Where Does My NI Computer ID Come From?

Updated Aug 4, 2023

Issue Details

I need my National Instruments computer ID, but I need to know what hardware in my computer it is generated from.


There are two sources that the computer ID can be based on. One is an Ethernet card's MAC address and the other is a hard drive’s disk volume serial number. By default, desktop computers are based on an Ethernet card and laptop computers are based on a hard drive. It is possible to change which source is used.

Additional Information

Despite NI License Manager and the command line executable showing one Computer ID, a computer usually has multiple Computer IDs, all of which are valid for licensing and activating NI products. In other words, the Computer IDs generated based on your network interfaces' MAC address and the Computer ID based on the hard drive’s disk volume serial number are all valid and will work for licensing as long as the component the ID was generated on is present in your system.

To generate the Computer ID from your hard drive the drive with the first letter is being used. This is usually the drive with letter C: and attaching a new drive to your computer with letter sooner in the alphabet (like drive A:) will cause the Computer ID originated on the drive's serial number to change. Note that one computer can only have one disk serial number based Computer ID at a time due to this rule.

For each of your networking interfaces, a Computer ID based on their MAC addresses will be generated. All these IDs will be considered valid as long as the given interface is present in your system. If the NI License Manager or the command line application uses a network interface's MAC address for the ID to be shown (usually on desktop computers), the ID corresponding to the interface with the lowest metric value will be shown. This article explains how the priority of the network interfaces can be changed in Microsoft Windows.

If you would like to know more information on what was the source of a specific Computer ID, please Contact NI Support.