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What are the different ways of remotely turning on a computer and which one is the best?

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5 Answers

As mentioned, Wake on LAN is great if the system supports it. Many UPSs will support powering a system up or down but that requires the proper hardware.

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If you're talking about server hardware, remote management software like HP iLO allows you to do remote power-up/power-down via a web interface. (iLO has its own Ethernet connection and IP address.)

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Switched PDUs can be used to remotely turn power on and off, and a system can plug into one of those.

"The best" is a bit subjective as they all of pros and cons.

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You can wake a computer from a "sleep" or "off" state (assuming MB and Network are still powered and WOL is enabled). Other than that there's no way to turn a computer ON from a fully off state (no power in the system whatsoever) without some external hardware, calling someone and asking them to turn it on.

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Incorrect. WOL works with computers which are in fully powered off state, as long as there is still power to the motherboard. All that needs to be powered on is the network interface. When it receives the "magic packet," it can turn on the rest of the computer from a completely off state, not just from sleep. –  nhinkle Jun 9 '10 at 4:37
    
Yes, but that is NOT FULLY OFF. I said what I meant, if you have WOL enabled then yes. If the computer doesn't have it enabled then all devices have 0 power going to them. Completely off means completely off, equivalent to being unplugged. –  Daisetsu Jun 9 '10 at 16:30
    
I see your point, but feel that the way you worded it still makes it an incorrect statement. It's misleading to say that you can only wake it up from a sleep state. If you edit your post to reflect that WOL can wake up a computer which is for all practical purposes shut down or "off", I will reverse my down-vote. Technically, it can only be woken from ACPI state G2, or S5, which is only different from G3 in that LAN devices can remain enabled. –  nhinkle Jun 10 '10 at 2:45
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