Here at SoftwareMedia, our customer service department seems to get asked a lot of similar questions. One of the frequently encountered problems is the location of product keys on Microsoft boxed and OEM products. For whatever reason, Microsoft decided to make this vital piece of information hard to find for consumers. We are here to help.
The biggest problem we see is customers trying to locate the product key on the new, rounded Microsoft boxes that most home and office products come packaged in.
In order to open this box, you need to first remove the seal on the top, back edge of the box. There may also be a seal across the right edge as well. Once that is done, simply pull on the red tab that you can see sticking out of the top of the box in the picture above. The interior of the box will fold out quite easily.
The product key, for some reason, is stuck on the backside of the interior of the box that folds out. It is like Microsoft is trying to hide it as well as they can, just to frustrate consumers. Make sure you always keep this number, in case you have to re-install the product later, or if you move to a new computer.
Also, the DVD’s attached to the front side of the interior of the box sometimes become dislodged during shipping. If you open your box to discover there is no media, it is probably floating around inside the now hollow main part of the box.
For OEM software purchases, the product key is clearly visible on the backside of the packaging.
However, again for some strange reason, Microsoft decided to attach this vital piece of information to the plastic wrap that you will most likely discard as you open the package. Do not throw away this plastic wrap!
Your best move is to remove this product key sticker before you open the package. Put the sticker someplace safe, like on your desktop tower or the bottom of your laptop, so you will always have the product key at hand when you need it. You can then proceed with opening the plastic packaging.
Maybe next time Microsoft will place this sticker INSIDE the packaging for safe keeping and to cut down on the number of people that throw it away. One can only hope.
Well, that is my short guide to finding the product key on your new Microsoft software. If you have any similar frustrations or problems with packaging, I would love to hear about them.