Remote PC Power Control Thwarts Button Pushers

Pervasive connectivity is a mixed blessing at best, especially when it creates the expectation that we’ll always have access to everything we need. When what you need is on your work or home PC, there are plenty of options for remotely accessing files using your phone. But if your roomie or the cleaning crew powers the machine down, you’ve got a problem – unless you’ve got a way to remotely power the machine back up.

[Ahmad Khattab]’s hack required getting up close and personal with his PC’s motherboard. A Particle Photon steals power from the always-on 3.3 volt line of the vacant Trusted Platform Module connector on his machine. Outputs from the Photon are connected to the motherboard’s power switch connection and a smartphone app drives the outputs and turns the machine on and off. As [Ahmad] admits, there are plenty of ways to attack this problem, including Wake-on-LAN. But there’s something to be said for the hardware approach, especially when a Photon can be had for $20.

Astute readers will note that we recently covered a very similar project using a Particle Core. Be sure to check that one out for a little more detail on using Particle’s cloud, and for some ideas on powering the module if your motherboard lacks a TPM port. In the meantime, enjoy [Ahmad]’s video.

21 thoughts on “Remote PC Power Control Thwarts Button Pushers

  1. I don’t understand the problem. Who turns desktop PCs off?

    I’m being totally serious when I say I don’t know a single person who turns off their computers, UNLESS they are laptops.

    1. Not off, but sleep mode saves a significant amount of power on a gaming desktop as long (as the drivers don’t poop out upon resume).

      But yeah I can’t be doin that, I have folder to sync and torrents to seed. Laptop stays on 24/7 for that

    1. You can either uninstall the optional update that installed the nagware, or go into your notification settings and set the windows upgrade ones to ‘hide’.
      Or you can run Linux.

        1. No more surveillance than what Windows XP had baked in…it now just has an option to be disabled and has been officially documented.

          If you’re really that worried about “surveillance”, you’d stop using reddit, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Google, OS X, Windows, the internet (your ISP), etc.

  2. I have to ask why this approach? Is this guys coworkers so obtuse that a simple sign tapped on the front of the tower with huge letters saying “critical corporate hardware. do not shut off!” won’t stop them? Seriously, I work in a place were we have 200+ desktops running at any given time and no one has in the 4 years I’ve worked there decided it was a great idea to just go shut off a bunch of them.

    I could understand if management at his workplace has instituted some strict rules about power usage preventing him from leaving his work PC on when he’s not using it. Then this would make sense. But if it’s just some asswhole walking around at night hitting power buttons, there are easier ways of dealing with it. Like telling the asswhile to knock it the hell off or he’s fired.

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