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Dell Latitude - Ethernet MAC address change???

Posted on 2010-11-09
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
One of our Dell Latitude D630 laptops was transferred to a new user, and before I gave it to the new user, I wanted to re-install Windows on it and give the new user a "clean" installed system.  The problem is, we have a software tool that uses the MAC address of the Ethernet adapter to verify a license file.  I have never heard of or seen a MAC address change on an Ethernet adapter before, but after the windows install, it appears the MAC address HAS changed!?  Is this normal?  Maybe because it's a Dell laptop, the Ethernet adpater is some sort of virtual adapter, and there isn't a mac address burned into it?  
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Question by:jbobst
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GregPoole earned 42 total points
ID: 34097558
Are you sure the MAC addresses are from the same adapter?

You can use OUI search to find the difference: http://standards.ieee.org/cgi-bin/ouisearch?90-27-E4

Just use the first six characters of the MAC address.
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by:jbobst
ID: 34097582
I am positive it's the same adapter.  There is a wireless card and Local Area Connection.  These are the only two adapters, and nothing physically has changed...just the windows re-install.
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by:Bokis
Bokis earned 41 total points
ID: 34103634
Are all your device drivers installed such that you do not have a question yellow icon o exclamation marks under device manager?
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by:HappyCactus
HappyCactus earned 42 total points
ID: 34109668
It is possible to change the mac address of the device only by tweaking the driver, but phisically it is impossible[1].
The possibility is that the license manager is reading the mac address from the wrong device. Check the MAC address of all devices by typing (hope I am remembering correctly) "ipconfig /all". See if the MAC is taken from the right device. If not, check the license manager, maybe it's a bug?


[1] Not really: some embedded device have it assigned via software or saved it in a flash memory, but this is not your case.
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by:jbobst
ID: 34113011
All device drivers are installed correctly - no errors (yellow icon)

I have done ipconfig/all and thought many times and checked each device mac address...none match the "old" address that was there a few days ago on the NIC.

Not sure what happened, but I was just looking to make sure that there wasn't something I was missing by asking this question.  I thought there really was no way of changing the mac address (other than some driver tweaking), and that about answers my question.  Thanks!
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