Ages ago, tech pioneers envisioned a world with a computer in every household. Today, not only has that vision come true, but many of us have to micromanage multiple computers in the same household.
Thankfully, solutions like TeamViewer enable us to “wake up” and remote control any computer in our local network from our primary PC. Let’s see how.
Wake on LAN: Complicated, but Worth It
To do this, we’re going to be using a tool called “Wake on LAN.” This will let us wake up a PC using a special “wake-up packet” over the local network.
Unfortunately, setting up Wake on LAN is not as simple as turning a single switch on. Still, it’s worth a bit of time and effort, for, without it, solutions like TeamViewer are often rendered redundant. After all, what’s the point of trying to remote control the second PC in your local area network if you have to turn it on in person?
As an extra security measure, Wake on LAN is usually disabled by default. However, we need it to make the most amount of use from Teamviewer.. So, to use Wake on LAN, you must ensure all related features are enabled:
- In your computer’s BIOS
- In the network adapter’s driver settings
- In the operating system’s settings
…and sometimes, even in your router.
Since this article is about TeamViewer, the app needs some extra configuration, too, to be able to wake up your computers remotely.
However, the result is worth it since it enables complete remote control of any PC on your local area network without getting up from your comfortable chair.
It’s worth noting that TeamViewer can also allow you to remote control your smartphone or tablet! So, you can use it as a one-size-fits-all solution to remotely access most of the digital devices in your household. Check our complete guide on setting up and using TeamViewer on Android for more info on that.
Setting Up the Target PC With Teamviewer
The first step for enabling wake-on LAN support on the target computer you want to remote control is a visit to its BIOS and enabling any related option.
Enabling Wake on LAN in the BIOS
Unfortunately, this is part of the process where we can’t offer specific instructions. The option’s placement and name depend on your motherboard’s BIOS manufacturer. Usually, you will find it under a networking-related or advanced menu with “Wake on LAN” in its name.
If you find more than one option, mentioning the codes “S3” and “S5”, enable them both. Those refer to two different off-states from which the computer can wake up.
“S3” is for the low-power mode we usually refer to as “Sleep”, and “S5” is for when the computer is completely turned off (“Shutdown”).
Enabling Wake on LAN in Windows
Next, enter your target computer’s Windows desktop and fire up the Device Manager. You can look for it in the Start menu or using Windows search. It’s probably easier and quicker to use the Win + X combination on your keyboard and select Device Manager from the menu that will pop up.
Expand the Network Adapters group and locate your computer’s primary network interface.
We should note that modern wireless interfaces supposedly support Wake on LAN. However, it failed to work in our case, and it’s usually suggested you use Ethernet (“cabled” networking) for the feature to work.
Double-click on your network adapter or right-click on it and select Properties.
From the window that appears, move to the Advanced tab. From the Property list, select any option mentioning “Wake on LAN”, “Wake on Magic Packet”, “Wake up support”, etc. Click on it to select it, and set it to Enabled using the Value pull-down menu on the right.
Don’t close that window before moving to the Power Management tab. Ensure the option Allow this device to wake the computer is enabled. As an extra security measure, also enable the option under it, Only allow a Magic Packet to wake the computer.
With a click on OK, your network adapter will be configured for use with wake-on LAN. However, we’re only halfway there since the operating system can also get in the way.
Disabling Fast Startup on Windows
Modern versions of Windows support a feature called Fast Startup. Enabled by default, Fast Startup can prevent the network adapter from listening for a signal to wake up.
Disabling this feature will allow you to use wake-on LAN. Do note, though, that it will also have a minimal negative impact on your PC’s startup speed.
To find it, pay a visit to Windows Control Panel by searching for it in the Start menu or using Search.
When there, move to Hardware and Sound > Power Options > System Settings.
Ensure that your PC is set to Shutdown from the pull-down menu next to When I press the power button.
Then, disable the option Turn on fast startup (recommended) under Shutdown settings.
Click on the Save changes button to do precisely that.
Setting Up TeamViewer
While still on the target computer, run TeamViewer and click on the menu button on the top left of its window to access its main menu. From there, choose Extras > Options.
Stay on the General tab, and enable the option Start TeamViewer with Windows. This will have TeamViewer run as a service, allowing you to start remotely controlling this computer even before logging into its desktop.
To remotely control this PC without manually granting access to incoming connections, you must assign it to your TeamViewer account.
Click on the Assign to account button to do that, and enter your TeamViewer account credentials on the window that pops up.
If you don’t already have a TeamViewer account, click on Create account under the two text fields and follow the instructions.
Finally, click on the Configure button next to Wake on LAN under Network settings.
You will have to take a trip back to your primary computer, run TeamViewer there, and check its Computer ID. Return to your target PC, and enable Other TeamViewer within your local network. Enter your master PC’s ID in the field under TeamViewer ID, and then click on the Add button on its right.
You will see your master PC’s TeamViewer ID added to the list below, under IDs within your local network.
Click on OK to store the changes.
Using Teamviewer to Remotely Control Your PC
Theoretically, you are all set. Initiate a first remote control session from your main PC while your target PC’s still on. This will add your target PC to your primary PC’s TeamViewer Computers & Contacts list. Afterward, shut down your target computer.
On your main PC, visit TeamViewer’s Computers & Contacts tab. You should be able to see your target PC on the list in the center of the window.
Select it, and click on Wake up from the options that will show up on the right. If everything went according to plan, you should see or hear your target PC powering on. Soon after, TeamViewer should notify you that your remote PC can receive connections.
Still, would you prefer your pesky neighbor didn’t manage to get remote access to your target PC? Then, check our article on how to make TeamViewer more safe, private, and secure.
Like a TV!
As you probably saw for yourself if you followed along up to now, the good news is that the TeamViewer and Wake on Lan render your secondary PCs as easy to access as a TV. Like pressing a button on your TV’s remote, you can now turn on your remote PCs with a click.
The bad news is that, unfortunately, if you want to be able to wake up and remote control more than one PC in your local network, you have to go through the whole process for each of them.
Thankfully, unlike the briefings in the Mission Impossible franchise, this guide won’t self-destruct! So, scroll up and rinse-repeat for the rest of your PCs!