Turn On Random Hardware Addresses (Change MAC Address)

Windows 11 has a built-in option to turn on Random Hardware Addresses to change the MAC address. Here is how to do it in simple steps.

Every network adapter in your computer has a unique physical hardware address called a MAC address. Anytime you connect to a network, the operating system sends a lot of information regarding the connect request, hardware, and the OS. One such crucial piece of data is the MAC address. The network device then uses the MAC address to recognize and differentiate your computer from others on the network and provide the necessary network connection. If you don’t know, most device-specific settings in your router depend on the MAC address. For example, your router needs the unique MAC address of the computer or network adapter to assign a static IP address.

As helpful as the MAC address is, it can also identify and track a specific device. Generally, this is not an issue when connected to home or trusted networks. However, the MAC address makes it easy to track a particular device when connected to the public network. After all, the MAC address is freely broadcasted on the network.

To deal with that, it is better to hide the real MAC address and use a random MAC address to improve security a tad bit. The good thing is, unlike the older versions, Windows 11 makes it easy to change the MAC address by turning on the Random Hardware Addresses feature. When enabled, this feature will generate random MAC addresses and won’t broadcast the real one.

So, without further ado, let me show you how to turn on the Random Hardware Addresses feature to change the MAC address in Windows 11.

Turn on Random Hardware Addresses

You can turn on the Random Hardware Addresses feature in the Network Settings of the Windows 11 Settings app. Here’s where to find the feature and turn it on.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select “Network & Internet” on the sidebar.
  3. Click on the “Wi-Fi” option.
  4. Turn on the “Random hardware addresses” option.
  5. Close the Settings app and reboot the computer.

Detailed steps:

As always, the first thing to do is open the Settings app. Either press the “Start key + I” shortcut or right-click on the Start menu and select the “Settings” option. You can also search for “Settings” in the Start menu. Go to the “Network & Internet” page in the Settings app and click on the “Wi-Fi” option.

On this page, turn on the “Random hardware addresses” option.

turn on random hardware addresses to change mac address in Windows 11

Finally, close the Settings app and reboot the computer. After rebooting, Windows 11 will generate a new MAC address every time it tries to connect to a Wi-Fi network. It will not broadcast or disclose the real MAC address.

Turn on Random Hardware Addresses for a specific network

You can also make Windows 11 generate random MAC addresses for a particular network. For example, you can only change the MAC address for public networks and use the real MAC address for private and trusted networks like Home. Here’s how to do it.

Note: Before following the steps, make sure you have connected to the target network at least once. Otherwise, you will not find the network in the Known Networks list.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select “Network & Internet” on the sidebar.
  3. Click on the “Wi-Fi” option.
  4. Click on the “Manage known networks” option.
  5. Select the network of your choice.
  6. Choose “On” from the “Random network addresses” dropdown menu.
  7. Disconnect and reconnect to the network.
  8. With that, Windows 11 will generate a random network address for that network only.
turn on random hardware addresses for a specific network to change mac address for that network only

That is it.

I hope that helps.

If you need any help, comment below. I will do my best to help.

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