10 April 2007

Windows MAC Addresses

There's at least three ways to get MAC addresses for Windows computers:

  • Open Network Connections applet from the Control Panel, Device Manager or run ncpa.cpl, then look at the properties of each network adaptor. This method is rather hit-and-miss and depends on the information provided by the drivers. My Intel PRO/Wireless driver shows the MAC address in the Advanced property sheet but the Realtek NIC driver doesn't show the MAC address at all.
  • In the command shell, enter ipconfig /all. ipconfig provides a lot of networking information and you have to look for the Physical Address field.
  • In the command shell, enter getmac /v. getmac provides just information about network adaptors.

The last method, getmac -v, provides just the required information. If you use the /fo csv option, you can even get the output formatted for a spreadsheet or database.

Why is it useful to know MAC addresses? If you're setting up a wireless router, you can restrict the computers that can use the router by specifying a list of allowed MAC addresses. If your company uses a software license manager such as FlexLM, you may need to provide the MAC address of your users' computers to your software vendor to obtain node-locked licences.