Windows Tips & Tricks (August 2012) – Part 1 - Wake Your PC with a Smartphone or Tablet

9/10/2012 3:59:36 AM

Keep documents separate in the Windows 7 taskbar

The Windows 7 taskbar was a huge leap forward, but it can sometimes take longer to switch between multiple instances of the same program, as Windows automatically organizes them into a single button. To disable this, right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and then click the drop-down menu next to ‘Taskbar buttons:’ and select ‘Combine when taskbar is full.’

Wake Your PC with a Smartphone or Tablet

You'll need this

A PC capable of wake-on-LAN: We’ll show you how to find out if your system fits the bill.

A Smartphone or Tablet: Android, iOS, or Windows Phone 7 will all work.

Sometimes you need a computer on and you need it on now! The power-saving fea­tures in Windows are fantastic – they can switch a desktop PC from using 300 watts to just one watt when it's not being used. The problem is that in a modern house where you're often sharing your music, video, and photos with others, if that PC goes to sleep or is switched off, someone will be shouting for you to turn it back on.

Thankfully, there's a little-known and obscurely implemented feature in most PCs called Wake on LAN, or WoL. This is the ability for a PC that's either switched off or sleeping to be awakened from its slumber remotely from almost any oth­er device that's connected to the same wired or wireless network. By check­ing a few simple settings and installing a smartphone app, anyone can rouse a slumbering system remotely, so let’s show you how.

1.    Take some notes:

Networking is a complex subject. First, let's gather some useful information – prepare for lots of clicks! Down in the bottom-right of your desktop is the Notification area, where you'll see a network icon. Right-click this and choose Open Network and Sharing Center. Under the Connect or Discon­nect section, click the Local Area Connection link if you use a wired connection, or the Wireless link if you're on a wireless network.

Click Details in the new window that opens, and you’ll be presented with the Physical Address code and the IPv4 Address, among other details (image A). Write down both, as you will need that info later. Lastly, make a note of the Description – this is the name of the network adapter that’s being used, which you’ll need

Description: Image A

Image A

1.    Configure your network device:

To ensure your PC can actually wake from LAN, you need to check the network adapter. To do this click Start, right-click Computer, and select Manage. In the Computer Management window that opens select Device Manager and open the Network Adapters branch. You'll need to double-click the adapter named in the Description from the last step (image B).

Description: Image B

Image B

Double-click your adapter to open its Properties. Now click Power Management; you need to check both boxes here at the very least, especially the one marked ‘Allow this device to wake the computer’ (image C). It's also worth taking a look through the Advanced tab for any WoL or Wake settings and making sure these are set to Auto, or that all available options are chosen.

Description: Image C

Image C

2.    Configure your pc:

WoL works for systems that are switched off or sleeping, which can help save power. You can easily adjust the sleep settings by opening the Start menu, typing Power Options, and pressing Enter. Click the ‘Change plan settings’ link for the selected plan and this will enable you to choose how long the PC must remain idle before switching into sleep mode.

Sometimes you might want your system to go to sleep straight away. That's pretty easy to do by going to Start, clicking the Shutdown arrow, and selecting Sleep, but you can also create a desktop shortcut. To make one, right-click a blank area of the desktop, select New > Shortcut and type rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll, SetSuspendState (image D). Give it a name like ‘Sleep’ and click OK.

Description: Image D

Image D

3.    Wake your PC:

Using another PC on your home network, you'll need a bit of software to send the magic wake-up call. Try Depicus WOL ( Download and install it, and enter the IP and Physical Address (MAC) details you noted ear­lier (image E). Then enter for the Sub­net and select Local Subnet from Options. Click ‘Wake me up’ and the computer should spring back to life.

Description: Image E

Image E

Most mobile platforms have a wide selection of Wake on LAN (or WoL) tools available to them. Indeed, Depicus offers its own apps, so if you have an Apple iOS device, Windows Phone, or Android phone or tablet then you just need to download an app and enter the same details as in the last step. Make sure you're con­nected to your Wi-Fi, and you're done!

4.    Troubleshoot problems:

If you're having difficulty getting this to work, there are a couple of things you can check. Both systems have to be on the same net­work (image F), whether wired or wireless, as long as the two are connected. Secondly, within the adapter's properties in Step U, double check for mentions of a magic packet in any WoL setting, which needs to be switched on.

Description: Image F

Image F

Congratulations, you now have a system that can be awakened from its low-power slumber or off state, remotely and from almost any device that will connect to your net­work, including tablets and smartphones. This is going to help you save power, time, and effort, and should generally help make life easier when it comes to managing and running a home network.

  •  Windows 8's Unexpected Features (Part 3)
  •  Windows 8's Unexpected Features (Part 2)
  •  Windows 8's Unexpected Features (Part 1)
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 : Deploying DirectAccess (part 3) - Installing and configuring DirectAccess and network location server
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 : Deploying DirectAccess (part 2) - Creating a certificate revocation list (CRL) distribution point on the DirectAccess server
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 : Deploying DirectAccess (part 1) - Creating a certificate template for computer autoenrollment
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 : Planning to Deploy Directaccess
  •  Iwork Pro : Export Strength
  •  Is It Time To Ditch Windows Search? (Part 4) - Power tools,Search for files over Wi-Fi, Search your PC from your mobile phone
  •  Is It Time To Ditch Windows Search? (Part 3) - Search across the LAN
  •  Is It Time To Ditch Windows Search? (Part 2) - Search within files
  •  Is It Time To Ditch Windows Search? (Part 1) - Simple filename searches
  •  In Search Of The Perfect Mid-Tower (Part 4) - Thermaltake Level 10 GTS
  •  In Search Of The Perfect Mid-Tower (Part 3) - Corsair Obsidian 550D, NZXT Phantom 410 Gunmetal Edition
  •  In Search Of The Perfect Mid-Tower (Part 2) - Corsair Vengeance C70, MSI Ravager
  •  In Search Of The Perfect Mid-Tower (Part 1) - Antec Eleven Hundred, Silverstone Temjin Tj04-E
  •  Rebuilding The Dream (Machine) (Part 3)
  •  Rebuilding The Dream (Machine) (Part 2)
  •  Rebuilding The Dream (Machine) (Part 1)
  •  Toshiba Satellite C840 Review (Part 2)
    Top 10
    Letter Of The Month – November 2012 (Part 2)
    Letter Of The Month – November 2012 (Part 1)
    Mac App Store Sandboxing Nightmare
    iStopMotion 3
    That’s Online Entertainment (Part 3)
    That’s Online Entertainment (Part 2)
    That’s Online Entertainment (Part 1)
    How to Buy…A TV TUNER (Part 2)
    How to Buy…A TV TUNER (Part 1)
    Philips E-Line 273E3LH LED Monitor - Big-Screen-Entertainment
    Most View
    Managing Exchange Server 2010 : The Exchange Management Shell (part 3) - Reporting with the Exchange Management Shell
    Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10
    IIS 7.0 : Application Logging
    Loewe AirSpeaker - High-end AirPlay speaker system
    Windows Mobile Security - Introduction to the Platform
    Windows Phone 7 Development : Push Notifications - Implementing Cloud Service to Track Push Notifications
    OS X Mountain Lion - Bringing iOS features “back to the Mac” (Part 1)
    Bundle Up To Save Some Cash!
    Programming with DirectX : Game Math - Bounding Geometry (part 2) - Bounding Spheres & Bounding Hierarchies
    Programming .NET Security : Cryptographic Keys Explained
    Working with the Windows Phone 7 Application Life Cycle (part 2) - Managing Application State
    Exploring Sample Virtualized SharePoint 2010 Architecture
    Linking PCs with a Network : Choosing Between a Wired or Wireless Network
    Windows Vista : Windows PowerShell (part 2) - PowerShell Variables, PowerShell Scripts, Automate Scripts with the Task Scheduler
    Maintaining Windows 7 with Backup and Restore (part 1) - Creating a Backup & Restoring Files from a Backup
    Samsung NX200
    MSI Power Edition GeForce GTX 670
    NAS Devices: The Storage Centers (Part 4) - Qnap TS-219P II Turbo NAS, QNap TS-412 Turbo NAS
    Configuring Windows 7 NIC Devices (part 2) - Configuring Wireless NIC Devices
    The Download Directory - November 2012 (Part 3) - Multiplicity 2.0, LastPass Password Manager 2.0.0