Another thing I did not know about Windows 8: Product/Activation/Registration Key is stored in BIOS. Unlike Windows 7 and older, chances are there is not a product key sticker on your computer. I did a very through examination of my Windows 8 Gateway Desktop and noticed there is not a ‘Windows Key’ sticker anywhere to be found.
What if something happens to your hard drive and you are not able to recover the contents (mechanical failure)? If you have a recovery CD/DVD/BD/USB you might be okay once you get a new hard drive installed. If you don’t, it is going to be a very time consuming process to attempt to recover your key from BIOS.
In a mater of a couple minutes you can download, extract and run (no installation needed) NirSoft’s ProduKey and then choose to save your keys (will ‘recover’ the keys to all Microsoft applications) to a text file in safe place (external hard drive or USB drive). So if you find yourself with a dead hard drive, once you re-install Windows 8.1 all you have to do is open the text file you saved and enter in the product key.
Thanks to Claus Valca for this very useful information.