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10 Best Wake on LAN Software Tools to Remotely Power on PCs

Wake on LAN (WOL) is a handy technology that allows you to remotely power on PCs and devices over a local network. With WOL enabled on a computer‘s BIOS and network card, you can send special "magic packets" to wake up machines – even from sleep or hibernation mode. This allows you to access files, perform maintenance, and control devices when physically away.

There are many great software tools available for sending WOL magic packets to client machines across a LAN. The right WOL manager for you depends on your use case, platform, and how advanced of a feature set you require.

In this comprehensive guide, I evaluate 10 top wake on LAN programs to help you decide which solution best fits your remote power-on needs.

How Does Wake on LAN Work?

Before diving into WOL software, let‘s briefly cover how the technology works under the hood.

The wake on LAN feature must be enabled in a computer‘s BIOS settings and network adapter to allow remote waking. With those configured, a magic packet containing the device‘s MAC address is sent over the LAN using UDP on ports 7 and 9.

The packet acts as a special trigger that signals the receiving machine to power on. This enables waking from shut down, sleep, and hibernation states.

Now let‘s look at some software managers that handle creating and sending of magic packets behind the scenes to streamline WOL remote access.

Best Wake on LAN Software

1. SolarWinds Wake on LAN Tool

SolarWinds offers a built-in WOL integrated tool as part of its flagship Engineer‘s Toolset for network monitoring and management.

This tool provides an easy way to send wake on LAN packets to client devices right from the monitoring dashboard. Simply enter the device IP and MAC address then send the magic packet with one-click to power on machines.

The Wake on LAN utility supports waking multiple computers in batches. It can also be automated to send scheduled WOL packets for recurring remote access needs.

As with all SolarWinds solutions, the interface is clean and intuitive. It also integrates seamlessly with other modules like network topology mapping, SNMP monitoring, and application analytics.

An free trial lets you test drive the WOL capbilities along with 30+ other tools. SolarWinds Engineer‘s Toolset starts at $1,895 for the full suite.

2. WakeMeOnLan

WakeMeOnLan from NirSoft is a popular free wake on LAN manager for Windows. Though simple in terms of user interface, it provides reliable functionality for both manual and automated WOL access.

To get started, simply launch the app then enter the PC name, IP, or MAC address you wish to wake. With one click the magic packet will be constructed and sent automatically.

The software also includes handy features like network scanning to discover device IPs and MACs for loading into the manager. You can easily export and import your computer inventory too.

For those needing more advanced automation, WakeMeOnLan supports triggering WOL packets based on task scheduler events in Windows. This allows scheduling remote waking scenarios based on time, logins, or other system events.

Being a portable app, WakeMeOnLan requires no installation and leaves no registry changes behind on a system. It‘s lightweight and a great free offering for basic to intermediate wake on LAN needs.

3. EMCO Remote Shutdown

EMCO Remote Shutdown is a full-featured WOL manager that makes it easy to automate powering on PCs for maintenance, updates, backups, etc.

The software goes beyond basic wake on LAN sending to provide complete remote access capabilities. This includes forcing shutdown/reboot of computers plus a variety of scheduling and automation options.

Adding devices is a breeze with automatic MAC fetching. You can then designate static Computer Collections to repeatedly wake the same device group on demand or via scheduled task. WOL packets can be sent across subnets for wider remote access.

The tool also logs task results for auditing and troubleshooting failed jobs. Email alerts can notify admins of issues with scheduled jobs or offline devices attempting to be woken.

EMCO supplies a free trial to test functionality before needing to purchase. Licenses start at $69 for businesses to enable full remote power features across the network.

4. PSWake

PSWake is a special wake on LAN tool focused on IT pros who manage Windows domains and computers. The app integrates directly with Active Directory (AD) to discover devices for sending WOL packets.

Instead of needing to manually input IP and MAC details, you simply bind to AD then browse domains and computers like standard Windows Explorer navigation. Right click on any powered off device and send a wake on LAN packet instantly.

You can also run parameterized WOL jobs across groups of systems based on computer name, description, OS, etc. This allows easily waking batches like "All Windows 10" for updates in one click.

Being built exclusively for Windows enterprise usage, PSWake understands AD OUs, groups, mobility, off-network devices and more. It also avoids bombarding offline systems that would fail to wake anyways.

You can download and try PSWake for free without any functional limitations. It‘s $25 per admin for production AD environments after testing.

5. WOL Magic Packet Sender

WOL Magic Packet Sender by Depicus is one of the simplest free WOL utilities available for Windows.

The no-frills app provides a streamlined interface solely focused on sending magic packets across the LAN. Input a device‘s MAC address manually or load from a predefined list then hit Send.

Understanding home users often don‘t know technical details of their devices, WOL Magic Packet Sender has integrated network scanning support. This discovers local machines which you can then select and wake without needing to provide MAC or IPs.

For those managing larger deployments, the tool accommodates listing multiple MAC addresses which allows broadcasting to entire groups simultaneously.

Overall this is a great option if you want basic WOL sending without dealing with excess features or complex UIs. Being a portable executable, there‘s also no installation necessary to start using the software.

6. Packet Sender

Packet Sender lives up to its name – allowing sending of any custom network packet content manually or on repeat.

While built as a generic packet generator, the software can easily be leveraged specifically for wake on LAN magic packets. Simply enable the WOL preset then input destination MACs for the broadcast.

Packet Sender runs on Windows, Linux and OS X, making it a cross-platform pick. The interface focuses mainly on allowing raw editing of packet headers and payloads for advanced testing. But again for WOL purposes, you can stick to the presets and basic data entry.

Being open source and free, I definitely recommend Packet Sender if exploring beyond just Windows wake on LAN tools. It delivers the same magic packet sending abilities with extra protocol customization potential if ever needed.

7. LAN Wakeup Tool

LAN Wakeup Tool is another great free and portable WOL manager for Windows. It provides the standard ability to power up PCs by MAC address along with a few extra useful features.

One is a discovery mode that scans your local network subnet and reports back available device IP and MAC addresses. These can be exported or saved to predefined host lists for quick waking access later.

The tool also confirms successful (or failed) sending statuses when dispatching your magic packets across the LAN. Beyond manual on-demand sending, you can configure schedules to automate remote wake ups as needed.

Ultimately if seeking a reliable, standalone wake on LAN controller without cost or complexity, LAN Wakeup Tool hits all the key needs. It may not have as expansive a feature set as paid solutions but covers the basics very well.

8. Wakeup

Wakeup lives up to its name directly – providing a streamlined interface solely focused on sending WOL packets to client PCs on demand or via scheduling.

The open source software runs on Windows and OS X giving you platform flexibility. To operate, simply launch then input the target machine‘s MAC or IP address to trigger a remote wake up.

You can save multiple hosts for quick re-waking without needing to reinput addresses each time. Or configure schedules based on days of week, dates or times to automate WOL packets sending based on routines.

As a standalone WOL manager, Wakeup delivers reliable functionality without extra frills or complex menus to deal with. So if needing just simple yet consistent remote waking capabilities, it‘s a solid freeware pick.

9. Intel Remote Wake Technology

Computer manufacturer Intel offers Remote Wake Technology drivers that enable sending magic packets from one system directly to another peer Intel-based machine.

This allows easily waking a modern Intel desktop or laptop from another powered on device in the house without needing a third party tool. You would just install the driver package on both computers to enable peer triggering capacities.

The solution only works exclusively between Intel hardware without ability to integrate other vendors. But for Intel-centric shops seeking dead simple power on abilities between issuing and receiving devices, the Remote Wake drivers do deliver.

And being from Intel directly carries the assurance that WOL handshakes will be smooth across their chipsets. So could be worth testing for Intel-only environments currently relying on manual remote wake ups.

10. Advanced IP Scanner

Advanced IP Scanner lives up to its name with comprehensive device discovery, inventory and reporting capabilities across networks large and small.

While built fully as an address management platform, the software contains integrated wake on LAN abilities to remotely power discovered devices.

After scanning any IP subnet, you can select discovered systems directly from the centralized inventory list then send WOL packets instantly. This saves needing to gather MAC addresses manually beforehand.

You can also leverage Advanced IP Scanner‘s bulk export abilities to feed data to third party WOL tools if preferred. Features like regularly scheduled scans help keep your device inventory actively maintained as well.

If needing full LAN monitoring capabilities but also plan to remotely wake systems, Advanced IP Scanner checks both boxes solidly. They offer a free version so you can validate WOL integration meets your needs before purchasing.

WOL Manager Comparison

Here‘s a quick high-level comparison of the various wake on LAN software solutions highlighted above:

Software Free Windows Mac Linux Key Features
SolarWinds Trial Yes Integrates with network monitoring suite. Easy automated WOL jobs.
WakeMeOnLan Yes Yes Lightweight and portable. Task scheduler integration.
EMCO Remote Shutdown Trial Yes Full-featured for automation. Email alerts and reporting.
PSWake Free Version Yes Specialized for waking Windows domains via AD.
WOL Magic Packet Sender Yes Yes Simple interface solely focused on WOL sending.
Packet Sender Yes Yes Yes Yes Cross-platform packet generator useful for WOL.
LAN Wakeup Tool Yes Yes Confirmations on WOL sending status reported.
Wakeup Yes Yes Yes Streamlined waking by IP/MAC. Scheduling capabilities.
Intel Remote Wake Free Yes Direct wake between same-vendor PCs. No 3rd party software needed.
Advanced IP Scanner Free Version Yes Network inventory integration. WOL built-in.

Choosing Your WOL Manager

With the major wake on LAN tools and capabilities covered, which solution(s) make the most sense for your environment?

Here are some key considerations when deciding on a WOL manager:

  • Platform Support – Windows-only or cross-platform for Mac/Linux?
  • Learning Curve – Need simple vs advanced feature set?
  • Cost – Free, trial or paid version?
  • Automation – Schedules for recurring remote waking?
  • Monitoring Integration – Single pane of glass with network inventory?

For those supporting Windows clients in business settings, I highly recommend SolarWinds, EMCO Remote Shutdown or PSWake. All provide advanced functionality like automation while integrating with broader IT ecosystem.

Smaller teams can still benefit from freeware like WakeMeOnLan and LAN Wakeup Tool. Just be aware you may sacrifice things like scheduling or degree of polish.

Going beyond the Windows-centric selections, Packet Sender runs great on Macs and Linux deployments too. So it can deliver WTC ubiquity for cross-platform shops needing consistency.

WOL Prerequisite Checklist

Before wrapping up, I want to share a quick checklist to ensure your devices and infrastructure fully support wake on LAN capabilities:

1. Motherboard WOL Support – Ensure your PC motherboard and network interface card provide basic Magic Packet detection support when in sleep mode. This is usually a BIOS setting.

2. Power Setting Check – Don‘t override wake on LAN with other power management modes. You want WOL taking priority for network-based triggers.

3. Enable By Adapter – Head into your Ethernet Adapter settings on Devices and explicitly enable ability to wake the computer under advanced properties.

4. Firmware Updates – Validate both motherboard and network adapter firmware are updated. Older versions may not handle newer WOL standards.

5. Test Magic Packet – Use third party packet sniffer on LAN junction point to monitor UDP ports 7 and 9 then send a test magic packet from WOL software to confirm successful reception by client.

Conclusion

I hope this guide has helped illustrate what to look for and expect with the most popular wake on LAN software solutions available. Each bring their own strengths catering to particular platforms, audiences and feature preferences.

Fundamentally, all WOL managers aim to provide reliable magic packet sending to securely wake machines across local networks for remote administration.

If investing in paid tools, be sure to download any free trials first to validate capabilities match your specific environment and wake on LAN needs. For cost sensitive shops, don‘t overlook the free utilities highlighted earlier as well. They can often get the job done perfectly fine.

Let me know if you have any other additional questions as you move forward selecting and implementing your organization‘s WOL manager!