How to Install a New Product Key

by Ryan Jones

When you install a new copy of Microsoft Windows, it is necessary to provide a valid product key in order to complete the installation and unlock all the features. Failing to provide a valid product key will result in the software expiring after a brief trial period (usually 30 days). It will also deny you access to vital software updates that would normally be downloaded directly to your computer.

Installing a new product key is necessary after any reinstallation of the software and often after buying a new computer. It is a relatively simple task, though many people fail to do it either because they forget or because the process is unfamiliar to them.

Install Microsoft Windows using the installation CD. Follow all on-screen instructions until installation is complete.

Retrieve your 25-character product key from the Certificate of Authenticity sticker usually found on the underside of your computer or the proof of license label on the installation CD case.

Click on the small Activation window that appears on the lower right-hand side of our screen whenever Windows is running.

Enter the 25-character product key in the field provided, or choose to activate your software via telephone. Choosing the latter will require you to provide your product key to a Microsoft representative, who will then give you a 42-digit confirmation ID.


  • check Activation using the product key is only the first step. After doing so, you must also validate your copy of Windows, which is accomplished automatically by allowing your computer to connect to Microsoft's servers. Only then will you have access to software updates.

Items you will need

About the Author

Ryan Jones has been a writer and journalist covering the Middle East since 2001. He also has experience in online publishing and website development, often covering topics related to new technologies, business and health.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera notebook image by Alexander Zhiltsov from