How to See the Product Key in Vista
The product key number is a sequence of 25 letters and numbers. The number is divided into 5 groups of 5 characters each. During Vista installation, you must enter the product key number to activate Vista.
This will show you how to find the product key number from a Windows sticker, or if you lost the product key and need to get it from within your installed Vista.
- If you reinstalled Vista or did not activate or type in the product key number after you installed Vista the first time, then the program in this tutorial will not be able to show you the number from within Vista since you did not enter it.
- A Express or Retail Vista can be installed on any one computer at a time for as many times as you like. A OEM Vista may only be able to be installed on the exact same computer as many times as you like. The product key number for the Vista 32 bit version is the same one for it's 64 bit version. You can only have the Product Key activated on one computer and version of 32 bit or 64 bit Vista at a time. If you had the product key activated on one computer and made some hardware changes to it (EX: Motherboard) or decided to use it on another computer, then you will have to remove it from the old computer and do a phone activation.
- You can usually find the product key on the back of a OEM desktop computer, on the bottom of a laptop computer, or on the retail installation disc holder inside the Vista package. Look for a sticker that looks like one of these below.
- For the license terms for Vista, see: Microsoft: License Terms for Software Licensed from Microsoft
You can tell if you have a OEM or Retail Vista by looking at the product key number. x
= a random number or letter
- OEM - xxxxx-oemxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
NOTE: Will also include OEM on the Vista Product Key Stickers. See examples below.
- Retail - xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
The Product ID
number displayed here in Vista is not your Product Key number.NOTE: To see this, right click Computer (in Start menu) and click on Properties; or open the Control Panel (Classic View) and click System
. Scroll to the bottom.
EXAMPLE: Windows Vista Product Key Stickers
NOTE: These are the stickers that you can usually find the Vista product key number on. It will usually be located on the back or bottom of your OEM computer, or in the package material that came with your retail Vista DVD. For more examples, see: Microsoft How to Tell: What is a Certificate of Authenticity (COA)?
Go to this link below for the program SIW System Information for Windows
(freeware version) by Topala Software Solutions, and click on the Download SIW
button at the site below. Link > SIW | System Information for Windows by Gabriel Topala 2.
Once the siw.exe
file is downloaded and saved to the desktop, click on the siw.exe icon to run it. (See screenshot below) 3.
Click on Allow
for UAC prompt. 4.
After a few seconds, you will see this window below. (See screenshot below) 5.
In the left pane, click on Licenses
to see your Windows Vista product key number under Resource Name
in the right pane.