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We purchase some of our systems (desktops mainly) through a small third-party OEM. They don't include serial number, manufacturer info., etc. in the BIOS however and this makes it difficult for systems monitoring and inventorying software to distinguish one system from another - especially if we do a clean wipe on the system. MAC addresses are semi-reliable, but not truly unique. I'd like to add some info. - such as manufacturer and serial number / asset tag into the bios (there are fields for it), but I can't edit it through the normal BIOS menu. Any idea on how this can be accomplished?

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  • Have you tried contacting the OEM for this information? Even if it's just to ask them "where can I write my own identifying information"? – MikeyB Dec 15 '11 at 16:07
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You can try using IPMI commands to write the relevant information into the VPD… but good luck finding out exactly where you need to write. That's likely information specific to the particular motherboard model.

I just needed to figure this out for my own purposes ;)

You should be able to use either:

ipmitool fru edit/read/write ...

or

flshupdt (from Intel, for Intel motherboards)

to update the FRU data.

However, your statement:

MAC addresses are semi-reliable, but not truly unique

is incorrect - MAC addresses should be, by definition, unique. That would be an appropriate value to key off for inventory purposes.

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  • Yes, but I seem to run into duplicates on occasion...and in any case, what I meant to say (not sure where my brain is this morning) is that they aren't necessarily stable identifiers - e.g. if a network card dies, it is replaced and the MAC address changes. – David Mackey Dec 15 '11 at 16:01
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    If you're running into duplicate MACs, you need to have Serious Words with your supplier. And yes, I assumed that your motherboard had onboard Ethernet ports… doesn't everything these days? :) – MikeyB Dec 15 '11 at 16:06
  • Unless something's spoofing a MAC, or you got exceedingly lucky with an autogenerated MAC on, say, a VM, then there should not be collisions; manufacturers are assigned address space for their hardware, and should never send out two devices with the same address. – Shane Madden Dec 15 '11 at 16:11

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