How to Look Up and Change Your MAC Address

A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique alphanumerical identifier that is assigned to network interfaces so that they can communicate with networks. Every device that is designed to be able to (wirelessly or through wires) connect to networks such as internet and WiFi networks – everything from Smartphones to laptops – has a unique MAC address. The MAC address is an extremely essential part of the networking plane as it is one of the things a network uses to identify devices that are trying to connect to it.

Also referred to as a Physical Address, a MAC address can also be used to assign static IPS to devices that connect to a network, filter devices using their MAC address to only allow specific devices to connect to a network and to authenticate devices for access through their MAC addresses, among numerous other things. Unlike many other things, the existence of a MAC address on a computer is not dependent on what Operating System it is running on. This means that any computer that can be used to connect to the internet – whether it runs on Windows, a Linux-based OS or Mac OS X – has a MAC address. You can also, in most cases, customize your MAC address and change it as per your desires. The following are the most effective methods that can be used to look up and change your MAC address on the most widely used computer Operating Systems in the worldwide market right now:

How to Find Your MAC Address On a Windows Computer

Press Windows Logo key + R to open a Run. Type ncpa.cpl into the Run dialog and press Enter.

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Right-click on Local Area Connection or Wireless Area Connection (for which you want to know the MAC Address). Click on Status. Click on Details. Peruse through the details of the connection. The MAC address will be listed as the Physical address among them.

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Find MAC Address Using Command Prompt on Windows

Before your look up your MAC address using a Command Prompt, you should note that if you use this method to look up your MAC address on a laptop that not only has the ability to connect to WiFi networks but also has an Ethernet port, you will see two MAC addresses. One of these will be for the Ethernet drive and the other will be for the wireless driver. To use this method to look up a computer’s MAC address, you need to:

Press Windows Logo key + R to open a Run. Type cmd into the Run dialog and press Enter. Type in getmac and press Enter.

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A whole list of different details pertaining to the computer’s Ethernet or wireless driver (or both) will be shown. The MAC address will, again, be listed as the Physical Address.

How to change your MAC address On a Windows Computer

Looking up your MAC address is extremely easy, but you can take it to the next level by entirely changing your MAC address and turning it into whatever you want it to be, as long as it stays 12 characters long and alphanumerical. While you can turn your MAC address into whatever you want it to be, it is not as easy as simply looking it up. It should be noted that not every person can change their MAC address as they desire as some (less than 10% or so) Ethernet and wireless drivers do not allow users to change their MAC addresses at all. The following are the two methods that you can use to change a computer’s MAC address:

Changing your MAC address from Network Connections on a Windows Computer

Press Windows Logo key + R to open a Run. Type ncpa.cpl into the Run dialog and press Enter.

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Double-click on Local Area Connection (or whatever your connection is named). Click on Properties. Navigate to the Advanced. Click on Network Address.

Type the MAC address that you want the computer to have in the Value field on the right side of the window, making sure to not include any spaces or hashes. Click on OKRestart the computer.

How to Change  Your Mac Address Using Device Manager on Windows

Press Windows Logo key + R to open a Run. Type in hdwwiz.cpl and press Enter.

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Expand the Network adapters. Right-click on the network interface (network driver- the Ethernet drive, for example) that you want to change the MAC address for. Click on Properties. Navigate to the Advanced – Locate and click on Network address in the list or properties. Type the MAC address that you want the computer to have in the Value field on the right side of the window, making sure to not include any spaces or hashes.

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Click on OK and restart the computer, and as soon as it boots up, its MAC address will have been changed.

How to look up your MAC address on Linux

Click on the network icon in the top panel of the Desktop. Click on Edit Connections in the contextual menu. Select the network connection you want to view the MAC address of. Navigate to the Ethernet You will see the MAC address of the network connection your selected as well as the name of its network interface in the Device MAC address field.

How to change your MAC address on Linux

Use the Network Manager

Most Linux-based Operating Systems, especially those that have been developed fairly recently – such as Ubuntu – use Network Manager, a built-in application that can be used to look up and manage all the networks that your computer is in communication with at any given time. Network Manager can also be used to change your computer’s MAC address via an extremely easy to use Graphical User Interface. To do change your Linux computer’s MAC address using the Network Manager, you need to:

Click on the network icon in the top panel of the Desktop. Click on Edit Connections in the contextual menu. Select the network connection you want to change the MAC address of. Navigate to the Ethernet. Type in the MAC address you want the connection’s MAC address changed to in the Cloned MAC Address. Save the changes and exit the Network Manager.

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Method 2: Change the MAC address via Terminal

Run the following commands on the computer:

sudo ifconfig eth0 down
sudo ifconfig eth0 hw ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
sudo ifconfig eth0 up

The first command takes the network interface down, the second command changes your MAC address and the third command gets the network interface working again. Each network interface on a Linux computer has a different name, so substitute eth0 in all three commands with the name of the network interface these command are targeted at. Substitute xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx in the second command with the address you want your MAC address changes to.

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Note: Regardless of what method you choose to use, the change in your MAC address will be temporary. As soon as you shut your computer down and reboot, your MAC address will be changed to its default value. If you want the MAC address change you make to be permanent, you will have to modify the appropriate configuration file under “etc/network/interfaces.d” or the “etc/network/interfaces” file so as to have this change take effect every time the Linux computer boots up.

Mac OS X

How to look up your MAC address on a Mac OS X

To look up your MAC address on a Mac, all you need to do is navigate to the System Preferences pane. The System Preferences -> Network. From the left pane, choose the Network Connection you want to view the MAC Address for and click on Advanced. Then go to the Hardware tab; you will see the MAC Address there.

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How to change your MAC address on a Mac OS X

To change your Mac Address on a MAC OS X. Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Locate and Open Terminal

To view the network adapter name/node in Terminal, first type ifconfig and press Enter. Locate and Pick the interface for which you want to change the mac address

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One with the IP Address in the inet line is the one that is supposed to be connected, in this example it is en0

And then Run the following command in the Terminal window:

sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

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Be sure to replace en0 with the name of the network interface you want to change the MAC address of. Depending on whether you want to change the MAC address of your Mac’s Ethernet interface or WiFi interface, the name will either be en0 or en1. To find out the name of the network interface you want to target, type ifconfig into the Terminal window and press Enter.

Note: As is the case with doing so on Linux, changing the MAC address of a network interface on Mac OS X is temporary and the change is reverted the next time the computer reboots.  To make the change in MAC address permanent, you will have to create and run a script that runs the command required to change the MAC address every time the computer boots up.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to Look Up and Change Your MAC Address

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