Dell Optiplex 9010 – WOL ERROR (Toimiv lahendus)

SOLVED: Making Wake-on-Lan (WOL) work in Windows 10 / 8.x

THIS FIX ALSO APPLIES TO WINDOWS 10, IT IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT,  BECAUSE WINDOWS 10 TURNS “FAST STARTUP” (read below) BACK ON AFTER UPDATES (yes, Microsoft does not stop creating nonsense features / bugs).
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power\HiberbootEnabled
and set its value to 0 !

Ülemine lahendus Registri muutmisel toimis minu Dell Optiplex 9010 ja WIN10 puhul hästi.

I had very serious problems getting Wake-On-Lan (WOL) to work on my new Dell Optiplex 9020 MT (MiniTower) on Windows 8.1 Pro. I finally got this to work and would like to share my experience here.

Note: At the time of this writing the current Dell BIOS for Optiplex 9020 MT was A05.
UPDATE: The same behavior is also observed with DELL BIOS A07. Maybe Dell needs to comply with some power saving requirements and therefore enables Deep Sleep instead of Wake-On-LAN? Whatever the reason is, it is extremely annoying that this is the default and it is not clearly documented.
Note: I am using UEFI and Secure Boot.

UPDATE February 2017:  Besides the fix described here it might happen that you experience strange problems with your Dells like NOT waking up on WOL or the other way round – “MAGICALLY” waking up randomly for no reason (you see things in Windows log like “firmware” as start reason) – in both cases I recommend updating to latest Intel network drivers (the Dell drivers are often outdated). I don’t know what is gouing on there with Dell hardware vs Microsoft vs Intel issues but it has become a nightmare to get simple things to work reliably these days…

WOL vs Dell Optiplex 9020

In Dells forums people recommended to downgrade the Dell BIOS or even to get their mainboard changed to get WOL to work:

I don’t like doing such things because newer BIOS also has other bugs fixed and downgrading may even break something.

So I decided to look for a better solution. Actually nowadays things don’t get easier but more and more complex as we will see…

How to test WOL?

First I downloaded a nice little utility and installed it on another PC to be able to send WOL wake-up packets to my Dell PC. It is called WinWOL is free and I found it here:

Of course you can also use another WOL packed sending utility.

1. Enable Wake on Lan in the BIOS

So the first step is to make sure your BIOS is set correctly:

1. The obvious WOL setting in BIOS is under Power Management > Wake on LAN. You have to enable it by setting it to LAN Only for example.

2. The not so obvious setting is under Power Management > Deep Sleep Control. You must set this to Disabled, otherwise WOL will just not work.

2. Enable Wake on Lan in the Network Adapter Settings

Now in Windows go to the Device Manager > Network Adapter > Intel Ethernet Connection I217-LM, in my case.
Open the adapter settings and go to the Power Management tab
Make sure that all Wake on LAN options are enabled. I actually did not change any other energy settings on this tab, only activated the WOL options.

These settings should already make it possible to use wake on LAN in sleep and hibernate modes (BTW: hibernate mode must be explicitly enabled in Windows 8 (some of Microsoft’s “brilliant” developers decided to do so).

What about WOL after shutdown?

The problem that actually caused all my headaches was the fact that I tested WOL after shutting down the PC from Windows. My PC just did not wake up after a normal Windows shutdown.

Normally, in a corporate environment you can’t expect your users to put their PCs in sleep or hibernate only – they will also shut them down if they like. And shutdown definitely did not work with the WOL settings above alone.

Then I noticed the following: To have at least a chance that Wake-on-Lan will work you must make sure that the some lights are still on on your Dell’s network adapter while attempting to wake up the PC via LAN.

But there was a problem: After a Windows shutdown of the PC all network card lights were OFF! Then I found out one more thing: If I switch on my Dell through the power button and then turn it off immediately (before Windows boots up) the network adapter lights are still ON – this means that WOL is possible! But after a Windows shutdown they stay OFF. So WOL is not possible.

So to me the situation was clear: Something in Windows shutdown makes my Dell turn off the network adapter completely, although WOL is enabled in  BIOS and in the Windows network adapter settings.

Microsoft did it again! Shutdown in Window 8 is “hybrid” and explicitly does not allow WOL!

After googling a lot I finally found an official Microsoft article describing that WOL behavior has changed in Windows 8 / 8.1:


 In Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, the default shutdown behavior puts the system into the hybrid shutdown state (S4), and all devices are put into D3. WOL from S4 or S5 is unsupportedNetwork adapters are explicitly not armed for WOL in either S5 or S4 cases because users expect zero power consumption and battery drain in the shutdown state. This behavior removes the possibility of invalid wake-ups when an explicit shutdown is requested. Therefore, WOL is supported only from sleep (S3) or hibernation (S4) states in Windows 8 and 8.1.

So WOL is explicitly disabled in shutdown in Windows 8 and 8.1. It is nice to hear that this is expected by Microsofts “brilliant” developers (they seem to expect a lot in Windows 8.x …) but what I expect is WOL to work in a corporate environment and not to turn it off just because someone decided to save battery, especially on a desktop workstation (!) in this case.

WOL and Hybrid Shutdown in Windows 8.x

Hybrid shutdown for faster startups

Another strange thing is that this Windows 8.x WOL behavior seems to be related to hybrid shutdown which MS describes as follows:

 In Windows 8 and 8.1, hybrid shutdown (S4) stops user sessions but lets the contents of kernel sessions be written to the hard disk. This enables faster startups.

Why are faster startups related to Wake-on-LAN?

I don’t know – ask Microsoft and their “brilliant” engineers!

Disable fast startups and get WOL to work!

So according to Microsofts article you can disable fast startups = hybrid sleep as follows (of course not recommended, bla bla bla …):

 To disable the S4 state in Windows 8 and 8.1, follow these steps.

Note We do not recommend that you disable the hybrid shutdown (S4) state.

  1. In Control Panel, open the Power Options item.
  2. Click the Choose what the power buttons do link.
  3. Clear the Turn on fast startup (recommended) check box.
  4. Click Save Settings.

Another important annoying fact: If it seems that you cannot just change the power button settings but you need to first click on the text saying something like: “Some settings are currently not available…”  Again, very “user friendly”, Microsoft…

It works!

The most amazing thing is that disabling the fast startup setting above really makes WOL work after Windows shutdown. Now if I shutdown my Dell from Windows 8.1 it leaves the network adapter powered, i.e. the green LED is lit and the orange LED is blinking. Sending a magic packet to the Dell wakes it up.

So it looks like this stupid WOL behavior is expected and wanted by Microsoft! So I am not sure if Dell will ever give us a BIOS update that will change it.

IMHO one thing is certain:

It has never been harder to get Wake-on-LAN to work!

I hope this helps! Again, thank Microsoft for wasting our time and making our life as hard as possible. In Windows 8.x everything illogical is possible! Expect the unexpected! Expect surprises everywhere!