Activate Wake-on-Lan (WOL) on Windows to turn on the PC remotely

Turn On The Pc Remotely
Turn On The Pc Remotely

Those people who, among the first things after waking up in the morning, turn on their computer, will find very useful the old Wake-On-Lan (WoL) technique that network administrators use to remotely turn on PCs on the same network without the need to get close to them.

Even better, however, would be to wake up and turn on the computer via a wifi network, from the mobile phone, using the Wake-on-Lan, so as to immediately find the computer on and ready. Let’s say we are making coffee in the kitchen at home and meanwhile we want the PC to turn on, just start an app from the phone, touch a button and the PC will be ready and waiting for when we arrive.

So let’s see how to activate Wake on Lan on Windows 10 and Windows 11 and how you can use a mobile phone to switch on a PC remotely. Not only can a phone wake up the computer, you can also use the same trick from another PC or via voice command on Alexa or Google (although the procedure can get complicated).

Prerequisites to activate Wake-On-Lan

Wake-on-LAN operation is pretty simple: when WoL is enabled, a PC waits for a so-called “magic packet” that tells it to wake up. All modern and new PCs should have this possibility while older ones are to be checked.

The main prerequisite for turning on a PC on the network is that it is connected via an Ethernet cable (or you must have a wifi card compatible with Wake-on-Lan which is not so common). You may also need to disable Wi-Fi on the PC connected via Ethernet for WoL to work properly.

To turn on a computer remotely with the Wake-On-Lan, it must be powered, with the main switch on or put in suspend mode of the Windows PC (therefore you must not use the option to turn off the PC but the one to put it on standby or hibernation). On laptops (if they support this way of turning on the computer via the network), the plug must be connected or there must be a charged battery.

The LAN must be managed by a router, so solutions such as Ad hoc networks or Microsoft virtual networks do not work.

On Windows 11 and Windows 10, Fast Startup must be disabled.

Enable Wake on Lan on the PC to be turned on remotely

You also need to enable WOL (Wake On Lan) in the BIOS settings. You need to access the BIOS. In the BIOS, you have to look for the energy settings ( Power options ) and enable the Wake-on-Lan or wake-up or network boot. The name of the setting varies from PC to PC, depending on the motherboard and bios; once found, you must enable it ( Enabled ) and save the configuration.

From the Windows PC then you must also enable the switch on via the network from the network driver configuration.

Precisely, in Windows 10 and Windows 11, right-click on the Start menu to open Device Manager. Expand the list of network cards and find the wired LAN card (often referred to as PCIe Controller ) or wifi card (if we have a WOL supported card) and right-click on it to open Properties.

Then go to the Energy Saver tab and activate the three options

  • Allow the computer to turn off the device to save power
  • Allow the device to wake the computer
  • Only allow Magic Packet to wake the computer

It may also be necessary to activate, in the Advanced tab, the Magic Packet option for reactivation and all those concerning WakeOnLan or WOL (on some PCs you may find options such as Wake on Magic PacketWake On Pattern Match, and Wake On Capabilities).

Finally, press OK.

If these options are not present, the network adapter does not support turning on the computer remotely and receiving Magic Packets. All LAN cards have this function while on Wifi cards it is less obvious.

Finally, open the network settings in Windows 10 and Windows 11 and find, in the Properties of the Ethernet card, the MAC ADDRESS or Physical MAC address, the physical address of a network card, to be copied somewhere.

How to turn on the PC remotely

If all the conditions are met, you can turn on the computer via the network, from another computer, or from a telephone (I always remember that the PCs must be in the same LAN, at home or in the office) by sending the Magic Packet.

From a computer, you can send the Magic Packet with a command line program such as WOL, by running it like this from the DOS prompt: path / Wol.exe “mac address” “IP address” (without quotes).

More easily, you can use a GUI program like WOL Magic Packet Sender.

From this tool, you must indicate the network parameters of the computer to be turned on: Subnet Mask, IP address, and mac address and you can also do the test (with the two PCs on) to see if sending the magic packet works.

If the ignition via the network works and if it can be done from the Wifi card, on the Wireless network, then you can use an Android mobile phone to wake up the computer with the free WOL application for Android downloadable from the Google Play Store.

In the application configuration just indicate the network name of the computer you want to turn on remotely, the physical address or MAC Address of the computer, and the SSID (name) of the wireless network. It is not necessary to enter all the security information, even if the WiFi network is protected.

After putting your computer into sleep or hibernation mode, try to wake up from your Android phone.

If all goes well, try powering on after a regular shutdown as well. If it does not work, or something is missing during the configuration phase or the pc does not support waking up via LAN wifi.

Most computers can be configured to accept the magic packet that awakens them.

PC Auto Waker can also be set automatically, so as soon as the Android smartphone connects to the home or office Wifi network, the connected computer turns on.

As explained in another guide, through an Alexa skill it is also possible to turn on the PC with your voice.

If this is your first time dealing with this Wake-on-Lan setting, print this guide, try to follow it step by step and leave a comment to try to solve any problems

If you find it difficult, you can instead use the TeamViewer program which in its Extra options gives the possibility to configure the Wake On Lan in an automatic and simpler way.

At that point, from any computer or mobile phone where TeamViewer is installed, the PC can be awakened remotely, even via the internet.