Locate the Windows 8 Product Key
In previous version of Windows it was easy to locate the Windows product key. When Windows 8 was released, for security reasons the product key was no longer located on a sticker attached to the computer or easy to find in Windows.
The Windows product key and the Windows product ID are two different things.
The Windows product key is a 25 character identification to verify the ownership of the Windows license required to install and activate Windows.
The Windows product ID is a 25 character identification that is created during the installation of Windows. You can locate the product ID by opening Control Panel > System. The ID will be located at the bottom of the system information windows. The product ID is used to verify the system when requesting technical support from Microsoft.
Locate the Windows 8 Product Key in Download Documentation or When Purchasing a Retail Copy of Windows 8
If you purchase and download Windows 8 online you will receive an email message that contains the details of your order including your product key. You will want to save this email message and also print a copy for your records and keep it in a safe place. If you ever need to reinstall Windows you will need the Product Key during the installation process.
If you purchase a retail copy of Windows 8 the package will include a setup disc and a card containing your Product Key. You will also want to keep this in a safe place. I would recommend you make a copy of the card containing the product key and also document that information and save it as a file on your computer. Be sure to include that file when backing up your computer.
Locate the Windows Product Key Using a Third Party Program
There are also programs that you can download and install that will locate the Windows Product Key and other Microsoft Product Keys.
MagicJellybean Key Finder
The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry. It also has a community-updated configuration file that retrieves product keys for many other applications. Another feature is the ability to retrieve product keys from unbootable Windows installations.
The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, network inventory, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, security benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser.
ProduKey is a small utility that displays the ProductID and the CD-Key of Microsoft Office (Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office 2007), Windows (Including Windows 7 and Windows Vista), Exchange Server, and SQL Server installed on your computer. You can view this information for your current running operating system, or for another operating system/computer - by using command-line options. This utility can be useful if you lost the product key of your Windows/Office, and you want to reinstall it on your computer.