As the VCR Project has been coming along, I’ve been looking to see what features I could add to make the system more robust. Since the system also serves as a repository for all my media, I needed a way to be able to access the system remotely in case it was powered down. Wake on LAN (WoL) is a useful protocol that will wake a system from hibernation upon receipt of a special information packet sent to it. Enabling it in Windows 7 is a simple process of flipping a few software switches.
Firstly, we have to make sure that Wake on LAN is enabled on the Ethernet adapter. Do this by right-clicking the adapter icon in the System Tray, and opening the Network and Sharing Center. In the left sidebar, click “Change adapter settings”. Right-click your Ethernet adapter and click “Properties,” then click on the “Configure” button.
Click the “OK” button to close, then head back to the Control Panel for program settings. In the “Programs and Features” dialog, click “Turn Windows Features On or Off” from the left sidebar.
Install Simple TCPIP Services by checking the box next to it and clicking the “OK” button.
To activate the service, open the Start Menu and type “Services” into the search box and press Enter.
Highlight “Simple TCP/IP Services” in the list and click “Start” to activate the service.
We still have to punch a hole through the firewall to get the service to work, so open the Windows Firewall settings from the “System and Security” list in the Control Panel. Then, select “Advanced settings” from the left sidebar.
Highlight “Inbound Rules” from the tree on the left, and click “New Rule…” under “Actions”.
Select “Port” from the list in the wizard, then specify UDP protocol and port 9. The rest of the settings can be left at their defaults for now. Give your rule a name that’s easy to remember, and click “Finish”.
Finally, make sure that Wake on LAN is enabled in the BIOS settings and forward requests for port 9 to the correct internal IP address in your router.
To use the WoL feature that you’ve just enabled, you will need a piece of software to send the packet. There are dozens of free applications and websites to do this, but each one needs three specific pieces of information:
- The target’s MAC address
- The target’s IP address
- The WoL port number (9)