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When someone is having networking problems, generally the first thing that we should find out is "What IP address, if any, it the machine pulling?" And while we're at it, we should get the MAC address as well.

In Mac OS, we generally use the same method to retrieve this information whether we're hands-on ourselves, or talking someone through it over the phone. However, on the Windows side, we use two different approaches, one of which is distinctly more end-user friendly.

Mac OS

As noted above, and as is common for Mac OS, we only use one method for retrieving the desired info, via the System Preferences.

 Click here for all the Mac OS instructions...
  1. Open System Preferences... and click on Network.
  2. Click on the network connection that you want to check: Ethernet or Wi-Fi
  3. Check some things
    1. Connection Status Indicator Light Thingy:
      Green: connected, addressed, internet.
      Yellow: connected, maybe no address, no internet.
      Red: not connected or broken in some way.
    2. IP Address
  4. Retrieve the MAC Address
    1. Click on Advanced... button.
    2. Select the Hardware tab. 
    3. Grab the MAC Address.

 

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Windows

There are two methods for gathering the info we need in Windows. The command line gets us all the information we need quickly, but it's mode difficult for customers to read. The the Network Connections window is multi-step, but a lot easier for a customer to access and understand.

Command Prompt (For CarlTech "In Person" Use) 

 Click here for complex CarlTech instructions...
  1. Press Windows+R and enter "cmd" to open the command prompt.
  2. If all you need is to check the connection and/or IP address, enter: ipconfig

  3. Check some things:
    1. If the connection you are checking reads: "Media State........: Media disconnected", it's dead Jim.
    2. Otherwise, check the IPv4 Address
  4. To retrieve the MAC Address, enter: ipconfig /all
  5. This includes a lot more info on each connection, including the IP Address
    1. The MAC Address is listed as the Physical Address.
    2. I should probably talk about the DNS, Gateway, etc. but I'm not going to.

User Interface (For talking with customers on the phone)

 Click here for nice, customer-friendly instructions...
  1. Click on the Start Menu and type "network connections"
  2. Select "View network connections"
     
  3. Check if the connection in question is connected or not (red X means not).
  4. Double-click the connection in question.
  5. You can confirm here if there is internet connectivity on the connection, but really we want the Details... button.
     
  6. Check some things:
    1. Check the IPv4 address (check table of ranges above).
    2. The MAC Address is listed as the Physical Address.
    3. I should probably talk about the DNS, Gateway, etc. but I'm not going to.