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How do Software Keys Work

Most retail software will come supplied with a software key. At its simplest, a software key is a string of digits and letters that are assigned to the authorized purchaser.

Entering the software key during the installation process unlocks the full features of the software and makes it available for use.

In this article, we look at software keys and how they work.

What is a software key?

Most software, including Microsoft packages like Microsoft Operating Systems and Office Applications, will require a software key to function properly. A software key is a security mechanism used by the developer to prevent illicit installations of their software.

In many cases, the software key isn’t the only security mechanism. For instance, as well as a software key, Microsoft software will also require product activation before it will function.

Software keys have been around for decades. In the not-so-distant past, these would be provided with the software CD. However, in more recent times, you are less likely to get a physical copy of the software.

It is now more common to be issued with a software key only. The software can then be downloaded from the vendor’s website. This has the advantage of making sure that you don’t lose or damage the physical medium that the software is stored on.

Of course, it is important to keep a copy of your software key.

At Brytesoft, we email the software key to you within a few seconds of a purchase being made. This can be used to keep a permanent record of your software key.

What are Microsoft Product Keys?

Microsoft has been using product keys for decades as a method of software piracy prevention. In most cases, a Microsoft product key will consist of 25 alphanumeric characters displayed in blocks of five characters, as in:


This key will be required during the installation process to fully activate the installation.

I have my product key but no software – What do I do?

As already noted, not so long ago, software keys were usually on a sticker attached to a physical medium like a CD. This is rare these days, the evolution of broadband internet speeds means that even the largest software packages can be downloaded within a few minutes.

The result of this change is the way we buy and receive our software. But the process of acquiring and installing software is incredibly simple:

1. Once you buy a software key, it will usually be emailed to you along with a link to the download site.

2. In the case of Microsoft and many other software vendors, you will need to create an account before the software can be downloaded.

3. Once the account is created, download the software package to your computer (if you need any help creating a Microsoft account, we have created a useful guide that will walk you through the process).

4. Once this is done, it is simply a case of installing the software and entering the software key when prompted.

Software Keys – Unlocking the Benefits

Software keys are primarily a security feature used by the software vendor to prevent piracy. However, for the consumer, they are the perfect way to purchase your software, particularly when the software can be easily downloaded.

In essence, this means you can own a library of fully licensed software without having to keep track of physical media and keeping it matched with the correct product key.

Of course, the other benefit is that substantial savings can be made on the cost of the software. At Brytesoft, we buy software product keys in bulk and pass the savings on to the consumer.

Contact us today to find out more about how you can make huge savings on your software costs with our comprehensive range of discounted Microsoft product keys.

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