Firmware-embedded activation keys have become the standard method for OEM providers to deliver license keys on devices. Gone are the days of a Microsoft label stuck on the device with a license code that may come off or degrade over time. We now have a product key stored in the device firmware which allows it to survive re-imaging and negate the need for a label.
There are occasions where one might wish to retrieve the embedded key and this post provides a quick reference for the PowerShell command to do so.
It is preferable to use the newer CIM cmdlets than the old WMI versions – if you wish to understand why then I suggest this Microsoft post as a good starting primer – https://devblogs.microsoft.com/scripting/should-i-use-cim-or-wmi-with-windows-powershell/
(Get-CimInstance -Query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
If you are running an older machine/PowerShell version then you’ll need to use the classic WMI cmdlet instead.
(Get-WmiObject -Query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
Regardless of the cmdlet used you should see a string returned if there is an embedded activation key.
PS C:\> (Get-CimInstance -Query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey