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Change used computer unique numbers

Discussion in 'Other Discussions' started by KW., May 29, 2020.

  1. KW.

    KW. Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2019
    Messages:
    101
    I have a used Dell laptop and wonder if its possible to make that laptop to change everything. Mac adress i know you can change. But is it possible to change every other identifier on the computer that existed before I got it?

    And is it enough to just do format on the drives and windows restore?

    EDIT: I understand its identifiers on the hardware, but its on software my question is about:)
     
  2. degrub

    degrub Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,094
    Nope. Not everything.
    Are you trying to hide your activity or the previous owner ?
    Bottom line , it can be traced back to you.
     
    KW. likes this.
  3. KW.

    KW. Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2019
    Messages:
    101
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
  4. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    UK
    In terms of user software you could completely wipe the hard disk, including any hidden partitions like the ESP, recovery or OEM. That would be equivalent to installing a brand new disk.

    But the hardware characteristics remain the same. You might be able to spoof a MAC address in software but the real MAC address is still there. In the BIOS/UEFI there are ACPI tables that allow the PC to be uniquely identified. This is how OEMs store the Windows licence key nowadays so that you don't need to read a product key off a sticker.
     
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  5. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    Apr 14, 2012
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    Canada
    MAC addresses are like serial numbers, they are embedded into the hardware. The best you can do is have the software ignore it and use a different MAC when configuring the network, but that won't replace the hardware-burned MAC, and reinstalling the operating system will restore the original MAC.
     
    KW. likes this.