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How to Set Up Wake-on-LAN (WOL) in Windows 8

windows8-wake-on-lan-tutorial

 

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a number of computers, mobile devices and streaming boxes in my household. But I still like to keep my photos, music, movies and documents centralized on my main computer. Thanks to Windows HomeGroup sharing and iTunes Home Sharing, I don’t have to walk all the way up to my office every time I want to access those files. However, I do have to ensure that my main computer is powered on. Now, I could leave my PC on 24/7, or even schedule my computer to sleep and wake automatically at a certain time of day.  But the method that’s easiest on my electricity bill is to only turn my computer on when I need it. Thanks to wake-on-LAN, I can do that without getting up off the couch.

The wake-on-LAN (WOL) protocol has long been used in IT settings to remotely manage computers, and it’s just as handy at home. With wake-on-LAN enabled, your computer will “listen” for a “magic packet” containing its MAC address while it is in sleep mode. The computer can be woken up by sending it a magic packet from another device on the network.

There are some caveats to this: First, wake-on-LAN only works with a wired Ethernet connection. There is such a thing as “wake on wireless LAN” (WoWLAN) but it’s much more complicated, and depending on your hardware, perhaps not even possible. Secondly, wake-on-LAN typically only works on your local area network. There are ways to configure wake-on-LAN to work via a magic packet sent from outside your home network via the Internet, but there are additional security considerations to factor in.

That all being said, WOL can be very useful for a house with many computers. Read on to learn how to set it up in Windows 8.

Enable Wake-on-LAN in Windows 8

Open Device Manager by pressing Win + X and clicking Device Manager.

open device manager in windows 8

You can also find it by right-clicking on the Start screen, choosing All Apps –> Control Panel –> Windows System –> Device Manger.

Expand Network Adapters. Look for your wired Ethernet network adapter (not to be confused with your wireless LAN adapter), right-click it and choose Properties.

device manager network adapter

Click the Power Management tab and check the boxes Allow this device to wake the computer and Only allow a magic packet to wake the computer. Click OK.

wake on lan power management settings

Find Out Your System’s MAC Address and IP Address

Next, you’ll need to know your computer’s MAC address (physical address) and IP address. To find the MAC address, make sure your computer is connected to your router via a wired Ethernet connection. Disconnect any wireless connections you may have been using.

Now, open the Network and Sharing Center from the Settings menu. In the upper-right pane, click on the Ethernet connection.

Windows 8 Network Sharing Center WOL

In the Ethernet Status window, click Details…

how to find MAC Address in windows 8

Your MAC address is listed next to Physical Address.

windows 8 mac address PHYSICAL ADDRESS

Your IP address will be the IPv4 address or IPv6 address, whichever is applicable. Note that this is the local IP address assigned to your machine by your router—it’s not the IP address that your computer will show up with on the Internet.

windows 8 media access control (MAC) address

Write both your MAC address and IP address down and use them in the next section.

Send a Magic Packet

Any device connected to your local area network can send a magic packet. My favorite way to wake my computer remotely is from my iPhone. I use Mocha VNC Lite, which is free. I also use Mocha VNC to remotely control my computer once it wakes up (note: I run TightVNC Server on my computer to allow that to work).

To send the magic packet from Mocha VNC Lite, simply configure a new VNC host by plugging in your computer’s IP address (or computer name) and the MAC address.

TIGHTVNC wake on lan Windows 8

Once you’ve given the program the correct IP and MAC address, you can send a magic packet using the Wake feature.

mochavnc iphone app

You may not get any confirmation that the WOL magic packet was received successfully, but if you try to initiate a VNC session, you’ll be able to tell if your computer is on or not.

MOCHAVNC wake on lan windows 8

If you want to wake a computer from another computer, you can use WOL Magic Packet Sender, a free Windows-based program.

wol magic packet sender

Notes and Troubleshooting

Wake-on-LAN can be a little bit finicky, depending on how your system is built and configured. If you are having trouble with this tutorial, try some of these fixes:

Disable Fast Startup

One of Windows 8’s claims to fame is its fast startup, which uses a “hybrid shutdown” similar to hibernation whenever you “turn off” your computer. This hybrid shutdown / fast startup does speed up your boot times, but it has been known to interfere with wake-on-LAN.  Personally, I didn’t have to do this step to get wake-on-LAN to work on my Windows 8 laptop. But if you have trouble, you might want to try this.

To do it, go to Control Panel –> Hardware and Sound –> Power Options and select Choose what the power buttons do.

power options

Uncheck the option Turn on fast startup (recommended). Note you may have to click Change settings that are unavailable at the top. Otherwise, the option will be grayed out.

fast-startup

 

Enable Wake-on-LAN in the BIOS Setup

If you are running Windows 7 or earlier, you may need to tweak your BIOS settings to allow wake-on-LAN.  Windows 8’s boot loader precludes any tinkering in the BIOS, but for earlier versions of Windows, you can press F2, DEL, F10 or whatever key is displayed when your PC first boots up to enter the BIOS setup. In the BIOS setup screen, look for an option such as “Wake from PCI device” or “Allow wake from Ethernet” or “Enable wake-on-LAN.”

IP Address vs. Computer Name

The easiest way to send a WOL magic packet to the right destination is to reference the computer name (“JACK-LAPTOP”). But if that doesn’t work, try typing in the IP address assigned by your router. You can use the method from above for getting your computer’s IP address, or you can check your router’s status page. Just make sure you are getting the IP address for the active wired Ethernet connection, and not a cached wireless LAN connection.

Still having trouble? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to help you out.

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11 Responses to How to Set Up Wake-on-LAN (WOL) in Windows 8

  1. Dave Supinski September 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    I am running Win8 Professional on a Compaq Presario 1820NX. I have gone through the steps you have described and just cannot get Wake on Lan to work. My only option in the bios is WOL-S4 mode which is enabled. I am running a 1gbps PCI network card. There is an integrated LAN controller which I am not using. i disabled the integrated LAN controller in the bios. I have tried waking the computer from a complete shutdown as well as Hibernate mode and also Sleep mode. The computer wakes from sleep mode when I move the mouse but not when I send a magic packet. I have also tried removing the network card, enabled the integrated LAN card and have gone through the steps you describe – but it still will not work. I am out of ideas but this is important to me as this machine is functioning as a server. I would prefer not to have it powered up 24X7. Thanks in advance. David

  2. Dave Supinski September 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    One other thing…. I am running the 64 bit version of Windows 8

  3. Wibout September 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    There is no need to disable the fast startup.
    Just make sure the option “Shutdown Wake Up” on your NIC is set to “Enabled”.
    This will allow the wake on lan of a Windows 8 PC even after a normal shutdown.

    • CoolRaoul October 26, 2013 at 2:07 am #

      Could be OK if only I had that “shutdown wake up” option on my NIC settings

      You should be aware that everyone does’nt have the same network card as you have

  4. pixa November 1, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    I am using windows 8.1 and after i shutdown my pc,my lan card also shuts down.How can i keep it on while my pc is off

    • Steve Krause November 1, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Check the settings in your BIOS. Sometimes you need to enable “WAKE ON LAN” in your BIOS settings. Depending on your PC Model, usually you hit the DEL key when you turn on a PC or hit F12 a few times to enter the BIOS settings. It should prompt you when you turn the PC off then on again.

      -S

  5. pixa November 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Thank you…I solved this problem….in Windows 8 and 8.1 WOL is enabled only if you hibernate or sleep pc.

  6. kris November 27, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    i managed to work this out with windows 8.1 pro 64 bit from normal shutdown not sleep or hibernate..it was working good with port 9 when i was using my old isp
    (old isp modem router was TP-Link ADSL type)
    (My Mainboard is Gigabyte H-77N Wifi)

    few days ago i changed different isp (more download speed) re-port forward again to port 9..it is not working until yesterday …then i noticed in some article to try use port 65535..it works..but often fail..sometimes it works..and sometimes it doesn’t work…
    (New ISP modem is Cisco DPC2320)….. Even port 21 is closed..maybe my isp blocked port 9 and 21 after i check onlien those 2 port are blocked.

    But when i tried RDP with port 3389..it works!, I can log in via internet (not same lan network)

  7. Grant April 14, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    I think one thing you need to make clear is that this will only work if you sleep or hibernate your PC. If you shut down you’ll have problems.

  8. Petes May 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Windows will shutdown the port if you turn your computer OFF, the only way to stop Windows from shutting down the port if to disable the option “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” but if you disable it, the Wake On LAN options also get disabled.

    I have enabled magic packets in the BIOS.

    Any solution for this? I had zero problems with older verisions of windows.

    • CoolRaoul May 24, 2014 at 3:58 am #

      With some BIOS/NIC Cards combinations; Windows 8 disable WOL just before shutdown unless you disable fast startup.

      Look here: http://www.teamviewer.com/en/res/pdf/TeamViewer-Manual-Wake-on-LAN-en.pdf

      “Under Windows 8, the standard shutdown procedure puts the computer into a “hybrid shutdown state. Because Windows 8 does not support Wake-on-LAN for this state, it is advisable to deactivate the fast startup. Once fast startup has been deactivated, the computer is always put into hibernation when shutdown.”

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