Little known BIOS features: Wake up a computer on a schedule

Difficulty: 1

WakeonrtcI wanted to find a way to power on my computer at 7:30am each morning. This was so that my email and various websites I visit can be updated before I sit down at my computer. With mornings being such a rush, I wanted to use some automation to help me out.

There are normally a number of features in the power management component of the BIOS options, which permit all types of triggers to wake a computer up from hibernation or standby modes. However, if the computer is turned off, these will not work.

One of the triggers allows us to set the computer to launch via the real time clock. We can set how frequently the machine will wake up, or what time of the day we want it too wake up.

Every BIOS is a little different so it is impossible to give specific instructions, but it is not too hard to find. Go into the BIOS and find Power Management. In here, ensure S3 is enabled. There should be an option called “Resume by alarm”, or “Wake-up on RTC”. Once this is enabled, you will be able to set the time you want your computer to turn on. That should be all there is to it.

While I had not seen this feature before, I checked the 3 computers I have access to, to see if they also had this option. These machines are of various ages and they all included this feature. Only one time can be set in the BIOS, so using this method will not work if you want it to turn on in the morning and the afternoon. If you want to do this, you will need to use the task scheduler.

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5 comments so far »

  1. James said, on May 27, 2011 @ 5:42 am

    A handy feature. I remote control to my computers regularly – it’s nice to know that in the event of a shutdown, the computer will come alive again at a preset time if it’s not in a failed state.

  2. Wil said, on July 28, 2011 @ 4:17 am

    I have an AMI Bios v2.6 with an AMD64x2 5200. MSI MoBo K9N6PGM2 Chipset Nvidia MCP61 RevA3 WinXP SP3

    I want to wake up at a specific time (weekdays 1500) but the “date” feature for WAKE UP EVENT BIOS -DATE setting is a meaningless number “[13]” (the default value), and no instructions as to how to enter a repeating date. Any idea how to set a repeat wake up date MTWTF?

    My older Dell 4600P4 is easily configurable and gives options for specific days or all weekdays, like a business system auto wake up.

  3. Chris Duckworth said, on August 4, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    Diferent machine shave diferent options. I have a laptop which does not have this option, but you have a machine that can do a bunch of stuff. Maybe a bios update will give you the functionality you want.

    If you have another wired machine on in your house, you could use wake on lan as that may be a worthwhile alternative.

  4. Lance said, on January 22, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    This is definitely a desirable ability, however I do not use my computers BIOS to perform it. Instead, I enable WOL (Wake On LAN) on my machine and then set my router to wake my computer on any schedule permutation I desire.

  5. Chris Duckworth said, on February 8, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

    Wake on lan is great technology, but bios booting and wol both have their place for diferent scenarios/environments.

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