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miniWOL v2 – Quick and Easy Wake On LAN Utility

miniWOL v2 – Quick and Easy Wake On LAN Utility
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Waking up devices that are network connected, can be done with the so called “Wake On LAN” feature provided by certain devices (like for example a NAS, FileServer, or even a PC). A while back I created a simple application for this – miniWOL – keeping in mind that the user may not be too familiar with all the configuration details (see: previous miniWOL versions).

I wanted just a simple menu in the System Tray (Windows: next to the clock, usually the lower-right corner of your screen) or Menubar (MacOS X – top of your screen, Linux often at the bottom of your screen). Well, after a bit of searching I could not find anything suitable or to my liking and I decided to just write something myself.

The old miniWOL been good so far, and plenty folks seem to have a good use for it privately and professionally. However, Apple had to change a few things (moving to 64 bit, using Cocoa instead of Carbon, and the need to sign applications – unfortunately Microsoft will probably follow soon) so while revamping the Mac version, I revamped the Windows version as well, and added a 64-bit Linux version as well (by request).




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.

Additionally a broadcasting address (or mask) is supported, which allows you to send the magic packet to the entire network or parts of the network (default: 255.255.255.255). 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.or do some settings in the operating system as well.

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

Since this will be different for most devices, either consult the manual of your device, read an the manual of your device, a generic 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 (Linux and 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).

Some example screenshot of the menu, from left to right; MacOS normal theme, MacOS DarkTheme, Linux (Mint) and Windows 10:

miniWOL2 - MacOS (Normal/Darktheme), Linux and Windows

miniWOL2 – MacOS (Normal/Darktheme), Linux and Windows

Download

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

DOWNLOAD - MiniWOL2 Linux 

Filename:  miniWOL-2.0.0-Linux64bit.tar.gz
Platform:  Linux
Version:  2.0.0
Size:  1.1 MB
Date:  2018-12-17

Direct reference link:  https://www.tweaking4all.com/downloads/miniWOL-2.0.0-Linux64bit.tar.gz
 Download Now 

DOWNLOAD - MiniWOL2 MacOS (64 bits) 

Filename:  miniWOL-2.0.1-macOS.dmg
Platform:  Apple macOS
Version:  2.0.1
Size:  1.5 MB
Date:  2018-12-19

Direct reference link:  https://www.tweaking4all.com/downloads/miniWOL-2.0.1-macOS.dmg
 Download Now 

DOWNLOAD - MiniWOL2 Windows 

Filename:  miniWOL-2.0.0-win32setup.exe
Platform:  Microsoft Windows
Version:  2.0.0
Size:  893.1 kB
Date:  2018-12-17

Direct reference link:  https://www.tweaking4all.com/downloads/miniWOL-2.0.0-win32setup.exe
 Download Now 

Versions

2.0.0 – Initial release of miniWOL v2.
2.0.1 – A MacOS only release which addresses a MacOS specific bug with the Auto Quit function.

Installation

Installation of miniWOL is straight forward.

  miniWOL for Windows

To install miniWOL, simply double click the setup file and follow the instructions.

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

  miniWOL for MacOS X (64bit)

For MacOS X, this has been tested with Mac OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) and 10.14 (Mojave) and supports the Mojave Dark Theme and accent colors, but I suspect it will work on any Intel based Mac running a 64 bit MacOS X. The application is 64 bit and signed.
Sorry – PowerPC is not supported.

Installation is straight forward; Simply double click the DMG file that you just downloaded, in order to mount it, and drag the miniWOL applications to the “Applications” shortcut. That’s all.

At first run, your Mac may request access to system events – miniWOL uses this to add or remove itself from Login-Items (eg. Auto starting miniWOL at login). It is recommended to click “OK” here. Clicking “Don’t Allow” does not prevent miniWOL from working though, but it won’t be able to add itself to the Login Items.

miniWOL - Access to System Events

miniWOL – Access to System Events

  miniWOL for Linux (64bit)

Installation for Linux is just a matter of extracting the targ.gz file, and move the miniWOL executable to where-ever you’d like it. I’ve included some icons incase you’d like to use those. The application is 64 bit, so this will not run on a 32 bit system.

Note: Since there are numerous Linux windows managers, the miniWOL icon may or may not appear in the menubar at the bottom (or top, or wherever you have it) menubar. I’ve tested this successfully with Linux Mint, but your milage may vary. On Mint support for Dark Theme seems to work, however when changing theme you may have to close and reopen miniWOL to benefit the effects.

 

Configuration

miniWOL looks and behaves almost identical across all 3 platforms; an icon is added to the SysTray (Windows) or Menubar (Mac/Linux).
Clicking the icon will popup a menu (Windows users: only right click will work) where you see the servers you defined, and a few functions.

The option “Execute All Auto WOL’s” sends a Wake on LAN to all devices, set as “Send Wake On LAN to this device when miniWOL starts” and that are “enabled”. More about this later.

Clicking one of a device/server will send a Wake On LAN to the selected device.

The function “Quit” is obvious, and so is the option “Settings“.

Settings – Define Devices and Behavior

To define your devices (or servers), choose the option “Settings” to then see a window similar to these screenshots (top to bottom: MacOS, Windows, Linux) – of course your list of “Network Devices” will initially be empty:

miniWOL2 - Settings for MacOS, Windows and Linux

miniWOL2 – Settings for MacOS, Windows and Linux

Let’s go through the elements you see in this window.

Note: Clicking the “Tweaking4All” logo will bring you to this webpage.

We see a few checkboxes in the top right corner:

Show usage hints, when checked, shows those little hint balloons explaining what a button, checkbox, etc is supposed to do.

Show Notifications, when checked shows a notification when a Wake On LAN signal has been sent, and mentions to what device this was sent.

Your Network Devices

Next we see 2 sections; Network Devices and Selected Network Device Details (the latter only visible when a device is selected in the Network Devices list).

Under the Network Devices list, we see a few buttons, that are probably very obvious;

Add so we can add a new network device (a network device can be any network enabled device that can receive a Wake On LAN signal),
Sort so we can sort the devices alphabetically,
Arrow Up (  ) to move the selected device up in the list (position in the popup menu),
Arrow Down ( ) to move the selected device down in the list,
Remove to ehm … remove a device, and finally
Clear to clear the entire list (remove all devices).

So when you start miniWOL for the first time, click “Add” is probably one of the buttons you use right away to add a network device.

For the impatient …  

Quick start:

  1. Start miniWOL
  2. Click “Settings
  3. Click “Add
  4. Type a name in the “Alias in menu” field
  5. Click “Arp List” and select an IP address (MAC address, Port and Broadcast address are filled in automatically)
  6. Click “Test

Device details

Once you’ve clicked “Add” you’ll see section Selected Network Device Details become visible with its default data populated.

  • Alias in Menu – This is what the server name will be in the menu when click miniWOL in the Systray (Windows) or Menubar (Mac/Linux).
  • IPv4 Address – This is the IP address (IPv4) of the network device.
    The buttons next to the 4 fields are there to assist;
      The “Paste” button will populate the fields if you copied an IP address from somewhere else (in the 123.123.123.123 format).
      The “Arp List” will pull IP addresses from Arp (Address Resolution Protocol), in short; some of the IP Addresses your computer has already seen on the network. Which means not necessarily all IP addresses in your network, but it may save you some typing.
  • MAC Address – MAC address of the targeted server.
    Here again 2 buttons that can make life easier;
      The “Paste” button allows you to paste a Mac Address that you copied from else where (in the 12:12:12:12:12:12 format).
      The “Detect” button where miniWOL will try to detect the MAC address of the device at the given IP Address.
  • WOL Port – The UDP port used for Wake On Lan (typically: 9).
    The “Default” button will set this to “9”. Some devices prefer “7”, and sometimes see port “9” as a shutdown command.
  • Broadcast Address – The subnet mask for that section of the network you’d like to broadcast to (default: 255.255.255.255).
    The “Default” button will set it to “255.255.255.255” – stick with the default unless you know what you’re doing.
  • Send Wake On LAN to this device when miniWOL starts – When checked a WOL signal will be send to this device when you start (or autostart) miniWOL. This is indicated in the “Network Devices” list with the “[Auto]” text next to a device name (not shown when the device is disabled) – see figure 3 for an example.
  • Enabled (show in Menu, and Auto WOL) – When checked this device will show in the popup menu.
    When not checked, “Send Wake On LAN to this device when miniWOL starts” will not be execute when miniWOL starts.
    Disabled devices will show “[Disabled]” net to the device name in the “Network Devices” list – see figure 3 for an example.
    I included this so you would not have to remove (and loose settings) for devices you temporary would not like to see in the menu.
  • Test – To make sure your settings work, this button sends a Wake On LAN to this device.

Auto Start and Auto Quit

The only thing we have left now is 2 checkboxes and 2 buttons;

Auto-Start miniWOL – When checked, this will add miniWOL to the startup or login items. So when you start your computer and login, miniWOL will start right away, and the devices marked as “Send Wake On LAN to this device when miniWOL starts” wil receive a Wake On LAN message.

Auto-Quit miniWOL – This is a tricky one. The intend is to start miniWOL, send Wake On LAN messages to the devices marked as “Send Wake On LAN to this device when miniWOL starts“, and when done, close miniWOL so it’s not taking up system resources.
Obviously this can be a problem, after all; how will you get to the settings to make some changes when miniWOL closes before you get there?
This is why miniWOL will stay running for an additional 10 seconds before it closes down. This may give you enough time to open the settings. Once the settings window opens, the timer will be stop and miniWOL will not close automatically.
Did you miss the 10 second window? Simply start miniWOL manually and try again.

Quit vs Hide miniWOL

Quit miniWOL – Kind-a obvious of course, this will terminate the application (settings are saved automatically).

Hide miniWOL – This will close the settings window, but miniWOL will remain active (icon in SysTray or MenuBar).

Copy Configuration files to other computers

With the previous version, one of the users asked if it was possible to copy the settings to another computer, so I figured I’ll clarify this here.

Yes, settings can be copied, even amongst other platforms (for example MacOS to Windows), since they are stored in so called “ini” files. The “ini” can be located here:

  • MacOS X/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/miniWOL/miniWOLPreferences.ini
  • WindowsC:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\miniWOL\miniWOLPreferences.ini
  • Linux/home/<username>/.config/miniWOL/miniWOLPreferences.ini

Note: Make sure to close miniWOL on both machines before copying the “ini” files.

Uninstalling miniWOL

miniWOL is relatively easy to uninstall, and doesn’t leave much “junk” laying around …

  • MacOS X: Move the miniWOL application from your “Applications” folder to the Trashcan.
    Next, delete the directory /Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/miniWOL
  • Windows: Run “Add/Remove programs” in the Control Panel, locate “miniWOL” and click uninstall.
    This will remove the configuration file as well.
  • Linux: Delete the miniWOL application, and icons if you used them.
    After that delete this directory: /home/<username>/.config/miniWOL

 

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Comments


There are 13 comments. You can read them below.
You can post your own comments by using the form below, or reply to existing comments by using the "Reply" button.

  • Dec 19, 2018 - 12:13 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

    Note for MacOS users and miniWOL 2.0.0;

    The Auto Quit function does not appear to work as expected.
    I’m working on resolving this bug.

    Reply

    hans

    • Dec 19, 2018 - 1:22 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      This bug should now be resolved in version 2.0.1 (MacOS only).

      Reply

      hans

      • Dec 21, 2018 - 4:18 AM - Nikolai Comment Link

        It works like a charm. Thank you so much.

        I just love this little tools that make life easier and don’t want to be noticed all the time.

        Reply

        Nikolai

      • Dec 22, 2018 - 8:59 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

        Awesome! 

        So glad to hear that, and thanks for testing!

        Merry Christmas! 

        Reply

        hans

  • Feb 11, 2019 - 1:59 PM - Alex Santos - Author: Comment Link

    You present a potential scenario of waking up a device over WAN but that this requires some trickery including, but not limited to, port forwarding.

    I run an FTPSE server on an iMac and because traffic is low enough I would love to just sleep the Mac and see it wake up when a connection comes in.

    Other than the WRT article is there another site you can point the curious too?

    Thanks for all the effort you put into this software, it’s a real treat!

    Reply

    Alex Santos

    • Feb 12, 2019 - 5:16 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Thanks Alex 

      I have yet to setup an FTP server and have it wake up with WOL, so it will be a guess for me as well.

      First thing I’d try, since you’re using a Mac, is see if “Wake for network access” is available in the “Energy Saver” option in the “System Preferences” of your Mac.
      I’ve honestly never used it, but it kinda sounds what you may be looking for (if it works). I assume you already have port-forwarding setup for this. 

      Alternatives … hum, well you could assign a specific port for WOL on your router/modem and set this port for WOL in miniWOL. Not sure if that will work though – I have no experience with that.
      As an alternative to DD-WRT, you could setup a pfSense firewall – but I’d guess that would defeat the purpose (since it requires a small PC to run).
      If you have a suitable modem, using AsusWRT (for these Asus models, or XWRT for Netgear R7000 routers) would be an alternative as well.

      Personally I’d start with port (ports 7 to 9) forwarding – your Mac would need a static IP for that.
      See this SuperUser discussion, and  this article by Phil is very informative as well.

      If you found a good solution, please let us know 

      Reply

      hans

  • Mar 17, 2019 - 10:18 PM - James McLean Comment Link

    Does miniWOL show anywhere whether or not each network device is currently awake?

    Reply

    James McLean

    • Mar 18, 2019 - 5:08 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi James,

      interesting idea, but nope … miniWOL does not show if a Device is already awake.

      I do like such a feature though, but I’m afraid it would generate a lot of network traffic, pinging each device over and over again.
      I doubt there is an elegant mechanism for this, but I will take a look and explore my options.

      Reply

      hans

  • Sep 11, 2019 - 1:56 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

    UPDATE for MacOS users

    miniWOL has now been notarized (Catalina requires this).
    If you’ve downloaded v2.0.1 before, please download it again.

    Reply

    hans

  • Oct 16, 2019 - 6:23 PM - Martina Comment Link

    Thank you for this free WOL download.  Works great!

    Reply

    Martina

    • Oct 17, 2019 - 4:20 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Martina!

      Thank you taking the time to post a thank-you note! It’s very much appreciated.
      I’m glad the tool is working for you as well 

      Reply

      hans

  • Oct 26, 2019 - 10:59 AM - FredZeNoob Comment Link

    Hello and thank you very much for this great tiny app!

    Would it be possible to add a feature to shutdown the NAS with your tweak?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    FredZeNoob

    • Oct 26, 2019 - 11:23 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi FredZeNoob!

      Thanks! Glad you enjoy it!

      Well, shutting down is a little trickier. Not so much for my application, but more so for your NAS.
      I could send a signal to your NAS, but most NAS devices that I know, do not recognize that signal.
      Your NAS would need to have that feature, or have a tool like Sleep-on-LAN installed – but most do not support this.
      Since this protocol is not really standard, it’s hard to see what should be implemented (magic packet format and port number).

      Reply

      hans



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