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miniWOL – Tiny Wake On LAN tool for Windows and MacOS X

miniWOL – Tiny Wake On LAN tool for Windows and MacOS X
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I had not used the good old Wake On LAN option in a while, until my brother-in-law (Jean-Pierre) was looking for something like that to wake up his NAS.

Most of the Wake On LAN applications I found for him were just too extensive, too complicated, or not free. I wanted just a simple menu in the System Tray (Windows: next to the clock, lower-left corner of your screen) or Menu-bar (MacOS X – top of your screen). Well, after quite a bit of searching I could not find anything suitable or to my liking and I decided to just write something myself.

Timing couldn’t be better, since I just wanted to implemented Wake On LAN in another application – ConnectMeNow (for MacOS X).
Reusing the code, making it suitable for Windows and MacOS X, and wrapping it in a small application was done relatively quickly.

This application has been tested under MacOS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and Windows 10 and it’s FREE.




What is Wake On LAN ?

Wake On LAN, or WOL, is a Ethernet standard that allows you to “wake up” computers or network devices that are in stand-by, and is originally intended for use in a local network.

WOL is probably most commonly used to wake up a server or NAS, just before access to these machines is needed – for example a media server, which can sleep all day long until you want to watch a movie. There can be several motivations to do this; save on power, save on wear-and-tear of your equipment, etc.

WOL also requires the network card of this device to be semi-awake, and still listen to traffic, just in case a “magic packet” is being send to the device. While the NIC (network interface controller) is listening, a lot of traffic might pass that might not even be intended for this network connection, so just listening to network traffic would keep your network device awake even when you don’t want it to be awake.

Note that theoretically WiFi supports Wake on Lan as well, however … not all computers and operating systems support this, so you milage may vary!

The magic packet is a 102 bytes long broadcast frame containing a of payload 6 bytes, all set to 255 (FF FF FF FF FF FF in hexadecimal), followed by 16 repetitions of the target computer’s 48-bit MAC address.

Example (Mac Address = A2:3B:41:00:7A:9B):


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
FF FF FF FF FF FF
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B
A2 3B 41 00 7A 9B

The Magic Packet (UDP) is typically send to port 9, some systems default to port 7, and some systems allow you to define your own port number.

Normally just one single packet should do the trick, but most Wake On Lan applications actually send more than one packet – just to make sure.

To prevent that just anything can wake up such a network device, a very specifically formatted “magic packet” has to be send over the network. Naturally, you can guess that this is not 100% fool proof, but it’s better than nothing, and in your local network (at home or in the office) this might be safe enough.

Note : As of version 1.2, miniWOL supports subnet directed broadcasting.
This technique does seem to be required for some devices to work with WOL. This is unfortunate, since broadcasts aimed at a specific device (unicast) appears more secure than subnet-directed broadcast. See also these 2 Microsoft Technet articles: About Subnet-Directed Broadcast and Choose Between Unicast and Subnet-Directed Broadcast for Wake On LAN.

Enabling Wake On LAN on your Network Device

Before we can wake up a network device with WOL, you will need setup this device to do so. Quite often you’d need to do some settings in the “BIOS” of your computer, and do some settings in the operating system as well.

Certain devices, like most NAS devices, make it a little easier by offering a simpel “WOL ON/OFF” function.

Since this will be different for most devices, either consult the manual of your device, read an online guide like this one at How-to-Geek, or consult Google.

Wake-On-LAN local vs over the Internet 

miniWOL, and Wake On LAN in general, is intended to be used in a local network, meaning: wake up a network device in the same network you’r in (at home or in the office). To wake up a device at home, over the Internet (ie. you’re in the office or traveling), will require some trickery including, but not limited to, port forwarding. Not every modem/router can even do this. An example can be found here: DD-WRT.

So by default: use miniWOL for devices in your local network.

For waking up devices over the Internet, you will need to do some extra leg work to get everything configured correctly.

 

miniWOL

The intend of miniWOL is to have a small icon in your SysTray (Windows) or Menubar (MacOS X), where you can send a Wake On LAN magic packet to a defined server. All this without thinking or seeing all the in-depth details (once you’ve configured it right).

To show miniWOL in action:

miniWOL - Windows (left) and MacOS X (right)

miniWOL – Windows (left) and MacOS X (right)

Download

miniWOL is free, and always will be free … you can download it straight from Tweaking4All:

DOWNLOAD - MiniWOL-MacOSX 

Platform: Mac OS X
Filename: miniWOL-MacOSX.zip
Version: 1.2
Size: 1.1 MiB
Date: December 3, 2016
 Download Now 

DOWNLOAD - MiniWOL-Windows 

Platform: Windows
Filename: miniWOL-Windows.zip
Version: 1.2
Size: 734.8 KiB
Date: December 3, 2016
 Download Now 

miniWOL has been reviewed by SoftPedia as safe.

Installation

Installation of miniWOL is straight forward.

  miniWOL for Windows

miniWOL is a 32 bit application, which should work on any Windows version, starting with Windows XP and up.

The easiest way to install this would be just running it from your Downloads folder or Desktop, but it can be done a little cleaner.
I prefer to install my applications in the proper folders so, I’d follow these steps:

  1. Create a folder “miniWOL” in “C:\Program Files (x86)”
  2. Extract “miniWOL.exe” from the ZIP file and place it in the new folder “C:\Program Files (x86)\miniWOL”
  3. Right click “miniWOL.exe” and choose “Create Shortcut” – this will create a shortcut, most likely on your Desktop.

 

  miniWOL for MacOS X

For MacOS X, this has been tested with Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), but I suspect it will work on any Intel based Mac.
Sorry – PowerPC is not supported.

Unzip the downloaded file and drag the application into your “Applications” folder.

Configuration

miniWOL is almost identical for Windows and MacOS X, but there are minor differences as can be seen in the screenshots below.

The Windows version allows you to select a different icon for your SysTray, where as the MacOS X version determines if you’re running the normal MacOS X theme or the so called “dark theme” and adjust the icon based on that.

miniWOL Settings (MacOS X)

miniWOL Settings (MacOS X)

miniWOL Settings (Windows 10)

miniWOL Settings (Windows 10)

You can set miniWOL to start automatically when starting Windows or MacOS X by checking “Add miniWol to Startup Items” (Mac) or “Auto start miniWol when Windows starts” (Windows).

To add a server, click “Add” and select the added device in the list.

On the right side you’ll now see some details:

  • Alias – This is what the server name will be in the menu when click miniWOL in the Systray (Windows) or Menubar (Mac)
  • Device Address – This can be the name of the server, but the IP address is prefered.
  • MAC address – MAC address of the targeted server
  • WOL Port – The UDP port used for Wake On Lan (typically: 9)
  • Broadcast Address – The subnet mask for that section of the network you’d like to broadcast to (default: 255.255.255.255)
  • Send on miniWOL Start – When checked a WOL signal will be send to this server when you start (or autostart) miniWOL
  • Test Wake On LAN – This one is handy when testing the settings, to see if the targeted server wakes up
  • Find MAC Address – Tries to automatically find the MAC address of the targeted server (server must be in the same network and ON)

 

Typically port 9 (UDP) is being used for WOL, so when you’re not sure, start with port 9. Some devices actually seem to see that as a “shutdown” command, and in those cases you could try port 7. If you know what you’re doing and you’ve defined your own port number, then you can set that one of course.

As for the Broadcast Address: leave it at 255.255.255.255 unless you know what you’re doing … 

Obviously, with “Remove” you remove the selected server from the list, and “Clear” will remove all servers from the list.

The checkbox in front of the server name (in the list) determines if a server is listed in the menu when clicking miniWOL in the Systray (Windows) or Menubar (Mac). This way you do not have to delete a server in case you do not want to see it all the time.

All settings are saved automatically, so there is no “Save” button.

Uninstalling miniWOL

miniWOL is easy to uninstall, simply remove the application by deleting it (miniWOL.exe under Windows, or miniWOL under MacOS X).

The only thing left is the configuration file, which can be found here:

Windows: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\miniWOL

Mac OS X/Users/<username>/.config/miniWOL.cfg

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Comments


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  • May 10, 2016 - 4:11 AM Comment Link
    PingBack: 3bruno.wordpress.com

    […] post miniWOL – Tiny Wake On LAN tool for Windows and MacOS X is from […]

  • May 10, 2016 - 4:52 AM - John Comment Link

    AWESOME!!!! 
    Just what I was looking for! Thanks Hans!

    Reply

    John

    • May 11, 2016 - 5:21 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Thanks John for taking the time to post a “Thank you!” – it’s much appreciated! 

      Reply

      hans



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