What Windows Utility Do You Use To Find The Mac Address For A System?

  1. What Windows Utility Do You Use To Find The Mac Address For A System
  2. What Windows Utility Do You Use To Find The Mac Address For A Systematic


In computer networking, the Media AccessControl (MAC) address is every bit as important as an IPaddress. Learn in this article how MAC addresses work and how to find the MACaddresses being used by a computer.

What Is a MAC Address?

TheMAC address is a unique value associated with a network adapter. MAC addressesare also known as hardware addresses or physical addresses. Theyuniquely identify an adapter on a LAN.

What Windows Utility Do You Use To Find The Mac Address For A System?

On the Linux OS you can avoid pinging individual hosts and then querying for the MAC address by using the arp-scan utility. The arp-scan utility makes it very easy to discover all the IP-to-MAC address pairs on a subnet. NBTSTAT is a Windows built-in diagnostic tool for NetBIOS over TCP/IP which mostly used in Windows system. It’s primarily designed to help troubleshoot NetBIOS name resolution problems but it does get the MAC address from the remote system as well. MAC Address Scanner is the free desktop tool to remotely scan and find MAC Address of all systems on your local network. It allows you to scan either a single host or range of hosts at a time. During the scan, it displays the current status for each host. After the completion, you. The quickest way to find the MAC address is through the command prompt. Open the command prompt. Search 'Command Prompt' in the taskbar, or if you have an older version of Windows, you can.

MAC addresses are 12-digit hexadecimalnumbers (48 bits in length). By convention, MAC addresses are usually writtenin one of the following formats:



Thefirst half (24 BITS) of a MAC address contains the ID number of the adaptermanufacturer. These IDs are regulated by an Internet standards body (seesidebar). The second half (24 MORE BITS) of a MAC address represents the serialnumber assigned to the adapter by the manufacturer. In the example,




indicates the manufacturer is Intel Corporation.

Why MAC Addresses?

Recallthat TCP/IP and other mainstream networking architectures generally adopt theOSI model. In this model, network functionality is subdivided into layers. MACaddresses function at the data link layer (layer 2 in the OSI model). Theyallow computers to uniquely identify themselves on a network at this relativelylow level.

MAC vs. IP Addressing

WhereasMAC addressing works at the data link layer, IP addressing functions at thenetwork layer (layer 3). It's a slight oversimplification, but one can think ofIP addressing as supporting the software implementation and MAC addresses assupporting the hardware implementation of the network stack. The MAC addressgenerally remains fixed and follows the network device, but the IP addresschanges as the network device moves from one network to another.

IP networks maintain a mapping(association) between the IP address of a device and its MAC address. Thismapping is known as the ARP cache or ARP table. ARP, the AddressResolution Protocol, supports the logic for obtaining this mapping and keepingthe cache up to date.


DHCP also usually relies on MAC addressesto manage the unique assignment of IP addresses to devices.

The method used to find a MAC addressdepends on the type of network device involved. All popular network operatingsystems contain utility programs that allow one to find (and sometimes change)MAC address settings.

Find a MAC Address inWindows

InWindows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME, the winipcfg utility displays MACaddresses. In Windows NT and any newer versions of Windows, the ipconfig utility (using the /all option) can also beused.

Both winipcfg and ipconfig can display multiple MAC addresses. First, one MACaddress is shown for each network adapter. Then, one or more additional MACaddresses are shown for other network adapters.


Windows, for example, utilizes built-inMAC addressing to support Windows dial-up connections. Some Windows VPN clientslikewise use their own MAC address. Because these other adapters are reallysoftware constructs that do not involve unique hardware, these are oftenreferred to as virtual adapters.

Find a MAC Address in Unix or Linux

Thespecific command used in Unix to find a MAC addressvaries depending on the 'flavor' of the operating system. In Linuxand in some forms of Unix, the command ifconfig-areturns MAC addresses.

It's also possible to find MAC addressesin Unix and Linux by reading the boot messagesequence, either on-screen as the system boots or from the startup messagefile. The log file for boot messages is usually /var/log/messagesor /var/adm/messages.

Find a MAC Address onthe Macintosh

MACaddresses on the Macintosh are generally found on the TCP/IP Control Panel.If the system is running Open Transport, the MAC address can be found under theInfo or User Mode/Advanced screens. If the system is running MacTCP, the MAC address can be found under the Etherneticon.

Finding a MAC AddressSummary

The table below summarizes options forfinding a computer's MAC address.

Operating system


Windows 95 and newer


Windows NT and newer

ipconfig /all

Linux and some Unix

ifconfig -a

Macintosh with Open Transport

TCP/IP Control Panel - Info or User Mode/Advanced

Macintosh with MacTCP

TCP/IP Control Panel - Ethernet icon

MAC addresses were designed to be fixednumbers that cannot be changed. However, there are some valid reasons to wantto change your MAC address.

Changing MAC Addressesto Support Your ISP

Some ISPs, typically cable modemproviders, sell Internet subscriptions on a per-address basis. Occasionally theISP manages these subscriptions by assigning a static (fixed) IP address to thecustomer. However, this approach is an inefficient use of IP addresses that arecurrently in short supply.

More typically, ISPs manage single-addresssubscriptions by registering the MAC address of the device that connects to theISP. This device could be a broadband modem, for example. The customer is freeto build a home or small business network behind this modem, but the ISPexpects the MAC address to match the registered value at all times.

Whenever a customer replaces their modemor adds a broadband router, the MAC address will no longer match thatregistered at the ISP, and the ISP will disable the customer's Internetconnection.

Cloning MAC Addresses

One way to solve this problem is to callthe ISP and ask them to update the registered MAC address to match the newhardware. A more efficient way to solve this problem is to configure the deviceso that it advertises the original MAC address, even though it'shardware is built to utilize a different MAC address. This process is called cloning.

Many broadband routers today support MACaddress cloning as an advanced configuration option. The exact procedure variesdepending on the type of router.

MAC Addresses and CableModems

Note that in addition to MAC addressesstored at the ISP, some broadband modems also store the MAC address of the hostcomputer's network adapter. However, in this case, cloning is not required.It's true that changing network adapters usually causes the cable modemconnection to fail. To remedy this problem, though, requires only that thecable modem and computer be reset (and perhaps a waiting period for the ISP torelease the old IP address).

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Changing MAC Addressesthrough the Operating System

What Windows Utility Do You Use To Find The Mac Address For A System

Starting with Windows 2000, users canchange their MAC address through the Windows My Network Placesinterface. This feature relies on software support built into the adapterdriver program and thus does not work for all adapters.

Likewise, the ifconfig command available in Linux and other flavors of Unix supports changing MAC addresses with the necessarynetwork card and driver support.

In Conclusion

The MAC address is an important element ofcomputer networking. MAC addresses uniquely identify a computer on the LAN. MACis an essential component required for network protocols like TCP/IP tofunction.

Computer operating systems and broadbandrouters support viewing and sometimes changing MAC addresses. Some ISPs tracktheir customers by MAC address. Changing a MAC address can be necessary in somecases to keep an Internet connection working.

Changing MAC addresses may also increaseprivacy in some situations, though MAC addresses do not reveal any geographicor ISP location information like IP addresses do.

The System Information app provides detailed specifications and other information about your Mac hardware and software, including your network and external devices. In some versions of OS X, this app is called System Profiler.

What Windows Utility Do You Use To Find The Mac Address For A Systematic

Choose Apple menu  > About This Mac. This opens an overview of your Mac, including your Mac model, processor, memory, serial number, and version of macOS. To see the greater detail provided by the System Information app, click the System Report button.

To open System Information directly, press and hold the Option key and choose Apple menu  > System Information. You can also use Spotlight to find System Information, or open it from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.

System Information opens to a system report for your Mac:

Select items in the sidebar to see information about each item. For example:

What Windows Utility Do You Use To Find The Mac Address For A System?
  • The Hardware section shows your Mac serial number
  • The Memory section shows how much RAM is installed in each internal memory slot.
  • The Software section shows which startup disk (boot volume) your Mac is using.
  • The Network section shows details such as your IP address, the connections allowed by your macOS firewall, the signal strength of nearby Wi-Fi networks, and more.

Learn more

  • To have System Information read your serial number aloud, choose File > Speak Serial Number.
  • To save a copy of your system report, choose File > Save.
  • To learn more about System Information, choose Help > System Information Help.