How to Find the Computer ID

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

A Computer ID in technical terms refers to the Media Access Control (MAC) address. It is a unique number assigned to every networking interface associated with either an Ethernet or Airport communication structure. The uniqueness of this Computer ID is used to limit access of computer systems to secured network environments to minimize unauthorized access including support for online registration services of various software manufacturers and to prevent piracy. During online sessions, a correspondence table is used in order to relate the IP address of the computer system to the physical address of the machine within the LAN structure. Burned into the ROM chip and loaded into the RAM during the startup process, this unique identifier designed to be globally unique and permanent may be modified by newer hardware devices using a method called as MAC spoofing.

Materials Needed:
- Network adapter
- computer
Step 1
The manner on how this MAC address may be acquired differs widely on the underlying Operating System platform installed in the computer system. Although the same hardware will maintain its MAC address when transferred to another platform, only the manner of acquiring the address will change. For Mac OS X machines, proceed to Step 6. Computer systems running under the Microsoft Windows Operating System platform can get their Computer ID by going to Step 9. It is possible to retrieve the Computer ID for systems without any installed Operating System by proceeding to Step 13.
Step 2
For Linux-based computer systems, the Ethernet hardware is referred to as eth0. To get the corresponding Computer ID, you must become root.
Step 3
In order to become the root, you must type 'su' (without quotes) at the prompt. This will normally return a blank prompt.
Step 4
Type in the command 'ifconfig' with the '-a' option.
Step 5
The Computer ID can be retrieved from the value corresponding to the HWaddr string.
Step 6
The Mac OS X, as a graphical user interface or GUI-based Operating System, provides a menu-based way of retrieving the Computer ID. Click on the 'Dock' and select the 'System Preferences' menu.
Step 7
Under this menu, select the Network option. This will bring up a window that displays locations associated with different MAC addresses. Click on the 'Built-in Ethernet' option from the Ethernet tab.
Step 8
Read the resulting value corresponding to the Ethernet ID label.
Step 9
Under the Microsoft Windows Operating System, it is assumed that the TCP/IP protocol is installed in the machine. Click on the 'Start' button and select the 'Run' option.
Step 10
In the new window, type the command 'cmd' in the Open box (omit the quotes), and click on the 'OK' button.
Step 11
This will launch the Command Prompt window. Type the command 'ipconfig' with the '/all' option and press the 'Enter' key on the keyboard.
Step 12
This will display a list of values. The Computer ID is the value which corresponds to the Physical Address category.
Step 13
For new computer systems without an installed Operating System, a Fermi Linux floppy disk is required. It may be secured from FCC3W or WH8NW. Put it into the floppy drive and direct the machine up to the display screen of 'Choose a Language'.
Step 14
Press the CTRL, ALT, and F4 keys simultaneously. The string at the bottom part of the screen beginning with '<6>eth0:' is the Computer ID.


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