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Computing and Information Services

How to find your MAC address - Linux

Most modern Linux distributions will automatically detect and install drivers for common network adapters. Consult the documentation of your distribution and your network adapter for installation help. Please note that Linux distributions can vary widely in implementation and that the example provided here, using Debian GNU/Linux 3.0, may differ from your installation.

To find your hardware address:

  1. Obtain a command shell. This will vary greatly by implementation. If you are using a graphical environment such as KDE or GNOME, then look in the dock, taskbar, or program menus for Xterm, Shell, Terminal, Command Prompt, or similar. If your computer leaves you with a text screen after starting up, you probably already have a command shell.
  2. Type /sbin/ifconfig at the shell prompt, then press Enter or Return. In the example below, the shell prompt is user@host$ and the command to type is highlighted.
  3. Note: If you see an error message to the effect of "permission denied", then instead enter su -c "/sbin/ifconfig" at the shell prompt, and enter the password for the "root" user if asked for it.
  4. You should see a network adapter listing that is similar to the example below, with adapter device names in the leftmost column. Most Linux distributions call the first Ethernet network adapter eth0, and subsequent adapters eth1, eth2, etc. You will find the hardware address listed after HWaddr. The loopback adapter, lo, can be ignored because it is not a physical network device.
  5. Type exit and press Enter or Return if you wish to end the command shell session.