How to Find a Mac Address Remotely

By John Kibilko

All devices on a TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), including your computer, have unique numbers assigned to them known as Media Access Control (MAC) addresses. Networks use MAC addresses to connect hardware devices (hubs, routers, switches, printers) and facilitate traffic between the devices. Computers utilize a service called Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to track and decipher TCP/IP and MAC addresses. You can find MAC addresses for your own devices on the products themselves, in your owner's manuals or by running a simple command series on your computer. You also can remotely access MAC addresses for devices on your network.

Step 1

Open the MS-DOS prompt in any Windows program by clicking the "Start" button, selecting "Run" and typing "cmd" (without quotation marks) in the text box.

Step 2

Type "ping" (without quote marks) at the prompt, followed by a space and the Web address of the source. For example, type "ping www.msnbc.msn.com" and the message "Pinging www.msnbc.msn.com [208.68.139.38] with 32 bytes of data:" will appear, along with other information. The series of numbers is MSNBC's IP address.

Step 3

Type "arp-a" (without quote marks) at the next prompt (this command works with Windows 7 and Vista but not with XP) and hit "Enter."

Step 4

View the information displayed, which should include an "Interface" (the IP number you pinged) and the "Internet Address Physical Address Type." This is the IP number followed by the MAC address. It will be displayed something like "248.67.129.101 ab-cf-d8-34-ba-7a". "ab-cf-d8-34-ba-7a" is the MAC address.

Step 5

Locate your own IP and MAC numbers. Click on "Start," select "Run" and type "cmd" (without quote marks) in the box. Click "Okay" or hit "Enter." At the command prompt, type "IPCONFIG/ALL." Hit "Enter." The resulting box will contain various information, but your computer's MAC address is listed as the "Physical Address" and appears in a configuration like "00-03-47-E5-62-5b." Your IP address also is listed, as well as various router and server addresses.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can find the IP address of someone who emails you (in Outlook Express) by clicking on the "File" menu," selecting "Properties" and clicking on the "Details" tab. The resulting message box will contain several lines of "Recieved: from" text, as well as other information. The last "Received: from" message is the email sender's IP address.