Windows 10 requires a license to work. A Windows license can be bought and used on any system of your choice, or you can by hardware that comes with Windows 10 installed with an OEM license. The license basically comes with a Product Key that you enter in Windows 10. Generally speaking, if you have an OEM license, there is little to no need to back it up. A license that you bought separately i.e., one that isn’t associated with hardware is more likely to be lost. Regardless of what type of license you have, here are two fail safe ways to back up a Windows 10 product key.
Before we show you how to back up a Windows 10 product key, you need to know that product keys are specific for different Windows 10 editions. A Windows 10 Home product key will not be able to activate a Windows 10 Pro installation even if it’s authentic. It is important that you know which Windows 10 edition the product key is for. What doesn’t matter when it comes to using a product key is whether you’re installing 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. A product key for Windows 10 Home will work regardless if you’re installing the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version.
There are two methods you can use to back up a Windows 10 product key and regardless if you have an OEM license or not, you should still back it up.
The best solutions are often the simplest ones. Find your Windows 10 Product Key, copy it to a Notepad file, and save it somewhere safe. Make sure it isn’t saved where anyone else might have access to it but, also make sure that you do not save the file to a location where it might be deleted by accident.
Microsoft knows that its activation services fail on occasion. To work around it, there’s an option to associate your Product key with your Microsoft Account. It’s fairly simple but you must be using a Microsoft account on Windows 10 for this to work. You must also be signed in with the Administrator account, and your Windows 10 version must be 1511 or later.
Open the Settings app and go to the Update & Security group of settings. Select the Activation tab. You will see an ‘Add account’ option. Click it, and sign in with your Microsoft Account. The product key will be associated with the account right away.
Now that you’ve backed up the product key, you may want to know how you can use it to activate Windows 10. If you used Notepad to back up the key, copy the key from the file. Go to the Settings app and select Update and Security. Select the Activation tab and enter the key when prompted to.
If you associated the key with your Microsoft Account all you need to do is sign in to the account on the system you want to activate Windows 10 on, and the license will automatically be detected. This method cannot be used to transfer OEM licenses to other systems.