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A motherboard tattoo is a type of unique identification code stored within a computer's BIOS to identify the motherboard and the computer/system in which it is installed. The motherboard tattoo is a vendor-defined code that enables and ensures that only authorized compact disks are used with the designated motherboard in system diagnostics and recovery processes.
Motherboard tattoos are primarily used as hardware identification mechanisms by independent hardware vendors (IHV) to distinguish their motherboards and line of computer systems. Typically, a motherboard tattoo is stored within an eraseable programmable read-only memory (EPROM). Each motherboard tattoo is programmed with a unique code and description of the motherboard and the system. The motherboard/system will recognize and accept only a vendor-supplied diagnostic and maintenance CD that's specific to that motherboard or the motherboard tattoo. If the system’s motherboard is replaced, the EPROM must be reprogrammed or replaced with the new motherboard tattoo.