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Managing Your Mac Address – Windows 7 Networking Tips

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 10/20/2010

New to Windows 7 and trying to find the MAC address? This guide offers some networking tips for finding and recording the MAC address for your PC or laptop.

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    Quickly Find Your MAC Address

    Finding the MAC Address in Windows 7 is a straightforward task which can be done quickly and efficiently in order that you can carry on and complete whatever network configuration task you are performing.

    It requires the minimum of keystrokes which means for anyone performing desktop support, you’ll be causing the end user as little interruption as possible.

    Once the MAC address has been found, there are several ways to use it. For instance, you might require it for some special router configuration, or you might wish to establish the assigned IP address.

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    What is a MAC Address?

    Whereas an IP address is a number assigned to a PC or router in order to easily identify it from another device, a MAC address is an internal identifier, typically set by the manufacturer of the equipment.

    These identifiers are stored in the hardware – for instance your PC’s network interface card – and if assigned by the manufacturer, the MAC address will include a reference to the manufacturer for identification purposes.

    An example MAC address might read:

    00-B0-D0-86-BB-F7

    As you can see, it is a format that gives little away to the human eye – this is because it is written in hexadecimal, a numeral system used in electronics and computing.

    All networked hardware has a MAC address, from PCs and laptops to Apple Mac computers.

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    Finding the MAC Address in Windows 7

    The slow way - MAC address in Windows 7 Establishing the MAC address of your PC or interface device in Windows 7 is a relatively easy task. To begin, go to the Search box in the Start menu, type CMD and press Enter. Otherwise, press WINDOWS+R to open the Run box, type CMD and press Enter.

    There are two ways to display the MAC address – let’s call them the quick way and the slow way.

    The quick way is to type getmac into the Command Prompt window. This will immediately display the MAC address of any network interfaces you have attached to your PC. For instance you might have an Ethernet port as well as a WiFi card, and each of these will have a unique MAC address.

    Meanwhile the slow way is to type ipconfig /all – this is a far more comprehensive exploration, returning not only MAC addresses but also subnets, local router IP addresses, etc.

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    Using a MAC Address in Windows 7

    There are different ways in which you might use the MAC address. For instance you might require it for router-specific operations, in which case you might input it via your router’s console, or you might want to use the MAC address to find an IP address.

    This can be done in the Command Prompt by using the arp command, which is designed to display the IP to MAC information used by address resolution protocol (ARP).

    In Command Prompt, enter arp –a in order to display the MAC address alongside the assigned IP address.

    These tools are some of the most basic but vital means of managing your MAC address.