Windows – Keeping Windows accessible for remote desktop

power-managementremote desktopsleepwake-on-lanwindows 10

I have a Windows 10 PC that I would like to maintain accessible to remote desktop connections, at all times, no matter what. However, I can't seem to figure out the right combination of settings to achieve that.

Ideally, I would like the computer to be able to sleep, but make itself available on TCP/IP connections, magic packets over Ethernet, etc. I have both WiFi and Ethernet available to me as a means of connecting.

Here are the power management settings for the WiFi card. The device manager properties for the Ethernet has no corresponding "Power Management" tab (does that mean it's always on? no idea!).

Network power settings

  1. Allow the computer to turn this device to save power

    • I want this setting off. Under no circumstances would I like the WiFi card to ever be off, whether the PC is in sleep mode or not. Frankly, I don't understand why anybody would ever want it to be on, the WiFi card probably draws a single watt at max, it's not like there are real energy savings to be had here.
  2. Allow this device to wake the computer

    • I want this setting to be on. However, unchecking the first setting makes it inoperative and greys it out. I think the relationship here is inverted. If the PC is allowed to turn off the device, only then does it make sense to grey out the latter two settings (which couldn't work, because the device would be off.
  3. Only allow a magic packet to wake the computer

    • I would like magic packets to wake the computer, but ideally, I would like any TCP connection to also wake it. So I would like this setting to be off.

My desired setting of (off, on, off) isn't possible. Is there something I'm missing here?

More generally, what can I do to achieve my goal, to have an always-accessible headless PC, that never requires a person to physically turn on or wake up?

For context, I'm basically looking for the equivalent of this single check box on macOS:

It just works

Best Answer

I have a Windows 10 PC that I would like to maintain accessible to remote desktop connections, at all times.

Ideally, I would like the computer to be able to sleep.

Ideally, I would like the computer to be able to sleep, but make itself available on TCP/IP connections, magic packets over Ethernet, etc. I have both WiFi and Ethernet available to me as a means of connecting.

Remote Desktop does not have any built-in remote wake-up capability.

You would need to first use Wake on Lan to wake up the sleeping computer before you could RDP to it.

A sleeping computer's RAM is active but its CPU is not, so Remote Desktop would not work until you first wake the PC from its sleep state.

If you are willing to have to first use a Wake-on-LAN utility to wake your PC remotely, then you must wake it from sleep before connecting via Remote Desktop.

If you want to use Wake on LAN:

1) Connect your target PC via Ethernet.

2) Install a remote wake utility, such as this.

3) Use a remote wake utility to wake your target PC before initiating your Remote Desktop connection.

Wake on LAN works well and is easy to configure, just be sure to use it via Ethernet and not using the a wireless network adapter.