Wake-On-LAN Utility

Presenting the Wake-On-LAN Utility, a cheesy app for the those that don't want to get off the couch to turn on the PC in the other room.

Last year I was on my couch and I stared at the PC in the other room. None of the normal "bling bling" (the blue LEDs, cathode lights, etc.) was present. My machine was off.

I really needed some files off of it, and I was faced with the "lazy man's remote control drama" ... basically, do I spend the 30 seconds to get up and turn on the machine, or do I spend more time writing an app to do it for me? (It's often joked that us men will spend a half hour looking for a remote control, but won't spend far less time to get up and change the channel. This time I got up, but I swore eventually I'd get around to writing the app ... and that time has come! :)

Being the somewhat energy conscious person that I am, I don't want to leave my machines (growing in number to an embarrasing 8 now) on all the time. (Truth is, I'm just in shock over my electic bill and the plumes of dust that come out of the machine from leaving them on 24x7.) Each of my machines have uses and I can't always predict when I'll need them. And more often than not, I'm not in front of the machine when I need it.

So I came across a bunch of neat-o articles on the topic and I finally compiled code snippets and my own hackery into a cheesy little app: the Wake On LAN Utility (check it out here.)

There are a few main issues with waking a computer up:

1. You need to know the MAC address. I tried to simplify that process by automatically scanning a workgroup (see the image below), but initially, the machine needs to be on. If you can't scan for it successfully for whatever reason, you can get the MAC address from a sticker on the card or PC, or from an IPCONFIG /all command (again, requires the PC to be on).



2. The PC needs to support WOL. Most modern machines (purchased this millenium) support that already. But going further, the machine needs to have these options enabled in the BIOS and in the O/S. See the Wake On LAN Utility page for more info (here).

There's a lot of functionality that could be added here, including support for remote wake up over the internet, mutithreaded support, status reporting, etc. If you want to add something, download the source and give it a whirl.

I call it a cheesy app because I sat down and figured I spend about 30 seconds a day turning on various machines for some purpose (remember I've got 8 machines). This number is realistically a tad high because I tend to leave machines on if I think there's any chance I may need it later. So, that's about 3 hours a year. I decided I'd be willing to invest 3 hours in the app (not including blog time). 3 hours isn't a lot of time when you sit down to do something like this, so it's rough around the edges. Besides, if I wait for perfection, it will never come (thanks, Mike, for that lesson).
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