On computing, Wake on LAN (WoL) is a networking standard protocol that provides the ability to configure a device to be started from a low power state using a special signal over the local network (also referred to as a magic packet). You can think of it as a remote power button to your computer.
Usually, this feature comes in handy to maintain a connection to your computer to access files and applications while minimizing power usage since when not in use, you can put the device to sleep.
After enabling Wake on LAN inside the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) on supported hardware, and then in the Windows 10 network card (or USB to Ethernet adapter), you can use many third-party tools to send a magic packet over the network containing the MAC address of the remote computer to wake it up.
In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to enable and use Wake on LAN to turn on remote computers in the network.
- How to enable Wake on LAN feature on Windows 10
- How to wake up a computer remotely on Windows 10
- How to troubleshoot Wake on LAN feature on Windows 10
How to enable Wake on LAN feature on Windows 10
On Windows 10, if you want to use the WoL feature, you must enable it first on the motherboard firmware (or on the network adapter if you are using an external device) and then on the Windows settings. Also, the feature only works when the computer is in sleep mode, but some devices support waking from hibernation or powered off state, even though Windows 10 does not participate in the process.
To enable Wake on LAN on the device firmware, use these steps:
- Open Settings.
- Click on Update & Security.
- Click on Recovery.
Under the "Advanced startup" section, click the Restart now button.
Click on Troubleshoot.
Click on Advanced options.
Click the UEFI Firmware Settings option.
- Click the Restart button.
While in the firmware settings, navigate to the power settings and enable the "Wake on LAN" (WoL) feature. The option may have a slightly different name since the majority of the manufacturers build their firmware differently. If this is the case, make sure to check the device documentation online for more specific details.
Once you complete the steps, you can proceed with the instructions to configure the feature on Windows 10.
If your device does not include support for Wake on LAN, you can always get an adapter like the USB-A 3.0 to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Adapter from uni that provides support to wake a device from sleep at a reasonable price.
uni USB-A 3.0 to RJ45 Adapter
The USB-A 3.0 to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Adapter from uni is a cost-effective alternative to Wake on LAN support to your Windows 10 computer. The adapter is plug-and-play, supports networking speed transfers up to 1Gbps, and supports connectivity via a USB 3.0 hub.
To enable WoL on Windows 10, use these steps:
- Open Settings.
- Click on Network & Internet.
- Click on Status.
Under the "Advanced network settings" section, click the Change adapter options button.
Right-click the active network adapter and select the Properties option.
- Click the Networking tab.
Click the Configure button.
- Click the Advanced tab.
- Select the Wake on Magic Packet option.
Use the "Value" drop-down menu and select the Enabled option.
- (Optional) Select the Wake on pattern match option.
- Use the "Value" drop-down menu and select the Enabled option.
- (Optional) Select the WoL & Shutdown Link Speed option.
Use the "Value" drop-down menu and select the 10Mbps option.
Quick note: The optional settings may be required if you use a network adapter from Realtek.
- Click the Power Management tab.
- Check the Allow this device to wake the computer option.
Check the Only allow a magic packet to wake the computer option.
- Click the OK button.
After you complete the steps, the computer will be ready to be started remotely with a magic packet over the network using a third-party tool.
If you want to use the feature, you can use the same instructions outlined above to disable Wake on LAN, but on step No. 9, make sure to select the Disabled option. In addition to disabling the feature on Windows 10, you also want to turn off the WoL feature inside the device firmware using your manufacturer instructions.
How to wake up a computer remotely on Windows 10
Once the feature has been configured, you can turn on the computer in many different ways. For example, you can use the WoL tool built into the router. You may be able to find scripts that you can use with PowerShell. Or you can use third-party tools to send the magic packet to wake up the device.
For this example, we are using the "WakeMeOnLan" tool from NirSoft to wake a device remotely:
Warning: Although this application works as advertised, this is a third-party tool, and you should use it only at your own risk. You have been warned.
- Open the NirSoft download page.
Click the download link to save the app on your device.
- Extract the contents from the .zip folder with File Explorer.
- Open the folder with the extracted files.
- Double-click the WakeMeOnLan.exe file to launch the standalone tool.
Click the Play (Start Scanning) button to discover all the devices in the network.
Quick note: The device you want to wake up remotely has to be turned on for the tool to find it. Once it is on the list, the device can be offline to use the WoL feature. You can also use the Ctrl + N keyboard shortcut to add the remote computer information (IP address, computer name, and MAC address) manually.
Right-click the remote computer and select the Wake Up Selected Computers option.
- Click the Yes button.
Once you complete the steps, the tool will send the magic packet, which should start the device immediately if the network card was still operational even when the computer was turned off.
Confirm IP and MAC address
If you are using another tool, you will need to determine the IP and MAC address of the device you want to wake up, which you can easily do from the Settings app. Here's how:
- Open Settings.
- Click on Network & Internet.
- Click on Status.
Under the "Network status" section, click the Properties button for the active connection.
Under the "Properties" section, confirm the IPv4 address and Physical address (MAC).
If you are using Command Prompt, you can query the adapter addresses using the
ipconfig /all command.
Once you complete the steps, you can use the addresses with the utility of your choice to wake up a remote computer.
How to troubleshoot Wake on LAN feature on Windows 10
If the device does not wake up after sending the magic packet, you can do a few things to troubleshoot the problem.
The system must support Wake on LAN at the firmware level. If the option is unavailable in the motherboard's BIOS or UEFI or the network adapter (for example, USB to Ethernet adapter), you won't be able to use the feature.
If you use a USB to Ethernet adapter, WoL may only work when the computer is sleeping since powering off the device may also stop providing power to the USB port.
In the case that the computer is using the fast startup feature, you can try disabling it to mitigate the problem.
You can wake up a device only if the network card is active. If you are using an Ethernet connection, confirm the lights on the card are still blinking after the device is powered down.
On a laptop, you have to make sure that the device is connected to a power outlet. Otherwise, it won't work.
When using this feature, you can also come across networking problems that may prevent the device from waking up the remote computer. If you suspect a networking issue, use the ping command to confirm the source can contact the target device. Also, it is a good idea to double-check that you are using the correct MAC and IP address of the target computer. You can get this networking information using the ipconfig command (see above link to learn more).
More Windows 10 resources
For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:
- Windows 10 on Windows Central — All you need to know
- Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks
- Windows 10 forums on Windows Central
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