Wake-on-LAN (WOL) is an Ethernet networking standard that allows a shut down computer to be turned on remotely. Most recent motherboards that have an integrated Ethernet controller support this feature. You can enable the Wake-on-LAN feature in the Power Management section of the motherboard’s BIOS. Wake-on-LAN can turn on a computer on the same local area network or at another location via the internet.
This is how Wake-on-LAN works; the target computer is shut down with enough power reserved only for the network adapter to function. It listens for a small piece of incoming data called the “magic packet”. When the network adapter receives a valid magic packet, the computer starts up. This packet of data is 102 bytes consisting of “FF FF FF FF FF FF” followed by 16 repetitions of the listening network device’s MAC address.Wake-on-LAN starts the computer from its “off” state and is like pressing the power button to turn it on and boot up as normal. It’s not to be confused with waking the computer up from standby or sleep. Here are several ways you can turn on a computer using Wake-on-LAN from within your local network or remotely over the internet.
Wake-on-LAN over the Local Area Network
These tools will allow you to send the magic packet and start another computer in your local network.
1. Nirsoft WakeMeOnLan
WakeMeOnLan is another useful and portable utility from NirSoft that displays a list of computers on the network and allows you to switch one or all of them on with the click of a button. Scan the network by pressing F5 and it will display all connected computers. For a computer you want to send the magic packet to, either make sure it’s on before scanning or add it manually from the File menu (Ctrl+N).
Select the computer to start and click the Wake button (F8). The list of computers is saved and will be loaded the next time you start the program. Options like changing the port, sending the magic packet xx times, and the broadcast address can be changed in the settings. WakeMeOnLan has command line options and a computer can be started by either its IP address, name, MAC address or even the predefined text description you give it.
WakeonLANx is a compact and portable tool that can perform a number of tasks in addition to Wake-on-LAN. These include pinging target computers, remote reboot/shutdown, retrieving last boot time, getting drive space usage or service status, starting a remote desktop connection, and creating a schedule for remote startups and shutdowns.
Adding a remote computer is not automatic and you have to do it manually. Click the Add button and supply either a MAC address only or IP address and then MAC address on the same line. Make sure to put a hash (#) before any MAC. For example, “#00-24-75-41-4F-9A” or “192.168.0.10#00-24-75-41-4F-9A” will work. The broadcast address and port can be changed by right clicking on any of the entries.
3. FUSION WOL
This free utility dates back to 2005 but still works well. We’re not sure why it comes only as an installer because FUSION WOL is a 125KB standalone executable. As the tool has pretty much been abandoned by its developer, we’ve zipped up the file (and its help PDF) to make it portable.
You only need to supply a MAC address to turn on another computer. If you don’t know what that is, supply the IP address and click Get MAC. FUSION WOL has the ability to get the MAC address from an IP address, even if the target computer is off. The password box can be left blank unless you know one is needed. Entering an IP address at the bottom will tell you if the target computer is currently on or off.
Wake-on-LAN over the Internet (Wake-on-WAN)
Make sure to configure your router to forward the required UDP port to the computer that you want to boot up or it will not work. Using a port such as 9 or 7 is recommended although you can use almost any port you wish. Refer to PortForward.com on how to configure port forwarding for your router.
4. Depicus Wake on Lan
Depicus Wake on Lan is a small and portable tool that is able to boot up a computer using Wake-on-LAN over the internet or over the local network.
Simply select Internet or Local subnet from the dropdown and enter the MAC address, IP address or host name, subnet mask (usually 255.255.255.255), and the port. If you are using Wake-on-LAN locally the internet address box doesn’t need to be filled.
5. SoftPerfect Network Scanner
Sadly, Network Scanner went full shareware back in 2016 but the previous freeware version still works fine. This tool can perform a number of tasks such as scanning, pinging and getting detailed information about remote computers, discovering shared folders, and remote standby/shutdown. WOL is done via the Wake-on-LAN Manager, which you can get to from the toolbar or the Options menu.
To Wake-on-LAN via the internet, click Add and choose IPv4, enter the MAC address of the target computer, its external IP address and the port. Enter a host name instead of an IP address if you chose that option. To start a local computer you only have to add the MAC address and port, the target host can be left alone. You can also wake up a single computer with just its MAC address from the bottom of the WOL Manager.
If you’re unable to remotely turn on your computer using any of the tools listed above, you need to make sure that your computer is Wake-On-LAN ready by checking your system settings. There’s also 5 more ways to remotely turn on a computer with Wake-on-LAN. Find out more on page 2.
Online Wake-on-LAN Services
Here are some websites that allow sending magic packets to boot up a computer over the internet. They are free services that can be used by anyone.
6. Wake-On-LAN Online
This webpage is able to send the required packet data to your computer over the internet. A useful feature is the scheduler that allows you to send the magic packet on a specific day and time up to a week in advance.
Enter the external IP address and MAC address of the target computer into the boxes. Then press “Wake Up my PC!” The service seems to use both ports 9 and 7 by default but you can add your own with “:[port]” after the IP address. Multiple MAC and IP addresses can be used if you separate them with commas.
7. Depicus Wake on LAN over the Internet
In addition to the Windows tools from Depicus, they also have a page on their website that can send the magic packet over the internet to your computer.
The external IP Address and MAC Address of your computer is required. The subnet mask and password boxes can be left alone if you have no specific need to change them. The page also says the port can be left at the default of 4343 but we got an error if the box was empty. Port 9, 7, 4343 or anything more specific if you wish is fine.
Wake-on-LAN from the Command Line or PowerShell
Using the command line or PowerShell to send Wake-on-LAN packets to another computer can be quite useful for business, professional users, in batch scripts and to make desktop shortcuts.
8. Wake On Lan Command Line (WolCmd)
This tool is another entry in our list by Depicus and is a simple command line tool to send the Wake-on-LAN signal. The syntax is quite simple.
WolCmd [MAC address] [IP address] [Subnet mask] [Port]
An example would look like this:
wolcmd 26-63-A4-79-B8-12 192.168.0.40 255.255.255.0 9
The MAC address, IP address and subnet are required but the port will default to 7 if you don’t supply one.
Another useful command line tool we found was simply called WOL. It additionally allows you to supply a password and a custom subnet.
9. Send-WOL PowerShell Script
There are a few PowerShell scripts around that can send a magic packet and this one is hosted on the Microsoft Technet Script Center. Download the script, open it and add the argument for the computer(s) you wish to wake.
Send-WOL -mac [MAC address] -ip [IP address] -port [port]
Save the script and execute it from PowerShell or the command line. Only the MAC address is truly required, the default port will be 9 if you don’t supply your own.
Use Wake-on-LAN to Start a Computer From your Smartphone
If you are unable to send the magic packet to your PC from another computer, an alternative option is sending it from another device like a smartphone or tablet. There are loads of apps around and the Android app we’ll look at is free, popular and does the job quite nicely.
10. Wake On Lan for Android
This app is quite easy to use because if the computer to start up remotely is switched on and available on the local network, you can find it automatically. Just press the add button and select the device from the list. It’s IP and MAC addresses will be added so you don’t have to do anything else. If you are connecting from outside the LAN, replace the local IP with the external IP or add a new connection manually.
All you have to do is press one of the devices in the bookmarks list to start the computer remotely. A handy function is the ability to add a widget to your home screen that can send the packet data to a selected device just by pressing the icon. By default the magic packet is sent three times, it can be changed up or down in the app settings.
Test Wake-on-LAN is Working in Windows
If Wake-on-LAN isn’t working or you just want to test to see if the remote computer is receiving the necessary data, try using Wake on Lan Monitor. It’s another tool from Depicus and can be used to test if the magic packet is reaching the target computer.
Launch the tool on the computer you want to send the WOL signal to, set the required port and press Start. Then send a Wake-on-LAN packet from another computer using one of the options above. If the data is received, the tool will display it in the window. If you receive nothing there is something in your set up preventing the packet from being sent.
Note that different programs default to different ports when sending the magic packet. For instance, FUSION WakeUp on Lan and WakeMeOnLan default to port 40000 while WakeOnLANx defaults to port 7. If you are not required to set a port in the program, make sure you know what its default is during testing.
Make Sure Your Computer is Wake-on-LAN Ready
To enable the Wake-on-LAN feature in the BIOS, in addition to an obvious option which is usually named something like “Wake on LAN”, you may have to enable an option called “PCI Devices power on” in the ACPI configuration and power management settings.
You also need to make sure the LAN driver in Windows has the WOL feature enabled. Right click on (My) Computer > Manage > Device Manager > Network adapters. Double click on your Ethernet controller and look in the Advanced tab for “Wake on LAN”, “Wake from shutdown”, “Wake on Magic Packet” or similar.
Make sure it’s enabled. Also, go into the Power Management tab and tick “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”, “Allow this device to wake the computer”, and optionally “Only allow magic packets to wake the computer”.
While the system is switched off, make sure power is still getting to the network adapter by checking to see if the light is on near the connector on the motherboard or card. If not there is no power going to it then other settings may need adjusting.