When you connect to a WiFi network, you are exposing your WiFi hardware’s address (also called MAC address). Usually this address is fixed and looks like a string of six hexadecimal numbers separated by dashes, for example, BC-41-01-10-85-8E. Using this hardware address a WiFi network can track your device and your activities, for example, how long you use the internet, at what time you connect and so on. If you are privacy conscious, you can make Windows 10 automatically change this hardware address for your WiFi adapter randomly every time you connect to the network.
Here is how you can set Windows 10 to create random hardware addresses for your WiFi adapter:
- Click on the network/WiFi icon in the notification bar of Windows desktop and enable WiFi if it is not already enabled.
- Wait for the PC to connect to a WiFi network, or you can click on the WiFi icon in the notification area and select a WiFi network to connect to.
- After you have connected to a WiFi network, click on the WiFi icon again, select the WiFi network you are connected to and then click on Properties.
- This will open another window where you can find the option for Random hardware addresses and choose the settings from On, Off or Change Daily.
If you choose to toggle it On, then Windows will change the hardware address every time you connect to this WiFi network. The hardware address will be, of course, generated randomly and each time will be a different one from the previous all the addresses. If you choose the setting Change Daily, then the hardware address is changed only once everyday not matter how many times you connect or disconnect to the said WiFi network during that day. And as you can guess, you can turn off this change of addresses by choosing the Off setting.
The latest updates have removed this toggle. My Random Hardware Addresses was “on” and now I need to turn it “off” to run software that needs to recognize a key every time I open it. How can I turn it off now? Microsoft has been no help. It seems computers are stuck in whichever mode they were in when the update was done that removed the toggle.
You can use MacMakeup to change the Mac address.
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