Article ID: 811224 - View products that this article applies to.
This article describes how to identify, locate, and replace a product key. A product key is a unique combination of numbers and letters that is used during Microsoft software installation to "unlock" or open the product. If you do not enter the product key when you are prompted during the installation, the product may not open until you enter the product key.
Note A product key is not a product ID (PID) number. A PID is created after a product is successfully installed. PIDs are used by Microsoft Customer Service to help identify the product when customers call in for support.
How to identify the product keyMicrosoft product keys contain 25 characters that are typically divided into groups of 5.
Where to locate the product keyThe product key is typically located on an orange or yellow sticker on the back of the CD case or the DVD case. If the Windows operating system that you are using was preinstalled by your computer manufacturer, you may find the Windows product key sticker on the computer.
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Make sure that you store the product key together with the product CD or DVD in a safe location in case you have to reinstall the product in the future. The product cannot be reinstalled without both the product key and the CD or DVD.
Product keys are specific to their software products. For example, you cannot use a Windows product key to unlock a Microsoft Office product.
How to obtain a replacement product keyIf the software came preinstalled on your computer, please contact the manufacturer of your computer to obtain a replacement product key.
To replace a Microsoft product ke for a product you purchased separately from your computer, you must contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support. To locate the appropriate telephone number, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Contact MicrosoftNote When you contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support for a replacement product key, you may have to pay a fee. You may also have to provide information from your computer or from the product CD or DVD when you are speaking to the customer service representative.
For more information about how to obtain a product key, visit the following Microsoft Websites:
Where do I find my Windows product key?
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/823570/ )How to replace a lost or damaged Microsoft Office product key
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2279109/ )How to locate your product key or obtain a new product key for Office for Mac
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973457/ )How to obtain a new product key for Microsoft Games for Windows, Streets &Trips, or MapPoint