by The ICT FAQ Monkey
Q – What is ‘Wake-my-PC’?
A – It’s a service that allows College staff to access their computer remotely (e.g. when working at home), even if the computer was switched off when they left the office.
Q – What is the purpose behind the service?
A – We can save a significant amount of money for the College, as well as decreasing carbon emissions significantly, if staff switch off their computers when leaving the office. Currently, although we have an automatic system that puts computers into sleep after half-an-hour of inactivity, a large proportion of staff members opted out of this scheme. 80% of those who opted out state their reason as wanting to be able to access their computers outside working hours. As a result, most computers in the College are left on 24×7, whether used or not.
Q – My computer doesn’t go to sleep by itself. What should I do?
A – Ensure that you have not opted out of the power saving scheme. Go to this page to find out how. There is a known bug with Windows XP that stops some computers from going to sleep by themselves. We expect this to be resolved with Windows 7. Meanwhile, please put your computer to sleep by double clicking the Green “Sleep” icon on your desktop or by selecting “Sleep” option from under shutdown options. If you do not see the sleep button on your desktop, please restart your computer once.
Q – So how does it work?
A – This new service enables staff to wake up their PCs remotely when needed. The link for the set-up instructions is below, but we are only able to offer the service for Windows (both XP and Windows 7) and Linux computers at the moment.
Set-up instructions for Windows and Linux computers
Q – I am not using a Windows computer. Will this still work with a Mac?
A – As above, Wake-on-LAN is currently available only for Windows and Linux computers at Imperial College. Unfortunately the service does not work with Macs. Note that the Linux OS has not been fully tested as yet, but is proven to work successfully on some flavours of Linux.
Q – I followed the instructions, but I cannot make the VPN connection work from home. Will I not be able to use this service?
A – You do not need VPN to wake your computer up. The wake-up service is available on the following public, password protected, easy-to-remember URL.
You no longer need VPN to access your computer remotely via terminal service, either. Please follow the instructions on this page to set up your Terminal Service application (mstsc.exe on Windows) to access your computer without having to use VPN.
Q – There are too many computers listed on the Wake-on-LAN page and I do not know which one is my PC, or my PC is not listed. What should I do?
A – All the computers (including servers) that you are the “custodian” and/or “primary user” of are listed on this page. For some people, this may mean a fairly long list. Log a request with the Service Desk to identify your work PC, or add it to your Wake-on-LAN list, or to remove the computers that you are no longer the custodian or primary user of. Alternatively, you may be able to identify your computer by going to Start, then selecting ‘My Info’ from the options. This will show you all the necessary information about your computer, including the asset number and computer name.
Q – My computer does not stay in sleep or hibernate mode. It wakes up immediately after it goes to sleep or hibernates. What can I do?
A – Please make sure you followed the instructions to set up your computer carefully. Especially make sure you carried out this step which sets up your computer to wake up only by a “magic packet”.
Q – I am not sure if my PC is on or off. What happens if I send it a “Wake-on-LAN” request. Will it turn it off if it’s already on?
A – No, this request will only turn your PC on when it’s turned off. If it’s already on, it will have no effect.
Q – I clicked the “wake up this computer” link next to my PC’s name, but I still cannot access it.
A – Wait for a minute to give your PC a chance to boot up. Remote Desktop Connection service is one of the final services to be started in Windows when your computer boots up. If you still cannot access it after two minutes, please try to wake it up a second and last time. It is known for some computers to go back to sleep immediately after waking up the first time.
If you still cannot access your computer after this second wake-up trial, please ensure you followed the set-up instructions correctly. If all is correct, please log a support request with the Service Desk for this to be investigated further.
Q- I will be away on holiday for a long period. Will I still be able to wake up my PC when I’m back home?
A- You can awaken your PC up to 45 days after you last switched it off. If it’s been more than 45 days, remote wake-up will not work and you will need someone to physically switch on your computer.
Q – How can I turn off my PC after using it remotely? I only see a “log-off” command instead of the “Shut down” command when connected remotely.
A – Display your desktop by closing or minimising all the windows, then press “Alt-F4”. This should display the “Shut Down Windows” screen, where you can select the appropriate option. Alternatively, use the green “Sleep” button to put it to sleep.
Q- Are there places within the college where Wake On LAN will not work?
A – The areas listed below are the locations in the College known by ICT where this solution will not work. This however may not be a complete list
- Gosman’s Group – Level 6 Mech Eng
- Mining research – Royal School of Mines
- Electrical Engineering – Level 5 Firewallled
- Cassini group – Level 7 Huxley
- Photonics – Level 6 Blackett
Q – When I turn my PC back on in the morning, although I see the lights on my PC are on, the screen does not come back to life. What can I do?
A – Try pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del (which will bring up the password entry screen, although it won’t be visible), enter your password carefully and hit Return. Your screen should then come back to life. If you are using a wireless keyboard and/or mouse this solution may not work.
It is also known that removing using Windows’ default graphics driver also solves the problem in some cases (rather than some specific graphics driver (such as Nvidia GeForce).
If you are not using any specific functionality of an add-on driver, please try removing the specific driver and test this. As usual, raise a ticket with the Service Desk if you need any help.