You want to be able to enable Wake-On-LAN both remotely and from within the operating system.
The primary goal of this “How To” is to enable Wake On LAN for workstations that either need to be managed remotely, or need to be modified without physically accessing the BIOS on each computer. For the purposes of this demonstration I will be specifically referencing the Dell BIOS configuration utility, but the same basic concept can be applied to any other manufacturer’s BIOS utility and any other type of PC.
1. Download “Dell Command | Configure” from the following website:
2. Install and run the utility with administrative privileges.
3. In the interest of affecting the broadest number of machines possible select Multi-Platform Package as the type of package to create. Alternatively, if you select Local System Package it will automatically populate the utility with all of the options in the BIOS of the machine you are running the configuration utility from. At this point you can make any necessary changes before creating the installation package. This can be useful if you are creating a package for a large group of similar machines and you have access to one of them.
4. The primary options we will be selecting deal with both enabling Wake On LAN, and also disabling any features that explicitly prevent it from working. Enable the following:
- Enable Wake On LAN boot override
- Enable Wake On LAN
- Enable Block S3 sleep state
- Disable Deep Sleep Control (S4 & S5 typically need to be disabled in whichever BIOS is being used; the name for disabling these is sometimes different.)
5. Click “Export .EXE” in the bottom right of the window. At this point it will prompt you to enter a password for authentication in the BIOS. You may skip this if the BIOS’ you are modifying have no passwords configured.
6. At this point the package is ready to be run. Some ways of doing this remotely would be to distribute it via network share and execute commands with PSEXEC or GFI Remote Console. It could also be repackaged as an MSI (with appropriate software) and distributed via Group Policy.
Additional Troubleshooting Checklist
Other considerations to make are problems that can arise because of Windows’ own power management options. One example would be that if Wake On LAN is not enabled by the NIC driver (or if a generic/Windows Update driver is used) then Wake ON LAN may still not work.
You may check this by opening the Properties tab of your network device in Device Manager and selecting the Power Management tab. If that tab is present you will typically see three options listed:
- Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power
- Allow this device to wake the computer
- Only allow a magic packet to wake the computer
The second and third options should be checked, but if a generic Windows driver is installed you will typically not have an option to check the last two boxes without having checked off the first. If the first box is checked then WOL will not work after a proper Windows shutdown; the system will turn off power to the NIC. There is a registry workaround for this, but it does not always work, and it does not seem to be useful in Windows 8.
The most effective solution is to install the manufacturer’s driver for the NIC from either the computer OEM’s website or directly from the NIC manufacturer’s website. In most cases this will add Wake On LAN functionality to the Advanced tab of the NIC’s properties menu, and these override Windows specific settings.
A final consideration to make if WOL still does not work is to disable hibernation/sleep within Windows. The quickest way to do this is to open a Command Prompt with Administrator rights, and enter the following command:
powercfg -h off
Also, check the sleep settings in your power management console and make sure sleep is disabled.
This general combination of settings and troubleshooting steps will cover the majority of issues you may face with any recent version of Windows and any brand of PC.