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How to Find a MAC Address on Windows 10
February 29, 2020
From finding a stolen device to recovering data, there are several important reasons why you would want to know your PC’s MAC address. Because of this, it is very important that you know how to find a MAC address on Windows 10. However, before you actually go ahead and look for your MAC address, it’s also important to understand what it is, how it is used, and why you may need to find it in the first place.
What is a MAC address?
A Media Access Control (MAC) address is typically presented in six sets of two digits or characters, which are then separated by dashes or colons. So, for example, a typical MAC address is formatted as “00-11-22-33-44-55.”
A MAC address is a code used to identify a single device on a larger network. That is why it is also often referred to as a “hardware address” or “physical address,” the latter of which is often listed in the menus of Windows 10.
A MAC address is hardcoded into a device when it is undergoing the manufacturing process. This is why the MAC address is typically consistent throughout the lifecycle of a device. However, it is possible to modify a MAC address through the use of certain software.
What do you use a MAC address for?
MAC addresses have several very important uses. They include:
Identifying and filtering specific devices
One of the main ways in which MAC addresses are used is for the identification of specific machines. For example, let’s say that a business wants to filter which devices can access their wireless network for security or overall usage purposes.
In order to prevent unknown machines from accessing a wireless network, you can set up a router to accept only specific machines that have pre-authorized MAC addresses on them.
This is particularly useful if an IP address uses a virtual private network or other similar IP-scrambling technology, as the network will be able to automatically recognize the device's MAC address without requiring the user to re-log into the network.
Additionally, this can help businesses better track the use of company property, particularly any missing or stolen computers.
Another use case of a MAC address is for data recovery. Using a MAC address with a third-party app, you can scan your system in order to find any files that are hardcoded into the device. You can do this even if you have manually deleted them or wiped the machine entirely.
Locating a stolen device
Have you ever lost your laptop or, even worse, had it stolen by someone? You can actually use the MAC address for what is called a MAC address lookup. This makes it possible to potentially find your device’s location on a virtual map if it has been misplaced, lost, or stolen.
How to find a MAC address on Windows 10
There are two typical methods you can use to find a MAC address on Windows 10. These are through the use of the Command Prompt and the use of the Control Panel and Network Connection Settings. Here is how to find a MAC address on Windows 10.
1. How to Find Your MAC Address on Windows 10 with Command Prompt
Finding your MAC address using the Command Prompt feature is the easiest way to locate the required information. It also requires the least number of steps. However, you will need to manually type in information and be able to sift through the results.
1. First, right-click on the Start menu and select the Command Prompt option
2. Once you open the Command Prompt window, type "ipconfig/all" and then click Enter. This will display your network configuration settings
3. Scroll down through this information and find the data that is related specifically to your network adapter under the “Wireless LAN Adapter Wi-fi” heading
4. Next, look at the input next to the title Physical Address, which is another term for your MAC address
2. How to Find Your MAC Address on Windows 10 with Network Connection Settings
Finding your MAC address within your Network Connection Settings requires several additional steps compared to using the Command Prompt method. However, it does not require you to sift through hundreds of data points to find the information related to your network sections. While it may be slightly more complicated, this method allows you to more easily find your MAC address.
1. First, open up the taskbar and type in “View network status and tasks,” and click on the icon for this.
Alternatively, you can also navigate to your Control Panel and then go to Network and Internet. From there, click on the Network and Sharing Center tab
2. Once you're in the Network and Sharing Center window, the next step is to click on your network connection
3. Next, click on the “Details” button. This will open the Network Connections Details window
4. Within this window, you’ll see a lot of different information. However, all you need here is the value for physical address, which is the same thing as your MAC address. This information is on the fourth line down once you open this window, making it easy to find
Knowing how to find your MAC address is an important part of being a PC user. There are numerous reasons as to why you may need to find your MAC address, from locating your device to improving your network’s security. Either the Command Prompt method or the Network Connections Settings method are both viable ways of finding your MAC address on Windows 10.
Of these two ways, we recommend using the Command Prompt method. It requires fewer steps and will give you access to more comprehensive information for your network in case you need it. But either method you choose to use is acceptable and you’ll ultimately find your MAC address.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.