How To Fix The Wake on LAN Not Working Issue on Windows 10/11 and Linux

Wake on LAN (WoL) is a powerful network feature that allows a computer to be woken up remotely from a low-power state or even when completely powered off.

This can be particularly useful in a business environment for system maintenance or in home setups for convenience. However, users often encounter difficulties with getting WoL to work properly.

This comprehensive article explores the nature of Wake on LAN issues, their causes, and provides step-by-step instructions for resolving these issues on both Windows 10/11 and Linux systems.

We’ll also discuss the operational aspects of WoL, including whether it only works in sleep mode and the safety implications of enabling this feature.

Wake on LAN Not Working

Understanding Wake on LAN

Wake on LAN allows a computer to be started remotely by sending a network message, known as a “magic packet,” targeted at the computer’s network interface card (NIC) or onboard network controller.

The magic packet contains the MAC address of the NIC, instructing the computer to wake up.

Common Causes of WoL Malfunctions

  1. BIOS/UEFI Settings: If WoL is not enabled in the BIOS/UEFI settings, it will not function.
  2. Operating System Configuration: The operating system must be configured to allow WoL, including driver support and power management settings.
  3. Network Configuration: Incorrect network configurations or unsupported features in routers and switches can prevent WoL packets from reaching the target machine.
  4. Firewall Settings: Firewalls can block WoL packets if not properly configured.

Step-by-Step Solutions to Fix WoL Errors

For Windows 10/11

Step 1: Enable WoL in BIOS/UEFI

  • Reboot your system and enter the BIOS/UEFI settings (usually by pressing F2, F10, DEL, or ESC immediately after turning on the computer).
  • Navigate to the power management or advanced tab and enable settings like “Wake on LAN,” “Power on by PCIe/PCI,” or similar.
  • Save and exit the BIOS/UEFI.

Step 2: Configure Network Adapter Settings

  • Go to Device Manager (Right-click on Start and choose Device Manager).
  • Expand “Network adapters,” right-click your network adapter, and select “Properties.”
  • Go to the “Power Management” tab and ensure “Allow this device to wake the computer” is checked.
  • In the “Advanced” tab, ensure that “Wake on Magic Packet” and similar settings are enabled.

Step 3: Adjust Windows Power Settings

  • Open Control Panel, go to Hardware and Sound > Power Options.
  • Click “Change plan settings” next to your active power plan.
  • Click “Change advanced power settings.”
  • Ensure that “Allow wake timers” is enabled under the “Sleep” settings.

For Linux

Step 1: Check Network Interface Card Support

  • Open Terminal and type ethtool [interface] (replace [interface] with your network interface name, e.g., eth0).
  • Look for “Supports Wake-on” and ensure it includes ‘g’ (for magic packet).

Step 2: Enable WoL on the NIC

  • Still in Terminal, type sudo ethtool -s [interface] wol g.

Step 3: Ensure the Setting Persists After Reboot

  • Edit the /etc/network/interfaces file or create a new script in /etc/network/if-up.d/ to include the ethtool -s [interface] wol g command.

Using CMD and Shortcuts in Windows and Linux

In both Windows and Linux, command-line tools like cmd in Windows and terminal in Linux can be used to enable or check Wake on LAN settings through tools like powercfg in Windows or ethtool in Linux.

Operational Aspects of Wake on LAN

Does Wake-on-LAN Only Work in Sleep Mode?

No, WoL can work from any powered-off state, provided the motherboard continues to supply power to the network card. This includes sleep mode, hibernation, and in some configurations, a completely powered-off state.

Is It Safe to Enable Wake-on-LAN?

Yes, enabling WoL is generally safe. However, it does expose your computer to a potential remote wake-up, which could be a security concern if the network is compromised. Ensure your network is secure and consider using VPNs or other security measures if using WoL over the internet.

Further Insights and Advanced Tips for Wake on LAN Optimization

Once you have the basic setup of Wake on LAN functioning correctly, there are several additional considerations and advanced configurations that can enhance the reliability and security of using WoL, particularly in complex network environments or when managing multiple devices.

Ensuring Network Compatibility

Configure Network Equipment

  • Routers and Switches: Ensure that any routers or switches between the WoL magic packet source and the target device support WoL packets. Some network devices might block these packets by default. You may need to configure specific settings such as “port forwarding” for WoL to work across different network segments.

Test Network Path

  • Network Testing Tools: Use tools like Wireshark to monitor if the magic packets are reaching the target device. This can help identify any points where the packets are being dropped.

Automating Wake on LAN

Task Scheduling

  • Windows: Use the Task Scheduler to automate sending WoL packets based on specific events or times. For example, you can set the computers to wake up before the workday starts.
  • Linux: Use cron jobs to schedule wake-up times or script triggers based on server activity or maintenance schedules.

Scripting and Automation Tools

  • Utilize scripting to automate the sending of magic packets. Tools and scripts like PowerShell on Windows or Bash scripts on Linux can be used to automate these processes across many machines.

Security Considerations

Using Secure Networks

  • When deploying WoL, particularly over the internet, ensure that the network is secure. Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to encrypt the traffic, especially the magic packets, to prevent unauthorized access.

Implement MAC Address Filtering

  • Configure your network to filter out unknown MAC addresses. This ensures that only recognized devices can send or receive WoL packets, adding an extra layer of security.

Advanced Troubleshooting

Check BIOS/UEFI Versions

  • In some cases, older BIOS/UEFI firmware might have bugs that affect WoL functionality. Ensure your firmware is up to date, and check manufacturer forums or support sites for any specific WoL issues related to your motherboard.

Detailed Event Logging and Monitoring

  • Set up logging and monitoring on your devices to capture detailed information about wake events. This can help diagnose failed WoL attempts and identify unauthorized wake attempts.

Wake on LAN in Enterprise Environments

Managing Multiple Devices

  • In an enterprise environment, managing WoL across multiple devices can be challenging. Consider enterprise management tools that support WoL functionality, which can provide centralized management and monitoring capabilities.

Compliance and Policy

  • Ensure that your use of WoL complies with IT policies and security standards. Document all configurations and keep a record of all devices with WoL enabled for auditing and troubleshooting purposes.


Troubleshooting Wake on LAN issues requires a systematic approach, addressing BIOS/UEFI, operating system, and network configurations.

By ensuring all settings are correctly configured and understanding how WoL operates, you can effectively use this feature in both Windows and Linux environments.

Always consider the security implications of enabling remote features and ensure your network is protected against unauthorized access.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wake on LAN

Q1: What is Wake on LAN (WoL)?

Wake on LAN is a networking standard that allows a computer to be turned on or woken up remotely by a network message sent over the local network or the internet. This message is known as a “magic packet.”

Q2: Why is my Wake on LAN not working?

Common reasons for WoL not working include:

  • BIOS/UEFI settings not configured properly: WoL must be enabled in your system’s BIOS or UEFI settings.
  • Improper network configuration: The network needs to be configured to allow WoL packets (magic packets) to pass through.
  • Operating system settings: The operating system’s network adapter settings may need to be adjusted to enable WoL.
  • Firewall blocking the magic packet: Some firewalls might block WoL packets.

Q3: How do I enable Wake on LAN in BIOS/UEFI?

  1. Restart your computer and enter the BIOS/UEFI setup (this usually involves pressing a key like F2, DEL, ESC, or F10 during the boot process).
  2. Look for settings labeled something like “Power Management” or “Remote Wake Up” and enable any options related to Wake on LAN or “Wake on PCI-E.”
  3. Save your changes and exit the BIOS/UEFI setup.

Q4: How can I activate Wake on LAN on Windows 10/11?

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand “Network Adapters” and find your network device.
  3. Right-click on the device and select “Properties.”
  4. Go to the “Power Management” tab and make sure that “Allow this device to wake the computer” is checked.
  5. In the “Advanced” tab, ensure that “Wake on Magic Packet” is enabled.

Q5: How do I configure Wake on LAN on Linux?

  1. Determine your network interface name using the command ip link or ifconfig.
  2. Use ethtool to enable WoL by typing sudo ethtool -s [interface name] wol g.
  3. To ensure the setting persists after reboot, add the ethtool command to your network configuration or a startup script.

Q6: Does Wake on LAN only work in sleep mode?

No, Wake on LAN can work from any power state, including fully powered off, sleep, and hibernate, as long as the motherboard continues to supply power to the network card.

Q7: Is it safe to enable Wake on LAN?

Enabling WoL is generally safe, but it’s important to ensure your network is secure to prevent unauthorized access. Using features like secure passwords, encrypted connections, and VPNs can help secure WoL operations, especially over the internet.

Q8: How do I troubleshoot Wake on LAN issues?

  • Check BIOS/UEFI settings: Ensure WoL is enabled.
  • Verify network adapter settings: Make sure WoL is enabled in your OS settings.
  • Test network configuration: Use tools like Wireshark to ensure the magic packets are reaching the target machine.
  • Consult system logs: Look at system logs for any indications of what might be failing.

These FAQs aim to clarify how Wake on LAN works, how to set it up on different systems, and how to troubleshoot common issues. With the right setup and security considerations, WoL can significantly enhance network management and remote access capabilities.