How to Find the MAC Address of Your Computer

monkey-mascot

The title of this post is not entirely accurate. Your computer doesn’t have a MAC address. A MAC or media access control address is given to any device that can communicate over a network.

Your computer probably has at least one such device in it. That’s why people often shorten things and say that or the other is their computer’s MAC address.

The MAC address or Physical Address, as it is known in Windows, consists of six pairs of hexadecimal characters.

The Control Panel Way

To find out the MAC address of your currently active networking device, go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.

In the View your active networks section, click on the link next to Connections:.

View your basic network information and set up connections

View your basic network information and set up connections

Then, in the Network Connection Status window click on the Details… button.

network-connection-status

Network Connection Status

And, finally, in the Network Connection Details window, find the line saying Physical Address.

network-connection-details

Network Connection Details

That’s your currently active networking device’s MAC address.

The Command Line Way

Launch Command Prompt via Start > All Programs > Accessories.

In Command Prompt’s window, type and enter the following command:

Command Prompt — getmac

Command Prompt — getmac

The output will look something like this:

getmac output in Command Prompt

getmac output in Command Prompt

There are a lot of networking devices installed in my computer and all of them get listed using the getmac command.

The active connection is the one that doesn’t have a Media disconnected line below it.

In this case, it is the Network Adapter called Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless N-1030 device.

The MAC address is shown in the Physical Address line.

Why Would Anyone Need to Know?

Why would anyone need to know a network device’s MAC address?

There are lots of reasons but probably the most common one is setting up your router.

One of the settings in the router that your internet service provider (ISP) gave you is the possibility to list which devices are allowed to connect to the router and, thus, to the internet.

To do this, you need to find out the MAC addresses of all the networking devices that you wish to be able to connect to the internet.

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