Every NIC (Network Interface Card) has a unique MAC address (Media Access Control). This applies to all types of network cards, including Ethernet cards and WiFi cards. The MAC Address is a six-byte number or 12-digit hexadecimal number that is used to uniquely identify a host on a network.
An example of a MAC address is 1F-2E-3D-4C-5B-6A and it falls into the Layer 2 networking protocol of the OSI model. In today’s networks, ARP, or Address Resolution Protocol converts a MAC address to a Layer 3 protocol address, such as an IP address. A MAC address can also be called a Physical Address.
All MAC addresses are hard-coded into a network card and can never be changed. However, you can change or spoof the MAC address in the operating system itself using a few simple tricks.
So why would you want to change your MAC address? Well there are many reasons for this, mostly related to bypassing some kind of MAC address filter set on a modem, router or firewall. Changing the MAC Address can help you bypass certain network restrictions by emulating an unrestricted MAC Address or by spoofing a MAC address that is already authorized.
For example, a WiFi network may allow only authorized computers to connect to the network and filters out computers based on the MAC address. If you can sniff out a legitimate MAC address, you can then spoof your MAC address and gain access to the WiFi network.
Another example is if you have an ISP that allows only a certain number of computers to connect to the Internet from your home. If you have more computers that need to connect, you can spoof the MAC address of an authorized computer and connect from a different computer.
Change Windows MAC Address
You can change the MAC address for the network card in Windows pretty easily following the steps below.
Step 1: Click on Start, then Control Panel, then Network Connections, and right-click on the network connection you want to change the MAC address for and select Properties. It will normally either be Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection.
If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or higher, you have to go to Control Panel, then Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center, and then click on Manage Network Connections or Change adapter settings.
Then you can right-click on the adapter and choose Properties.
Step 2: On the General or Networking tab, click the Configure button.
Step 3: Now click on the Advanced tab and click on the Locally Administered Address property or the Network Address property.
By default, the Not Present value is selected. Go ahead and click on the Value radio button and enter in a new MAC address. The MAC address is a combination of 6 pairs of numbers and characters, i.e. 40-A2-D9-82-9F-F2. You should enter the MAC address without the dashes.
You can go to the command prompt and type in IPCONFIG /ALL to check that the MAC address has been changed. Go ahead and restart the computer in order for the changes to take effect.
This is the simplest way to change your MAC address in Windows. You can also do so via the registry, but it’s much more technical and probably not required by most people.
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