I was sitting in my kitchen this evening, working on my laptop and I suddenly needed to access a particular file that resides on my desktop. Normally this isn’t an issue and I’ll just get up, walk over to my desktop computer and boot it up.

Today, however, I was struck by a sudden and desperate need to… not move anywhere. And so, in the spirit of future laziness, I set about finding a way to turn on my computer remotely. Wake-on-LAN seemed like the simplest option (you can essentially tell your computer to boot up just by sending a “magic packet” to the network card), and luckily my motherboard supports it.

Installing the ethtool Arch package was a doddle, and then it was simply a case of editing a configuration file and creating a new systemd unit. Starting my computer over the network is as easy as plugging my MAC address into the wakeonlan tool. All I have to do now is configure and start an SSH service and hooray, I can access my desktop computer remotely - even if it’s switched off to start!

If I want to share files, all I have to do is set up an SMB or NFS service and mount that remotely. The best part is that using wake-on-LAN is more environmentally friendly - now I can turn my desktop computer off without having to worry about turning it on again :)