Control Center: Settings

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Copyright © 2017 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2017.12.13)

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This section of the Control Center consists of the functions that affect the entire system including the Userful host and all the connected displays. These functions include:

  • Manage System License
  • Change Admin Password
  • Failover Group Settings
  • Remote Control Settings
  • Performance Settings
  • Broadcast Alert
  • Zero-Client Configuration
  • Create Staff User
  • Change root password
  • Change Hostname
  • Power Management
  • Reboot / Shutdown the system
  • Network Settings
  • Manage Updates
  • Manage System Date, Time and Language


The settings listed under General category allow users to access some of the key features of Userful™ such as Licensing, Failover Settings, Remote Control Settings etc.

Manage Licensing

With Userful™, Licensing is quickly and easily managed through the Control Center. The unlicensed version of Userful™ is fully functional, but will display a brief registration reminder on all attached displays every 20 minutes or so. To enable the full version, you need a valid license for each display.

Getting License Key Online
Manually Install License

To get your Userful host licensed online, Go to "Manage Licensing" link under Settings.

If you already have an activation code:

  1. Enter the Activation Code in the first box.
  2. Enter the maximum number of displays to be used in the second box.
  3. Press "Download and Install License" button to get the license key.

Note: The activation code is tied to a certain number of displays. The number of displays entered cannot exceed the number specified when activation code was created.

To get the "Activation Code", click "Get Activation Code" and submit the form.

You will need an active Internet connection to automatically install the license key or to submit the request for activation code.

Your web browser submits the basic system information to the license server as a part of the activation process. This information includes MAC address, Userful™ version and other hardware information.

The license key file(s) are installed automatically and take effect without rebooting the system.

Installing a License Key from a File
Install License Key

A Internet connection is required to use the activation code to install your license. If there is no Internet connection, email the MAC address or System ID of the Userful host you need to license along with your activation code to the Userful representative. They will generate a license key and send it to you as an attachment.

To install a license key from a file:

  1. Copy the file to the desktop of the system to be licensed or mount a USB flash drive containing the license key file.
  2. From the starting screen of the Licensing section, click on the button marked "Manually Install License File" under Settings > Manage Licensing > Replace License
  3. Click on the "Browse" button and navigate through the file system to the directory where the license key is saved. Select the license key file and choose "Open".
  4. Click on the "Upload License File" button. The license key file is installed automatically and takes effect after rebooting the system.

Increase Licensed Displays
Increase Number of Displays

If your contract allows, it is possible to increase the maximum number of displays connected to a given Userful host without replacing the license. To do this, click on the "Increase Displays" link under Settings > Manage Licensing

If desired, backup the existing license by clicking the "Backup your current license file” link in the dialogue that appears.

Enter the “Activation Code” and the new "Maximum Number of Displays". Click on the "Request Increase from License Server" button to complete the operation. Please Note: The new maximum number of displays entered must be greater than the current maximum.

The "License Details" will now reflect the increased Maximum Number of Displays.

Backing up a License File
  • To back up a license file, go to Settings > Manage Licensing and click the "Download/Backup current license".
    • This will open a dialogue box asking to confirm the file-saving operation. Click "Save" to save a copy of the license file with a ".bak" file extension in the /etc/userful/license/ directory.
Replacing an Existing License

Sometimes it may be necessary to replace a license on a working system; for example, to add more displays to the license. Contact your Userful representative if you have any questions about obtaining a replacement license.
To replace a license, go to Settings > Manage Licensing and click the "Replace License" button. Follow the instructions to either get a license through the Internet (if you have an activation code) or install a license file manually.

Note: License persist when product is upgraded to a newer version. That is, if you already have a license for a version of Userful™, you can update your system to the newest available version without obtaining a new license as long as you have an active maintenance and support contract.

Change Hostname

Change Hostname

User can change Hostname using this link.

  • Click on Control Center > Settings > Change Hostname link
  • A window will popup, enter New Hostname
  • Click "OK" to complete the process

This change will restart all connected zero clients and the Control Center, the change will take effect after system reboot.

Failover Group Settings

Failover eliminates the risk of single point of failure. It requires at least two Userful hosts in the same subnet. In the event of failure, backup host can take over the displays that were assigned to the failed host. Please refer to Failover page for detailed information.

Remote Control Settings

Userful™ software appliance lists down various Remote Control Settings that user can enable or use to remotely control and interact with stand-alone displays and video walls. These settings include features like Source Switcher, Preset Switcher and Interactive Viewer.

Note: Appropriate license tier or Advanced Subscription is required to access these features, please contact your Sales Representative or send an email to for more details.

Remote Control Settings
Source Switcher

Source Switcher is available under all license tiers except Basic. It allows users to launch and switch source on displays and video walls using a single-click, it can be accessed from any web browser within the same network, using any device including smartphones and tablets. For more information, visit Source Switcher .

Preset Switcher

Preset Switcher is available only under "Ultimate" license or "Advanced Subscription". It allows users to launch and switch between the saved preset (i.e., display mapping configuration) using a single-click, it can be accessed from any web browser within the same network, using any device including smartphones and tablets. For more information, visit Preset Switcher .

Interactive Viewer

Interactive Viewer is available only under "Ultimate" license or "Advanced Subscription". It allow users to remotely interact with standalone displays or video walls playing Interactive sources (e.g., Web Browser, Linux Desktop, Cloud Desktop etc.), via keyboard and mouse of a different computer such as Userful host, connected display or any device in the same local area network.

Performance Settings

Performance Settings

Userful™ software appliance lists down system-level settings that user can use or enable for optimal performance and content synchronization. These settings include features like Nvidia Offload Support, Intel Offload Support, Direct Sync and Display Scaling. For more information, visit Performance Settings.

Broadcast Alert

Broadcast Alerts

Broadcast Alert allows administrator to send short messages or alerts across online displays. To send message/alert across displays :

  • From the "Control Center" Navigation Panel, go to Settings
  • Enter the message in the text area provided.
  • Select "Alert level"
  • Select Display Length/Time Duration for message from the drop-down (e,g. display message for 2 minutes)
  • Click "Start Broadcast" button

Message will be displayed on all online displays including the Userful host. Admin can cancel a message broadcast by simply clicking the "Stop Broadcast" button.

Zero-Client Configuration

Zero-Client Configuration

Zero-Client Configuration specifies how new zero-client are assigned to the Userful host (i.e., automatic or manual). Select one of the following options:

  • Automatically assign new zero-clients to this Userful host, or
  • Manually assign new zero-clients to this Userful host

By default, administrators have to manually assign zero-client devices to the Userful host. To assign zero-client displays, please visit Managing Displays.

User Management

The settings listed under User management allow users to change root password, create staff user, change staff password to maintain the proper authentication process

Change root Password

Change root Password

Userful™ software appliance does not set the root password by default. Root access is only necessary for non-graphical troubleshooting and advanced integration. User can set and change root password using this link. To do so:

  • From the "Control Center" Navigation Panel, go to Settings
  • Click on the "Change root Password" link
  • A window will pop with an advise not to set the root password as this will limit the level of support from Userful team
  • Click OK to continue
  • A window will popup, enter New Password and Repeat Password
  • Click "OK" to complete the process

The change will take effect immediately without system reboot.

Change user Password

Change User Password

To change the user account password set during "Initial Setup" process, click "Change user Password" link

  • A window will popup, enter the current password, new password and repeat password in the respective fields
  • Click "OK" to complete the process

The change will take effect immediately without system reboot.

Create staff User

Create Staff User

With the release of Userful 8.6, Userful provides the ability to create "staff" user account for limited access functionality. A staff user will have limited privileges as compared to an "admin" user (user account created during the Initial Setup) and can access following Control Center features:

  • Play and pause video playback
  • Remap displays and video walls to existing sources
  • Create Mirror groups
  • Reboot / Shutdown the Userful host
  • Reset zero client devices
  • Broadcast alert messages
  • Contact Support and access to support portal

To create and edit the staff user account:

  • Open Control Center > Settings and click "Create staff user"
  • Enter the data in the "New Password" and "Repeat Password" fields
  • Click OK to complete the process

Once completed, log out of the Control Center. On the login screen "staff" user is listed under the available username drop-down.

Power Management

The settings listed under this category allow users to conserve power and improve the stability of the system

Automatic Nightly Shutdown / Reboot (Host)

Automatic Nightly Shutdown

To conserve power and to ensure proper shutdown or reboot of the Userful host, you can enable automatic shutdown / reboot process. To enable this:

  1. Click "Auto Nightly Shutdown / Reboot (Host)" link
  2. Enable the checkbox and choose between the toggle button Shutdown or Reboot the Userful host
  3. Enter the time in (HH/MM) format

Note: Warning message will pop 5 minutes before the scheduled time to notify all users to save their work.

Control Center also provides instructions to do automatic power-on using BIOS. This feature is particularly helpful if it is hard to access Userful host physically. Click on the " change BIOS settings" link and follow the instructions.

DPMS Settings

Power Management

Userful™ software appliance provides DPMS (Display Power Management Signaling) support for network zero client devices. DPMS is a standard used to save power and maximize the useful life of display devices including projectors. To enable DPMS functionality for displays:

  • Open Control Center > Settings > Power Management (Display).
  • Enable the options available as per the requirement:
  • Show screen saver after the specified time
  • Enter the screen saver directory
  • Enter the screen saver interval(s)
  • Power off displays on inactive display after the specified time
  • Power off all displays between the specified time period
  • Click "OK" to complete the process

All connected displays including the host display will go offline as per the option selected.

Note: Screen saver can only be activated on certain sources (e.g., Welcome Screen, Cloud Desktop etc.)

Reboot and Shut Down System

Host system can be reboot or shut down using the "Reboot System" and "Shut Down System" links respectively.
Clicking on each button will bring up a confirmation dialog and once confirmed appropriate action will be performed.

System Updates and Extra Packages

Userful team is continually working to improve product stability and feature set for upcoming version releases. Occasionally, Userful may release important updates between official software version releases.

Check for System Updates

The best way to install Userful and other system updates is through Control Center > Settings

  • Click the "Check for System Updates" link
  • Select option as per your maintenance contract and click "Continue" and follow the update prompts.

Please Note: An active Internet connection and a valid Support and Maintenance contract is required to access the software updates.

Check for Available Packages

Installing Additional Packages

All the CentOS-provided software packages that come with a base Userful™ install are free and open source and can be redistributed under various open-source licensing schemes. However, several essential packages (such as media codecs, capture card drivers) cannot be redistributed freely and must be downloaded and installed from proprietary repositories.

Userful provides the ability to install additional packages, test videos and software directly through Control Center. To access this functionality, click "Check for Available Packages" link under "System Updates and Extra Packages". User can install following packages:

  • Blackmagic Design Capture Card Driver
  • Desktop Software Suite
  • Educational Programs
  • LibreOffice
  • Media Player Codecs
  • Sample Media Content
  • VirtualBox Extension Pack (VDI)

Select the package and hit "Apply" to start the installation process. Changes will take effect without the system reboot.

Network Settings

Configuring Network Settings

Network Settings section displays following information of Network Interface Card:

  • Interface Name
  • Link Status
  • IP Address
  • Lease Time
  • DNS
  • Proxy Settings

"Edit" button located to the right of the IP address opens the network settings configuration box for the Userful host. By default, the Userful host automatically retrieve its network settings and IP Address from router or DHCP server. It is possible to override this setting and manually configure the network.

Proxy Settings

Proxy Settings

The Control Center uses the Internet to contact the Userful licensing server. If the computer system is behind a proxy server, administrators must set a proxy address within the Control Center to allow the Userful host to communicate with the licensing server in order to retrieve licenses.

To configure proxy settings, go to Settings > Network Settings > Proxy Settings under Control Center. Select the "Manual Proxy Configuration" option and enter the Userful host proxy address and the TCP port and click "OK".

Time, Location and Language

These settings allow users to change time & date, location and system language

Date and Time

  • Users can set date and time manually by entering values in the text box provided or can set it to "Automatic".


  • To select a time zone, choose your region and then nearest city from the drop-down
  • Click OK to complete the process

System Language

  • Select system language and system keyboard from the drop-down
  • Click OK to complete the process

The changes will take effect only after the reboot.

Related Links