Jul 022015
 

new-fangled laptops have this neat thing where the windows key is embedded in the bios firmware – and automatically picked up by the windows installer. it’s frustrating if you need the key for accounting purposes, or to use it with a different laptop. in linux, it’s super simple to view the key by reading the acpi tables.

[katelyn@sanic ~]$ sudo xxd /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM 
00000000: 4d53 444d 5500 0000 03ad 4c45 4e4f 564f  MSDMU.....LENOVO
00000010: 5450 2d4e 3131 2020 7010 0000 5054 4543  TP-N11  p...PTEC
00000020: 0200 0000 0100 0000 0000 0000 0100 0000  ................
00000030: 0000 0000 1d00 0000 xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx  ........xxxxx-xx
00000040: xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx  xxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-
00000050: xxxx xxxx xx                             xxxxx

[katelyn@sanic ~]$ sudo hexdump -C /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM
00000000  4d 53 44 4d 55 00 00 00  03 ad 4c 45 4e 4f 56 4f  |MSDMU.....LENOVO|
00000010  54 50 2d 4e 31 31 20 20  70 10 00 00 50 54 45 43  |TP-N11  p...PTEC|
00000020  02 00 00 00 01 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00  |................|
00000030  00 00 00 00 1d 00 00 00  xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx  |........xxxxx-xx|
00000040  xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx  xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx  |xxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-|
00000050  xx xx xx xx xx                                    |xxxxx|
00000055

here, i’ve blocked out the key with x characters. your key will be in that area (it looks like a usual windows key).

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