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Microsoft adds Wake functionality on LAN support to its Surface line

Why it matters to you

Anyone that uses a compatible Surface can take advantage of Wake on LAN support to fit updates and maintenance into their schedule.

Microsoft has announced the introduction of Wake on LAN support for certain devices in its Surface line of 2-in-1 tablets. This functionality is already being rolled out, but users will need to download and install a driver in order to use it.

Wake on LAN allows Surface devices that are connected to a wired network and AC power to be woken from connected standby remotely. This means that users can install updates or perform other kinds of maintenance when the device is not in use, ensuring that it will be ready for action when they need it to be.

The post on Microsoft’s TechNet blog announcing the new feature confirms compatibility with Wake on LAN functionality offered by separate software packages. Microsoft’s own System Center Configuration Manager is cited as one program that can utilize the Surface line’s new capabilities.

Users can outfit their Surface with this new functionality by installing the SurfaceWOL.msi package, which can be downloaded from the Surface Tools for IT page in the Microsoft Download Center. The package installs a driver granting Wake on LAN compatibility for devices like the Surface Ethernet Adapter, the Surface Dock, and the Surface Docking Station, and also makes adjustments to the necessary connected standby settings.

To install the package, the Surface device in question needs to be running version 1607 or higher of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The Surface Book, Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, and Surface Pro 4 are all able to take advantage of this functionality.

Wake on LAN support will perhaps be most useful for enterprise users who need to keep a fleet of devices up to date, but many personal users will find it handy, too. It can be very frustrating to try and use your device, only to find it’s in the middle of an update, but this feature can help prevent that scenario.