On this text

hardware mac 33:33:333:33:33
hardware mac 33:13:333:33:33
hardware mac 33:23:333:23:34
hardware mac 33:033:133:33:35

I want to replace all lines starting with hardware mac with

hardware mac 00:00:00:00:00:00

I have tried

sed s/^hardware mac/hardware mac 00:00:00:00:00:00/gc

and give error

also the classic vim command

%s:/^hardware mac/hardware mac 00:00:00:00:00:00/gc

But change only the string hardware mac leaving the numbers untouched. How to replace string beginning with hardware mac with my string?

1 Answer 1


You almost got it right, you just forgot to match the rest of the line (on vim):

:%s/^hardware mac.*/hardware mac 00:00:00:00:00:00/gc

You can drop the gc options at the end if you are sure of what you are doing, g is likely to be unnecessary since you won't match more than once per line.

With sed it is the same thing:

sed -i 's/^hardware mac.*/hardware mac 00:00:00:00:00:00/' filename

Note that sed's substitution command s does not accept a c (confirm) flag, like vim does.

  • +1 FWIW the g in /gc is redundant, since this regex can only match one per line anyway.
    – Sparhawk
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 23:06
  • I was editing my answer while you wrote this comment (=
    – Kira
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 23:08
  • Note that that sed syntax is GNU style. Not all versions support -i and some require an argument to it. Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 23:09

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