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Turn on networked PCs remotely with NirSoft’s WakeMeOnLan

25 August 2011, Mike Williams

Wake-on-LAN (WOL) is, in theory, a very convenient technology, able to wake up a sleeping PC on your local (wired) network just by sending it an appropriately formed “magic packet”.

The reality can be rather different, though, as WOL only works if your PC, BIOS and network card all support the technology and have it enabled (and even then you may run into issues with your router). Still, if you’d like to give it a try then NirSoft’s latest, WakeMeOnLan, is an easy way to get started.

First we would check that WOL is enabled in your remote system’s BIOS, though (try the Power Management section).

Then launch Device Manager on the same system, expand the Network Adapters section, right-click your adapter, select Properties > Power Management, and check both “Allow this device to wake the computer” and “Only allow a magic packet to wake the computer” to enable WOL. (After this you might also check the Advanced tab for related settings.)

With that done, leave your remote system running, return to the PC where you’ve downloaded WakeMeOnLan and launch the program. It’ll immediately scan your network, detecting any connected devices and reporting their name, IP address, MAC address and more. (Or, at least, that’s the plan: if you don’t see any network devices at all, click Options > Advanced Options and manually select the network adapter you’d like WakeMeOnLan to check.)

Now send the remote PC to sleep, then return to WakeMeOnLan, select it in the list, click the “Wake Up” button, and if WOL is correctly configured then your remote system should power up.

And if that still seems too much like hard work, then WakeMeOnLan even provides a command line interface, so you can power up computers from batch files, shortcuts, scripts and more, just by providing an IP address, network name or MAC address. For example:

  • WakeMeOnLan.exe /wakeup
  • WakeMeOnLan.exe /wakeup MyPC
  • WakeMeOnLan.exe /wakeup 40-65-81-A7-16-23

It’s all very convenient and easy to use, then (once you’ve managed to get WOL working, anyway), and overall WakeMeOnLan makes a welcome addition to the already excellent NirSoft range.

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