Friday, April 17, 2009

It Hit the Fan, part II (or: a New MAC Address)

Last time on Machine-Cycle: my wife's laptop broke down, so I sent it to be fixed.

It took about a week to get the laptop fixed. I scrutinized the accompanying paperwork in an attempt to find out what was actually fixed, but the lab report was all too succinct: "fixed".

What I wanted to do now was copy only the files that my wife edited since she started working on my box, in a virtual machine, to her laptop. It was easy enough to find the files using find -mtime 5, and then zip these into an archive. What I found difficult to do was copy this archive to the fixed laptop.

After following a few false trails I realized that its IP address was not, but rather I looked at /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf, which I've setup in the past, and figured that the only way this could happen was if the laptop's network adapter has been replaced.

And indeed, a quick check confirmed that the network adapter on the laptop had a new MAC address:
  1. enter Start->Control Panel->Network Connections (I'm using the so called "classic" control panel).
  2. Double click the network adapter, or right-click the network adapter you want to check, select Status from the pop-up menu
  3. Press the "Details..." button in the "Support" tab
  4. The MAC address is listed as the "Physical Address"
I can only assume that the laptop's main board was replaced too.

This caused the DHCP server to treat the laptop as an unknown client, allotting it an IP address from the "unknown clients" address pool, which starts at, as per its configuration,

The fix was easy enough - I just replaced the old MAC address in /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf with the new one, restarted the DHCP server and disabled/enabled the network adapter on the laptop.

I unpacked the updated documents archive to the original documents folder on the laptop, updated the anti-virus virus signatures, re-enabled the nightly backup job, and manually initiated a backup job.

Phew, what a week.

Now back to our regular schedule.

We still have half a year of warranty.

I'm a bit worried.

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