Control Center: System Operations

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Copyright © 2016 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2016.11.17)

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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 stations. These functions include:

  • Manage System License
  • Change Admin Password
  • Failover Settings
  • Preset Settings
  • Performance Settings
  • Create Staff User
  • Change root password
  • Change Hostname
  • Power Management
  • Reboot / Shutdown the system
  • Network Settings
  • Manage Updates
  • Manage System Date, Time and Language

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, goto "Manage Licensing" link under System Operations.

If you already have an activation code:

  1. Enter the Activation Code in the first box.
  2. Enter the maximum number of stations 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 stations. The number of stations 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 System Operations > 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.

Increasing the Maximum Number of Stations on a License

Increase Number of Stations

If your contract allows, it is possible to increase the maximum number of stations connected to a given Userful host without replacing the license. To do this, click on the "Increase Stations" link under System Operations > 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 Stations". Click on the "Request Increase from License Server" button to complete the operation.

Please Note: The new maximum number of stations entered must be greater than the current maximum.

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

Backing up a License File

  • To back up a license file, go to System Operations > 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 stations to the license. Contact your Userful representative if you have any questions about obtaining a replacement license.
To replace a license, go to System Operations > 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 > System Operations > Change Hostname link
  • A window will popup, enter New Hostname
  • Click "OK" to complete the process

This change will restart all connected zero cients 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 stations that were assigned to the failed host. Please refer to Failover page for detailed information.

Preset Settings

Preset Settings allows a user to control and launch session on displays through Preset Remote Control and to launch and switch between the saved preset settings(i.e station mapping configuration) through Preset Station Mapping, using a single click. These settings can be accessed from any web browser within the same network, using any device including smartphones and tablets.

Enable Preset Remote Control

Preset Remote Control

Preset Remote Control allows a user to control and launch session on display(s) using a single-click. To use this feature, enable Preset Remote Control under Preset Settings dialog window as shown in the image to the right. For more information, visit Preset Remote Control page.

Enable Preset Station Mapping

Preset Station Mapping

Preset Station Mapping allows a user to launch and switch between the saved preset settings(i.e station mapping configuration) using a single-click. To use this feature, enable Preset Station Mapping under Preset Settings dialog window as shown in the image to the right. For more information, visit Preset Station Mapping page.

Performance Settings

Performance settings list down features like Nvidia Offload Card Support, Direct Sync and Display Scaling that user can use/enable for optimal performance and content synchronization. Please refer to Performance Settings page for detailed information.

Set 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 System Operations
  • Click on the "Set 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 session containers
  • Create Mirror groups
  • Reboot / Shutdown the Userful host
  • Reset zero client devices
  • Broadcast alert messages
  • Browser remote
  • Contact Support and access to support portal

To create and edit the staff user account:

  • Open Control Center > System Operations 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

Automatic Nightly Shutdown

Automatic Nightly Shutdown

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

  1. Click "Automatic Nightly Shutdown (Host)" and check the "Automatically Shutdown the host PC/server" checkbox
  2. 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 host PC/server 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 > System Operations > Power Management (Display).
  • Check one of the options available as per the requirement:
  • Power off displays on inactive station after the specified time
  • Power off all displays between the time period specified
  • Click "OK" to complete the process

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

Reboot and Shut Down System

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

Network Settings

Configuring Network Settings

Network Settings section of System Operations 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 System Operations > 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".

System Updates

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.

The best way to install Userful and other system updates is through Control Center > System Operations > System Updates

  • Click the "Check for 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.

Additional Packages and Software

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 directly through Control Center. To access this functionality, click "Check for Availability" link under "Additional Packages and Software". User can install following packages:

  • Blackmagic Design Capture Card Driver
  • Desktop Software Suite
  • Educational Programs
  • LibreOffice
  • Media Player Codecs
  • Sample Media Content

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

Date and Time

Host PC's date and time zone can be changed by clicking on “Change” link. User can edit date and time manually by entering values in the text box provided or can set it to "Automatic".

System Language

System and keyboard language are displayed at the end of System Operations screen. In order to change the language click “Change” link and select System and keyboard language from the drop-down.

The changes will take effect only after the reboot.

Related Links