What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Probably turn on your computer. Whether you tap your keyboard, move your mouse, or press the power button, you have to be at your computer before you can start it. Wouldn’t it be nice if your computer was ready to go?
Let us show you how to use your Android device to remotely power on your PC. Tomorrow, you can get to your desk with Windows already booted.
Before You Start
For this setup to work, your computer must support Wake-on-LAN (WoL). WoL is a feature of the motherboard. The easiest way to find out whether your computer supports WoL is to boot into the BIOS and check the power management settings. Press the correct key at boot (try ESC, DEL, F2, or F8), and your computer should enter the BIOS.
Once you’re inside the BIOS, look for the Wake On LAN setting and enable it. You’re likely to find this along with other settings related to power management or networking. BIOS options vary from computer to computer, so you might have to do some digging of your own.
If you cannot find an option for Wake on LAN, the following setup likely won’t work. However, you can still set Windows up to launch selected programs at boot.
The Quick & Easy Setup
If your PC does support WoL, your first step is to install Wake On Lan, a free Android app.
Download: Wake On Lan (Free)
Next, we need to connect your Android device to your Windows computer using the app.
When you first open the app, it will look pretty bleak. Tap the + icon in the bottom right and follow the on-screen instructions to add your first device.
Once you follow the app’s instructions, it will search for devices connected to your local network. If many computers, phones, and tablets use your internet connection, the list can be confusing. The easiest way to identify your target computer is through its MAC address.
To find your computer’s MAC address, head over to your computer, press Windows key + R, enter CMD, and hit Enter. Then type ipconfig/all into the command prompt and press Enter. This command will reveal your computer’s Physical Address, a string of six two-digit numbers, also known as the MAC address.
Now return to the app and select the entry with the matching MAC address. Choose a nickname for the device and choose the appropriate Wi-Fi network.
Once you’ve added your computer to the app, it’s time to see if it works! Place your computer in Sleep or Hibernate mode (Start > Power > Sleep / Hibernate), and press the Wake button on the Wake On Lan app.
If it works, great! If not, you have two more settings to check.
The Nitty Gritty Setup
So, you’ve enabled WoL in the BIOS and set up the app as described above, and it still didn’t wake your computer? Try the following settings.
Enable WoL for Your Network Adapter
You probably haven’t set up your network adapter to accept a Wake-On-LAN packet.
In Windows 10, right-click the Start button and select Device Manager. You can also do a Windows Search for Device Manager. Navigate to Network Adapters, right-click the one you use to connect with the internet, and select Properties.
On the Power Management tab, you’ll find three checkboxes, including Allow this device to wake the computer and Only allow a magic packet to wake the computer. If they’re not already checked, do so. This should clear up any trouble that’s causing the Android app to malfunction.
Disable Fast Startup
WoL only works when you’re trying to wake the computer from Sleep or Hibernation. WoL doesn’t work with the default hybrid shutdown in Windows 8 and Windows 10. The simple solution is to turn off fast startup.
Open the Control Panel, search for Power Options, and select Change what the power buttons do. At the top, click Change settings that are currently unavailable, then scroll down and uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended). Finally, click Save changes .
Now put your computer to Sleep (Start > Power > Sleep) and try this again. Is it finally working?
Once you have set up the Wake On Lan app, you can start your computer with the tap of a button.
Unfortunately, this app won’t let you wake your computer automatically; for example, waking your computer based on a schedule or as your phone makes a connection with your Wi-Fi network. For the latter, try PCAutoWaker, though note that the app hasn’t been updated since 2011.
Wish you could do this from a PC? Try one of these apps to remote control your Windows computer.
Can you recommend similar apps to wake a computer from an Android phone? What’s your reason to use Wake-on-LAN? Let’s hear your experiences in the comments!
Originally written by Matt Smith on May 31st, 2011.