How To Setup Wake On LAN Using The MAC Address

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So you want to have your machines go to sleep when they are not working and then be able to remotely connect to them and have them automagically respond? This is cross platform and can potentially work on any computer.

The computers can be in a totally powered off state (but still connected to the power outlet) and woken up all the way to a simple stand-by mode. This is called Wake On LAN. According to Wikipedia, Wake-on-LAN is an Ethernet computer networking standard that allows a computer to be turned on or woken up by a message. The message is usually sent by a simple program executed on another computer on the local area network. Wake-on-LAN is also known as Wake on LAN, WOL, or sometimes WoL. It may also be known as Remote Wake-Up or RWU.


Before we begin, we should go over the system requirements for using Wake On LAN. The system you are launching the Wake On LAN command from does not need to match the requirements — just the machine you will be waking up. Here they are, right from the same Wikipedia page:

Wake-on-LAN support is implemented on the motherboard of a computer and the network interface, and as such, is not dependent on the operating system running on the hardware, although the operating system can sometimes control the Wake-on-LAN behavior. If the network interface is a plug-in card rather than being integrated into the motherboard, the card may need to be connected to the motherboard by a cable. Motherboards with an embedded Ethernet controller which supports Wake-on-LAN do not need a cable.

If you are having issues with WOL, check your BIOS setting and make sure if the Ethernet card is a add-on card, it is still connected to the motherboard via a cable.

wake on LAN mac address

There are many ways to trigger a Wake On LAN event and we will be exploring how to do Wake on LAN using the Mac Address of the machine in question. The MAC address is a unique address given to your network adapter or NIC. To find your MAC address, you can dig into your network adapter’s properties. But to find a remote machine’s MAC address or yours easily, we can use this simple command line application MCGETMAC.EXE. Download that and run it from the command line like so:

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wake on LAN mac address

You need to go to Start – Run and type CMD then navigate to the directory you stored MCGETMAC.exe and then run it using either of these two syntaxes:

MCGETMAC.exe Hostname

MCGETMAC.exe IP Address

So I could use MCGETMAC.exe 127.0.0.1 to return my local machine’s MAC address or I could use MCGETMAC.exe KarlXP to grab it. Once you have it, store it in a safe place. Next, we will need to download MC-WOL.EXE both of these files are from here.

Save that EXE file to the same place you have saved MCGETMAC.exe for ease of use. Now you can go back to your CMD window and type MC-WOL.exe and the MAC address. In my case, I typed MC-WOL.exe 00:0C;F1:F9:6F:F2 and hit Enter. This was my result:

wake on LAN mac address

The “Magic Packet” was sent to my remote machine and I was able to wake it up. Now I can include these commands in batch files or scripts and save power and money while I am at it!

And for some more good reading, check out this post on 3 ways to shut down your computer over the Internet.

Have you ever used the Wake on LAN feature with the mac address? Any luck getting it to work properly?

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Comments (12)
  • BC

    Hyena costs $250US per license. MC-WOL is free.

    As long as you know the MAC address in advance, this works great. Thanks, Karl.

    If you don’t know the MAC address nor have access to the machine to find the MAC, maybe you should not be trying to start that device,

  • Paf

    On the AppStore there are some apps to do that from the iPhone. Unfortunately my macs and pcs are connected wirelessly to the router.

  • Josh

    Oh, and yes, this computer is WOL capable.

  • Josh

    This is pure fail. All I ever get is “Error enumeration ARP table!” Doesn’t matter if it’s on or off.

    • Karl Gechlik

      Josh I have a few questions for you. What OS are you running? Is your Nic on board or a add on card? What point did you get the error on trying to retrieve the mac address or wol? I would like to help you but I need more info.

    • Josh

      OS on the PC I’m trying to send the request from is XP. The PC I’m trying to wake is Vista. The mc-wol works fine when you know the MAC already; it’s mcgetmac I’m having a problem with. The NIC is onboard and WOL is enabled. Tested mc-wol with the MAC and it worked. Tried getting the MAC when this PC was off and it gives the FQDN, IP, and above listed error when I use the PC name. When I use the IP with mcgetmac it tells me “Invalid parameter ‘IP'”. Just an FYI – this is in a business environment, not at home. The two PC’s are in the same subnet.

    • Karl Gechlik

      Thanks for the update. So if you are having issues getting the Mac address do this. Drop to a command prompt and use the command without quotes ‘ipconfig /all’

      Look for physical address that is the mac address. This has to be done from the machine you want to find the mac on though.

    • Josh

      Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of mcgetmac then?

    • Digerati

      If I could ipconfig/all on the computer that I want to “wake up” what is the point of mcgetmac? Then there is the fact that I am already at the pc?

      This is failsauce all the way.

      Hyena from system tools does this with no problems

    • Karl Gechlik

      Yes but I have no way of troubleshooting your issue from here and if you want to use WOL that would be the only suggestion to grab the MAC. There are other programs but they do rely on the same mechanism to retrieve it.. You can always remote desktop or vnc into the machine and retrieve it. You only have to get it once.

  • Neal

    Have you tried using WOL with a computer that has a password on the BIOS? If you were able to work around or deal with the password issue, will you share your solution with us?

    • Karl Gechlik

      Depends of the system sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Disable the bios password and test if that is your issue. Most newer systems and bioses can do this. Try updating your machine to the latest version of bios as well.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.