Some tools have lots of capabilities, others have a few, or only one. Here’s a tool that Windows Admins will appreciate, especially those tasked with upgrading PCs from Windows 7 or 8.1 to 10. The name of the tool is the Windows OEM Product Key Tool from NeoSmart Technologies, and it’s free. It does one thing, and one thing only: on newer PCs with UEFI, it reads the OEM Windows key burned into UEFI storage at the factory when the OS gets installed. That’s why I call it a Win10 OEM keyfinder. Here’s what that output looks like under two circumstances:
You will see a key on a PC that does have it stored in UEFI (above); you’ll be informed that there is no OEM key if you don’t have one (below).
When do you need a Win10 OEM Keyfinder?
In most cases, Windows will read the OEM key from UEFI on its own but that presupposes Windows is up and running. In situations where Windows is not available or driver issues impede an installation, it can be helpful to have the key around “just in case” (it can’t be accessed). That’s why I recommend running this tool before attempting any upgrades (if it won’t help you, the software will tell you) and recording the OEM key you find (where applicable). If you need, you’ll be glad; if you don’t, it won’t cost you much (nothing for the software and a very small amount of time). The utility is 1.38 MB in size and runs straight from the .exe so you can run it from your admin UFD (USB flash drive) without having to copy or install anything.
This is another useful item for the Windows admin toolkit. True, it’s a one-trick pony. But it’s a really nice trick! Good stuff…