system. If you now try to install Windows 8 Pro on the PC you will run into issues as the original Windows 8 product key is used automatically during installation.
While there are ways around this, for instance by entering the new product key in the system control panel after clicking on "Get more features with a new edition of Windows", it does not resolve other situations where you may need the product key.
Several applications are capable of displaying the Windows 8 product key even if it is stored in the Bios of the system. Belarc Advisor can reveal the product key no matter where it is stored, but if you are looking for a straightforward simple program to do so, I suggest you check out the Windows 8 Product Key viewer that is available for download at the My Digital Life forum.
To use the program, simply run it after you have unpacked it on your system. You may need to select the MSDN key option first before it becomes visible though. Note that the program works under all recent versions of Windows, not only under Windows 8. You can click on the copy button next to the product key to copy it to the clipboard.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.