How to Turn On or Off Wi-Fi Random Hardware Addresses in Windows 11

christopher gower vjMgqUkS8q8 unsplash scaled

This post shows students and new users steps to turn On or Off Random Hardware MAC addresses for Wi-Fi in Windows 11. Windows can use random hardware MAC addresses when joining to a Wi-Fi network. This can come in handy especially when you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi or network that isn’t trusted.

Before your computer connects to a Wi-Fi network, it sends a request to join. The request your computer sends will include the unique physical hardware address (MAC) of your machine. This unique number can be used to track your computer location and activities.

If you want to add some layer of security to prevent public Wi-Fi networks from tracking your computer MAC addresses and your location, you can enable random hardware MAC addresses if your computer supports it.

When you use random hardware addresses feature for Wi-Fi connections, it makes it harder for Wi-Fi to track your location when you connect or join it. You can apply this settings to all Wi-Fi networks or a single Wi-Fi network you want to connect to.

When this feature is turned on for a specific network, random hardware addresses are used the next time you join that network.

How to turn enable or disable random hardware addresses for Wi-Fi in Windows 11

As mentioned above, Windows can use random hardware MAC addresses when connecting to a Wi-Fi network to prevent Wi-Fi networks from tracking your computer MAC addresses and your location.

Below is how to use this feature.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its Settings app.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

windows 11 start settings

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click on Network & internet, and select the Wi-Fi connections tile to expand it.

windows 11 select wifi connection on list

On the Wi-Fi connection settings pane, select the Random hardware addresses tile. Then toggle the button to the On position to enable this feature for all Wi-Fi networks.

random hardware addresses windows 11

That should apply globally for all new Wi-Fi networks you join.

How to turn on random hardware addresses for specific network

If you only want it to apply random hardware addresses to a specific network, simply choose the Wi-Fi network you want it to apply to, then turn it on.

Go to the Start > Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi connections tile. On the Wi-Fi Connection settings pane, choose Manage known networks.

windows 11 manage known networks updated tile

Click on the Wi-Fi network you want to edit to open its properties pane.

On the Wi-Fi network properties window, choose On to enable all the time, Off to disable and Change daily to replace the MAC addresses daily.

windows 11 random hardware addresses specific network updated

When you’re done, close the Settings app.

That should do it!

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to turn on or off random hardware addresses when using Windows 11. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.

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