Windows 10 is one of the most popular operating systems in the world, used by millions of people on a daily basis. Whether you are upgrading to Windows 10 or installing it on a new computer, you will need a product key to activate your copy of the operating system. In this article, we will discuss the different types of product keys for Windows 10 and how they work.
Retail Product Key
A retail product key is perhaps the most common type of product key for Windows 10. It is usually purchased from an authorized retailer or directly from Microsoft. When you buy a retail copy of Windows 10, you will receive a physical package that contains a product key card or a USB flash drive with the product key embedded.
To activate your copy of Windows 10 using a retail product key, simply enter the key during the installation process or go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation and enter it there. Once activated, your copy of Windows 10 will be registered to your Microsoft account and can be transferred to another device if needed.
OEM Product Key
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and OEM product keys are typically pre-installed on computers that come with Windows 10 already installed. These keys are tied to specific hardware configurations and cannot be transferred to another device.
If you have purchased a computer with Windows 10 pre-installed, your OEM product key should be automatically detected during the installation process. However, if you need to reinstall Windows 10 on the same device, you may need to contact the manufacturer for assistance in retrieving your OEM product key.
Volume Licensing Key
Volume Licensing Keys (VLKs) are used by businesses and organizations that require multiple copies of Windows 10. These keys allow IT administrators to install and activate multiple copies without having to individually enter each product key during installation.
VLKs are managed through the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and require a separate agreement with Microsoft. If you are part of a business or organization that utilizes volume licensing, you will need to work with your IT department or administrator to obtain and activate a volume licensing key for Windows 10.
With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a new way to activate the operating system called digital licensing. This method eliminates the need for physical product keys altogether. Instead, your copy of Windows 10 is linked to your hardware and activated automatically when you install the operating system.
Digital licenses are tied to the specific hardware configuration of your device. If you make significant changes to your hardware, such as replacing the motherboard, you may need to contact Microsoft support for assistance in reactivating your copy of Windows 10.
In conclusion, there are different types of product keys for Windows 10, including retail product keys, OEM product keys, volume licensing keys, and digital licenses. Each type has its own purpose and activation process. Whether you purchase a retail copy or receive an OEM key with a pre-installed computer, it is essential to have a valid product key to activate your copy of Windows 10 and ensure that it is genuine and fully functional.