5 April 2019

Using a laptop without even opening it

For the time being, I have no main computer. It is being repaired, which means I need to rely on my laptop to work. I have my monitors, wired network connection, keyboard and mouse just sitting idle so I wanted to make use of them with the laptop. It's easy enough to hook them up, but I don't want to use my laptop's screen as well. This means I could have the laptop closed and act as a platform for the keyboard.

The obvious problem is that I need to hit the power button to start the laptop, and I don't want to be always opening and closing the laptop just to hit Power. The answer is to use a Wake on Lan command from my phone, but there are some steps to follow to ensure this works smoothly.

  1. In your laptop's BIOS/UEFI make sure that Wake on Lan is enabled;
  2. In Windows, check the Properties for your ethernet connection. Do this by going into the Device Manager > Network Adapters &gt, and right click to select Properties. In Properties, go to the Power Management tab and choose the "Allow this device to wake the computer" option:
  3. If your computer has multiple network cards, make sure you get the right one. If in doubt, make sure that any likely candidates have this option checked.
  4. If you are running Windows 10, there is another vital step. You need to turn off Fast Start otherwise the network card never gets the signal to boot. Go to the Power and Sleep options in Settings and choose Additional power settings.

    This opens the Control Panel from Windows 7 on Power Options, but we need to go further:

    Click "Choose what the power buttons do" on the left side, and it brings you to this window. We're still not done:

    Click "Change settings that are currently unavailable", and you'll see more options:

    Finally, you are where you need to be. Turn off Fast start up, even though it's recommended.
  5. Now your computer is primed to be started by the network card, but we still need to send that signal. Thankfully, now that most people have a smartphone, you can get an app on it to send that signal. The one I chose is just called "Wake on Lan" for Android, and I'm sure there's a similar application for iOS devices.

    The setup is simple, hit the plus, choose the machine and then add a widget for it to your screen.
  6. If this isn't enough, or WOL stops working, you may need to turn off NetBIOS as well. Again, this needs a dive through panels. Start by right-clicking on your network connection in the task bar.

    Then click on Change adapter options

    Then, right click on the connection and choose Properties

    In the Properties window find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and choose Properties again

    In that window, choose Advanced...

    And, finally, in Advanced, go to the WINS tab and set Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP

    Once done, restart the machine - or better yet, shut it down and check your Wake on LAN app is working ;)

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