Userful Desktop™ 8: Administrator Guide

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Copyright © 2015 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2015.09.25)

To return to the Userful Desktop 8 main documentation page, Click Here.



Thank you for choosing Userful Desktop™ 8, the world’s best and most complete public computing solution. In this Administrator Guide, you will find instructions to set up and configure Userful Desktop to suit your needs.

Before You Begin

Access up-to-date documentation on Userful's Support Website.

Make sure you have:

  • This Administrator Guide
  • Product Guide
  • Training Manual(s)
  • Installation/Restore DVD

Electronic versions of these documents can be downloaded from our Support Website

Hardware Setup for Userful Desktop 8

Hardware Requirements

The following table shows the minimum, and recommended hardware requirements for Userful Desktop 8.

Memory (RAM) 512 MB + 1GB per station 2 GB + 1GB per station
Processor Intel or AMD CPU with 64-bit extensions (multi-core CPUs recommended for multi-station) Intel or AMD CPU with 64-bit extensions (Dual-Core for single user; Quad-Core for multi-station)
Hard Disk 120 GB hard disk (Entire disk will be formatted) 120+ GB hard disk

(The entire disk will be formatted. A larger disk is not required,
but a new faster drive is recommended)

Optical Drive Bootable DVD 12x Bootable DVD

Hardware Safeguards

Before setting up your Userful Desktop 8, please read and understand the safety and operating instructions in this Administrator's manual. Retain these instructions for future reference.

Ventilation: Vents and fan openings on the computer box provide the necessary airflow for reliable operation of the product and protect it from overheating. These openings must not be blocked or covered. Similarly, this product should not be placed within an enclosed or confined area (such as a cabinet) unless proper ventilation is provided.

AC power cord: The power cord is used to connect the central computer box to a surge protected power bar or uninterrupted power supply. Ensure that the socket outlet is located or installed near the computer box and is easily accessible.

Lithium battery: The lithium battery provides power for the clock and the non-volatile CMOS memory. The battery has an estimated useful life expectancy of five to ten years. If your system no longer keeps accurate time and date settings, you may need to replace the battery. There is an explosion hazard if the battery is incorrectly replaced or replaced with the wrong type of battery. Replace only with the same or equivalent type of battery.

Power bar/Surge protector: Ensure the computer box is always plugged into a surge protected power source.

RISK OF ELECTRICAL SHOCK: Only a trained computer technician using appropriate safeguards should attempt to service the computer. Opening or removing covers may expose personnel and equipment to hazards. Incorrect reassembly can cause electric shock when this product is subsequently used.

Multiple Video Card Solution: Setting Up Stations

System Setup Diagram

Step 1: Plan out your public computing area. The host computer box should be conveniently located for easy access to the DVD drives. Place monitors far enough apart for comfortable working space and privacy for each station, but close enough for the cables to reach the computer. Where possible, all monitors and keyboards should reside on the same table as the computer box to which they are connected; otherwise place them as close to the computer box as practicable.

Step 2: Prepare the following items before proceeding:

  • A VGA monitor for each station (supporting a minimum resolution of 1024x768 pixels at 60 Hz)
  • One keyboard and one mouse for each station (connected to a USB hub if required)
  • An Ethernet connection via Category 5 cable and an Internet service provider (ISP)
  • (Optional) A supported printer
  • (Optional) Recordable CDs or DVDs for saving data
The LED(s) for the network connection illuminate when a network cable is connected and functional.

Step 3: Place a keyboard and mouse pair for each monitor (or “station”).

Step 4: Connect all cables (Ethernet, monitor(s), USB and power) to the back of the Userful Desktop 8 computer. The Ethernet cable is required to connect to a network and/or the Internet.

Note: If you are using multiple video card solution, VGA monitors connect via VGA-to-DVI converters. There should be one VGA port and at least one USB port for each station.
Caution: If cables must be run between tables, be sure they are out of the way, secured or covered and do not present a tripping hazard.
Half-hitch knotted USB plug and extension cable.

Step 5: Connect all power cords from the central computer box and monitors into surge-protected power bars or uninterruptable power supplies.

Tip: Use VGA and USB extension cables to deploy stations away from the Userful Desktop computer. When installing a USB extension, tie a half-hitch knot at the connection to prevent accidental disconnection. Use the shortest and highest quality cable possible. The maximum allowable cable length between a keyboard and a powered hub or computer is 15 feet.

USB Zero Client Solution: Setting Up Stations

USB zero client devices come in various configurations. How you set up your stations depends on the kind of zero client devices you use. The most common configuration used with Userful Desktop is:

  • USB docking stations with built-in USB zero client device (some are called "thin clients"). Some have USB ports, keyboard/mouse ports, audio plug-ins, etc. All will have a VGA port.

Step 1: Plan out your public computing area. The host computer box should be conveniently located for easy access to the DVD drives. Place monitors far enough apart for comfortable working space and privacy for each station, but close enough for the cables to reach the computer. Where possible, all monitors and keyboards should reside on the same table as the computer box to which they are connected; otherwise place them as close to the computer box as practicable.

Step 2: Prepare the following items before proceeding:

  • A VGA monitor for each station (supporting a minimum resolution of 1024x768 pixels at 60 Hz)
  • A USB zero client device for each station
  • One keyboard and one mouse for each station
  • An Ethernet connection via Category 5 cable and an Internet service provider (ISP)
  • (Optional) A supported printer
  • (Optional) Recordable CDs or DVDs for saving data
The LED(s) for the network connection illuminate when a network cable is connected and functional.

Step 3: Connect one monitor, one mouse and one keyboard to each USB docking station. DO NOT connect the docking station(s) to the host PC until after software installation is complete .

Step 4: Connect all cables (Ethernet, monitor(s), USB and power -- except for the USB zero client device cables) to the back of the Userful Desktop 8 computer. The Ethernet cable is required to connect to a network and/or the Internet.

Caution: If cables must be run between tables, be sure they are out of the way, secured or covered and do not present a tripping hazard.

Step 5: Connect all power cords from the central computer box and monitors into surge-protected power bars or uninterruptable power supplies.

Tip: Use VGA extension cables to deploy stations away from the Userful Desktop computer.

Adding or Removing USB Stations

To add a station, simply plug in a USB zero client device. No reboot is necessary, the station will be ready to use after a brief pause (assuming your license supports that number of stations).

Stations can be removed simply by unplugging the USB zero client device (even from a running system).

General USB Guidelines

  • USB zero client devices work with USB 2.0 ports.
  • It is necessary to configure the host PC so that USB ports are not disabled when the host computer enters sleep mode.
  • Success when using USB stations with notebook and netbook computers may vary since many notebooks have power management schemes that can interfere with or limit the amount of power allowed to USB ports.
  • We do not recommend daisy chaining USB hubs or USB zero client devices. But if you absolutely must, be sure to use powered USB hubs when daisy chaining USB stations.
  • The USB protocol specifies a maximum of 5 hubs ("hops") per USB port. If you need to use extension cables, ensure that the distance between the USB device and the computer/powered USB hub is not greater than 5 m (15 ft) to prevent voltage drops.
    • Userful testing has shown that greater distances can be achieved using hubs between cable connections. It worked well with a single added hub at 15 feet, and adequately with another hub at 30 feet. Performance degraded steeply at distances greater than 30 feet. We recommend to using no more than one intervening hub to ensure good user experience.
  • Cable quality is very important. Only use high-quality USB 2.0 compliant cables. (Note: 'compliant' is different than 'compatible'. Good quality cables often say "High-Speed Certified".) We recommend cable specifications of at least 24 AWG (power) and 28 AWG (signal). Low quality USB cables can cause excessive voltage drops that can create system instability issues or can cause a USB zero client device to be disabled by the Linux Kernel.
  • We recommend using powered hubs or Userful USB hubs with audio to connect each station.

For a more in-depth look at USB connectivity, please see USB: Troubleshooting and Guidelines.

Network Zero Client Solution

With release of Userful Desktop 8.2, Userful has added support for Network zero-client devices. Userful Desktop 8.2 is designed to support network zero client devices (using the Elite Silicon® (EST) USB to LAN chipset) with one of the USB graphics chipsets.

Getting Started

Some things to remember:

  • Even when using network zero client stations, it is important to keep one station connected to the onboard video card in order to see startup messages.
  • We recommend the use of homogeneous (all one type and model) network zero client devices with Userful.
  • Network zero client devices MUST be on the same subnet as the host PC to function.
  • If there is more than one host PC on a subnet, they must have unique hostnames. This is because network zero client devices are locked to PCs based on the system name (or "hostname"). Having duplicate host names on one subnet cause erratic behaviour of the network devices.

Setting up Stations

An example of a network station configuration.

Step 1: Prepare the following items before proceeding:

  • A VGA monitor for each station (supporting a minimum resolution of 1024x768 pixels at 60 Hz)
  • A Network zero client device for each station
  • One keyboard and one mouse for each station
  • An Ethernet connection via Category 5 cable and an Internet service provider (ISP)
  • A Network Switch
  • (Optional) Router
  • (Optional) A supported printer
  • (Optional) Recordable CDs or DVDs for saving data

Step 2: Position one monitor to be plugged into the system tower; this is the onboard station. Input devices (keyboard and mouse) can be plugged directly into the system tower as well (for either PS/2 or USB connections); however Userful recommends using a simple USB hub with audio input/output for connection of the onboard station input devices.

Step 3: Position one monitor and one network zero client device for each station required and group each with a keyboard and mouse.

Step 4: Connect one monitor, one mouse and one keyboard to each device.

Step 5: Using Cat-5e network cable, connect each device to a gigabit-capable switch (or router, depending on network setup). See example to the right.

Step 6: Connect the host PC to the switch (or router) using Cat-5e network cable.

Step 7: Ensure all devices, hubs and monitors are connected to a UPS or surge protected outlets, if necessary.

Step 8: Turn on the system when ready.

Note: Station setup should be done after installation of Userful Desktop 8 is complete. For more information on network zero client devices, please refer to Guidelines for Network Zero Client Deployments.

Adding or Removing Network Zero Client Stations

To add a station (assuming your license supports that number of stations), simply connect another device and use the Control Center to attach the device to the server. Please note: it may take up to 60 seconds for the newly added station to be recognized by the system. No reboot is necessary.

Stations can be removed simply by unplugging the device (even from a running system).

Please refer to Troubleshooting Network Zero Client Deployments for more detailed network zero client guidelines and troubleshooting information.

Installing Userful Desktop 8

If you purchased Userful Desktop 8 as a software-only solution, you will need to install Userful Desktop 8 on your PCs. If you purchased Userful Desktop 8 as a complete hardware and software solution, your computers ship with Userful Desktop 8 pre-installed. Please proceed to First Boot After Installation.

NOTE: Userful Desktop 8 software installed by this DVD permits both single and multi-station use.

To install Userful Desktop 8:

Step 1: If your computer is configured to boot from the DVD drive, simply switch the computer on and insert the Userful Desktop 8 Installation DVD into the drive. If the PC does not boot from the DVD, enable the DVD boot device option in the BIOS following the instructions below.

System Setup Diagram

Step 2: After booting from the Userful Desktop 8 Installation DVD, select the type of partition, Automatic Partition(entire hard drive will be formatted and you will loose all the data on that hard drive), Manual Partition(manually specify the volume to be formatted).Installation starts automatically if the computer hardware meets the minimum specifications outlined above.

Step 3: Once Userful Desktop 8 is installed on the hard drive, eject and remove the DVD. Ensure that the computer is connected to the Internet prior to restarting the computer. This is an ideal time to connect USB multiseat devices to the host PC. Once any necessary hardware setup is complete, reboot the computer.

Note: Before permitting public use, configure the BIOS to prevent booting from a DVD and password protect the BIOS. This ensures that a malicious user cannot boot his own DVD and overwrite your hard drive. Enter your computer’s BIOS configuration as described below, then go to the “Security” or “Passwords” page in the BIOS and select the “Set Supervisor Password” or similar option. Press ‘Enter’ and type in the password you want and press ‘Enter’, do this again and record the password for future reference. Save the new BIOS settings and exit the BIOS configuration screen.

Changing Boot Device Priority

Changing boot device priority enables your computer to boot from the Userful Desktop 8 Installation DVD, and -- with different settings -- prevents unauthorized users from booting their own software.

To change boot device priority:

  1. Press the ‘Delete’ or appropriate function (F1 -F12) key when you first switch on the computer to enter the BIOS configuration screen. (Determine the correct key to press for your PC by examining the first screens to appear after switching on your computer.)
  2. In the BIOS configuration screens, navigate using the arrow keys. Press ‘Enter’ to select options and ‘Esc’ to exit. The particular page and name of the boot sequence configuration depends on the computer. On older PCs it could be called “CMOS Setup” under the “Advanced” menu; modern PCs might list it as “Boot Device Priority” on the “Boot” menu. Select the “Boot Device Priority” option and press ‘Enter’.
    An example of a BIOS screen.
  3. Select the “1st Boot Device” option and press ‘Enter’; this will let you choose from a list of possible devices such as hard disk drives, and USB and network devices.
  4. Use the arrow keys (or the +/- keys on some computers) to highlight the appropriate boot device. To boot from the Userful Desktop 8 DVD, choose the DVD drive, then press ‘Enter’. To prevent others from booting from their own DVDs (after installing Userful Desktop 8), choose the hard drive, then press ‘Enter’.
  5. Press ‘Esc’ repeatedly until you reach the main menu.
  6. Choose the option allowing you to exit the configuration BIOS configuration screen and save the new settings. Press ‘Enter’ to confirm the action. The computer will restart.

First Boot After Installation

The keyboard assignment screen

Step 1: Power on all monitors. If using USB zero client devices, they can now be connected to the computer box. Power on the computer box. The boot-up process will begin. During boot up, start-up messages will appear on the primary station’s monitor, typically connected to the top-most video port on the back of the computer box. This will also be the screen which displays any BIOS messages. Since all other screens will be blank during the initial phases, it is important to be sure that this monitor is plugged in and working.

Step 2: Once the system has started, each workstation's display will be presented with Userful Desktop software.

Only the host PC(with dual-head cards) display will prompt you to press a function key (F-1 to F-10) on the keyboard in front of the monitor to correctly link the keyboard to the monitor. Both a keyboard and a mouse are required. If the mouse is plugged into the USB keyboard (via an integrated hub in the keyboard) the mouse will be automatically assigned along with the keyboard when you press the correct function key. If the mouse is plugged into a separate USB port, you will be prompted to press a button on the mouse to link it with the correct monitor and keyboard combination. After setting up the input device, you will be presented with the Userful Desktop software.

You may reassign keyboard and mouse at any point by simply:

  • Selecting “Reset Configuration” in Userful Control Center from Administrator Mode or
  • Pressing “Ctrl+Alt+Break” or
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting the offending keyboard.

Configuring Userful Desktop

When Userful Desktop starts for the first time, the setup wizard screen appears.

After configuring the display settings and assigning at least one station, you will be prompted to accept the Userful Desktop License Agreement. If you accept the agreement, the setup wizard will guide you through initial Userful Desktop configuration.

The following steps should be completed prior to enabling the system. A green check mark will appear next to each configured item.

Step 1, Network: Network settings must be configured to access the local area network or the Internet. (Note: Internet access is required to complete the next configuration step.) The default network settings are correct for most installations. If necessary, instructions for reconfiguring the network are given in the Administrator Mode section of the User Guide.

Note the checkmarks next to each item. This system is completely configured and ready to be enabled.

Step 2, Network Proxy: Ensure that your system’s default network proxy is working. The network proxy can be manually configured.

Step 3, Apply Configuration: You must register Userful Desktop to take full advantage of Userful Desktop’s customizable settings and web-based management features. If you do not currently have a Userful Manager account, the Register step will offer to create one for you. This is one of the most powerful features of Userful Desktop and gives administrators remote control and monitoring of many Userful Desktop features.

If you incorrectly register your Userful Desktop in this step, please refer to the instructions here.

Step 4, Date and Time: Ensure that your system’s date and time, and time zone are correct before enabling your Userful Desktop. You can also set the date and time later through Admin Mode.

Step 5, Printers (optional): If you wish to configure printers connected to Userful Desktop, do so in this step. You can also configure printers later by following the steps in the Printing Guide.

Step 6, Enable System: After configuring the above options, click “Enable System” to turn on the stations. This will display the Welcome Screen on all configured systems.

Install External Packages

Number of packages necessary for multimedia playback (audio and video codecs, for example) as well as proprietary applications such as Flash and Adobe Reader, can be installed quickly and easily by installing "External Packages".

To install External Packages:

  1. Enter Administrator Mode by pressing Ctrl+Alt+A.
  2. Double-click on the "Advanced Tools" folder on the Administrator Mode desktop.
  3. Double-click on "Install Packages" to open the package management tool, Yum Extender.
  4. Click on "Available" (below search input box) to show all available packages.
  5. Search for "external" in the search input box.

  1. Click to put a checkmark next to "external-packages".
  2. Click "Apply" to install all the External Packages. This process will take some time to complete. No reboot is necessary after the installation.

  3. Connecting Other Devices

    A limited number of USB devices, in addition to USB mice, may be connected directly to USB ports in USB keyboards. Powered or unpowered USB hubs can also be used to connect a variety of USB devices. Audio devices can also be used at each station.

    About USB Devices

    USB devices can either be self powered (e.g., USB CD drives, powered USB hubs) or bus powered (e.g., audio headsets, mice, keyboards). Self powered devices include an AC power adapter. Because each USB port on the central computer only provides a power supply up to 500 mA for its devices, connecting multiple bus powered devices to an unpowered hub can easily exceed this maximum power consumption.

    Typically USB ports only provide sufficient power to support a single keyboard and mouse and one other low powered device such as a USB audio headset. To attach additional high power devices such as a USB floppy drive, you will need to connect them directly to the computer box, or to a powered USB hub.

    Keyboards should never be connected to spare ports on other keyboards. Floppy drives should never be plugged into keyboards

    For a more in-depth look at USB connectivity, please see USB: Troubleshooting and Guidelines.

    The User Experience: Headphones, USB Memory and Digital Cameras

    Userful Desktop is designed to give each user a complete 'PC' experience, including the use of audio devices such as, USB mass storage devices (flash drives) and digital cameras.

    Although station set-ups will vary, users will commonly plug their devices into a USB hub (which often includes a 3.5mm audio jack) or USB multiseat device associated with their Userful Desktop station. For optimum performance, please instruct users to:

    • plug in audio devices before logging in at the station
      • Note: Only one application can use sound at a time. If sound does not seem work with some programs, please check whether there is another program using the sound device and close the program. Then, try the first program again.
    • plug in USB mass storage devices and digital cameras when a session is already running

    Userful Desktop 8 Administration: Overview

    Userful Desktop 8 is administered through three main tools: Userful Manager, Remote Monitoring and Control and Userful Desktop's Administrator Mode.

    One or more staff within your organization should be designated as Administrators, who:

    1. Set up the system and configure the Userful Desktop using Userful Manager

    2. Keep account information up to date

    3. Will be the first point of contact both for Userful support and your own staff when issues arise.

    Userful Manager

    Userful Manager.

    Administrators control Userful Desktop's appearance and functionality through the Userful Manager web portal. They do so by logging in to the web-based control panel using a web browser to make and apply changes. Userful Manager saves these settings, which can also be applied to any new machines added to the Userful Manager account.

    Access to Userful Manager is included as part of your support subscription agreement.

    To add an administrator to Userful Manager, please refer to these instructions.

    Userful Manager is described later in this guide.

    Remote Monitoring and Control

    Remote Monitoring and Control.

    Administrators also have access to a variety of remote support and assistance tools through the Remote Monitoring and Control web portal. This enables administrators to execute real-time commands on systems, such as re-booting the computer, logging out a specific user, viewing logs, etc.

    Access Remote Monitoring and Control from the Userful Manager home page, by visiting http://localhost/gui.php from a web browser on Userful Desktop or from the desktop icon available in Administrator Mode. An administrator password is required to access Remote Monitoring and Control.

    Remote Monitoring and Control is described later in this guide.

    The Administrator Mode

    Administrator Mode. Some tools reside in the Advanced Tools folder.

    Administrator Mode provides access to key administrative tools and is typically used when setting up, moving or troubleshooting a computer.

    Enter Administrator Mode from the welcome screen of any Userful Desktop by pressing “Ctrl+Alt+A”. When prompted to do so, enter the Administrator password. In Administrator Mode, administrators can:

    • Schedule a reboot
    • Configure network settings
    • Set the date, time, and time zone
    • Configure printers
    • View system settings
    • Open a command prompt window
    • Enter Userful Manager
    • Immediately update changes made in Userful Manager

    Administrator Mode is described later in this guide.

    Administrator Passwords

    Administrators use two types of passwords:

    Administrator Mode passwords: Each Userful Desktop has an Administrator password that enables administrators to enter Administrator Mode. To simplify management, Userful Manager will assign the same password for all Userful Desktops. This password should be known by all administrators and should be changed periodically.

    This password can be changed through the Userful Manager web interface. When one administrator changes the password, all administrators added to your Userful Multiplier account will receive an email alerting them to this change. Keep your administrator password secret, and if you need to write it down, store it in a safe place.

    Note: For security reasons, a new and unique password to enter Administrator Mode is assigned the first time a machine registers with Userful Manager. To access and/or change this new password, go to Userful Manager > Solutions Expert > System Passwords.

    The default passwords for 'Administrative actions by non-Administrators' are also found in 'System Passwords'.

    Userful Manager Account passwords: Each individual with administrative privileges within your organization will have their own account and password with the portal. They can log in from any web browser using their email address and password and undertake set-up and configuration tasks. To change your personal account password, log in to Userful Manager and click on the link "Your member account details"; from the "My Account" page which opens, click on "Change my Password".

    Administrative actions by non-Administrators

    Add time with the Ctrl+Alt+R key combination.

    Certain administrative actions can be performed without a regular administrator (for example, by on-duty staff):

    Ctrl+Alt+Del resets an individual station (available to any user).

    Ctrl+Alt+T with the time password: can extend the time of a station’s session. This brings up a dialog prompting for how long the administrator wishes to extend the user’s time.

    Ctrl+Alt+R with the reboot password: schedules a reboot of the system the next time all stations are empty. This optionally allows staff to prevent new users logging on until the reboot has taken place.

    Ctrl+Alt+F with filter password: can remove the filtering of a station’s session.

    Passwords can be changed using the “System Passwords” panel in Userful Manager.

    For reasons of security, passwords have been removed from the downloadable version of this document.

    Using Foreign Input

    Userful Desktop supports a variety of keyboard layouts and fonts for foreign languages.

    For more information on using Userful Manager to modify the level of internationalization and multilingual features, including keyboard layouts, offered to users through Userful Desktop, please see Section 6.8, Multi-language configuration.

    To learn how to set up Userful Desktop's multi-lingual input features, please contact Customer Support or your Userful Sales Representative.

    The 'Lock Station' Feature

    The 'Lock Station' icon.

    On-site Administrators should be aware of the 'Lock Station' feature, which can be added to Userful Desktops through Userful Manager.

    A user-created password must be entered twice to lock a station.

    Patrons who wish to leave their stations for a short time without abandoning their sessions can use the 'Lock Station' feature. When a patron clicks on the 'Lock Station' icon (found on the desktop and in the Start Menu), the dialog at right will appear, asking for a password that the user will create on-the-spot. Users must re-enter their password to be sure they have typed it correctly.

    Entering a password to unlock a station.

    To unlock the station and return to their session, users must enter the same password provided when the station was locked.

    Note: Please emphasize to your patrons the importance of remembering their lockdown passwords, as Administrators cannot bypass the password screen to return to the session. If necessary, Administrators can use Ctrl-Alt-Delete to immediately end the session and return to the Welcome Screen.

    Administrator Mode

    Entering Administrator Mode

    You can switch into administrator mode from any station by pressing “Ctrl+Alt+A”. When prompted, enter the administrator password.

    Administrator Mode removes the time limit and adds a selection of administrative icons to the desktop. To undertake an administrative task, simply double-click the appropriate icon. Note that icons for some less common commands reside in a folder on the desktop called “Advanced Tools”.

    Logging out of Administrator Mode.

    An administrator who wishes to work for a prolonged period and avoid the time limit manager could logon as Administrator. However, if the system is left idle for 5 minutes the station logs out.

    Be sure to log out once your work in administration mode is complete. To log out, select “Log Out” from the Start Here menu or click the logout icon on the timer.

    Administrator Mode passwords: To simplify management, Userful Manager will assign the same password for all Userful Desktops. This password should be known by all administrators and should be changed periodically.

    This password can be changed through the Userful Manager web interface. When one administrator changes the password, all administrators added to your Userful account will receive an email alerting them to this change. Keep your administrator password secret, and if you need to write it down, store it in a safe place.

    Note: For security reasons, a new and unique password to enter Administrator Mode is assigned the first time a machine registers with Userful Manager. To access and/or change this new password, go to Userful Manager > Solutions Expert > System Passwords.

    The default passwords for 'Administrative actions by non-Administrators' are also found in 'System Passwords'.

    Desktop Icons: Common Tasks

    In Administrative mode, icons for routine administrative tasks appear on the desktop. These tasks are described in more detail below.

    View System Information

    View System Information.

    The View System Information Icon is on the Administrator Mode Desktop. Double-clicking the icon will display a window containing pertinent information about your Userful Desktop including:

    • The product name and version
    • The MAC address for the primary network interface
    • Hard disk drive size
    • Installed memory size
    • Network status
    • Printer information

    Userful Manager

    Access Userful Manager.

    Double-clicking on this icon will open a web browser window for Userful Manager's web portal. With Userful Manager, an administrator can customize settings, appearance and functionality of the Userful Desktop system.

    Although Userful Manager can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer, accessing from the Administrator Mode desktop is useful since direct access from Userful Desktop allows you to immediately examine changes made through Userful Manager.

    More information about Userful Manager is in a later section of this Guide.

    Update Configuration

    Get Updated Configuration.

    Configuration changes made in Userful Manager are only applied the next time the computer box automatically checks in to Userful Manager's server, which occurs every four hours.

    Clicking the “Update Configuration” tool in Administrator Mode causes an immediate update to the configuration on the Userful Desktop. This allows you to check that your changes have had the desired effect.

    Updates will be applied to the system when you log out of Administrator Mode. Changes only become visible on sessions started after the Update Configuration tool has run.


    Configure the Network.

    To access the Network Configuration Tool, in Administrator Mode, double-click the “Network” icon. The Network Configuration tool will appear.

    The Network Configuration tool.

    This tool must be used if Userful Desktop failed to automatically obtain a network connection. You can attempt to obtain the correct network settings automatically by selecting one of the networks available in the list. Network properties such as DHCP hostname can be changed by clicking "Properties".

    Please Note: The "Use in default profile" box must be checked to get auto-connection of the network at boot.

    Static IP Configuration

    To set a static IP, click on “Properties" and check the "Use Static DNS". You will need the following information for manual network configuration:

    DNS domain, the IP address of your local network gateway. First and second DNS servers, the IP address(es) of your local Domain Name Server(s) and the IP Network Mask (usually this is

    Proxy Settings

    You may set up an HTTP proxy for your Userful Desktop system by clicking on the 'Proxy Settings' icon on the Administrator Mode Desktop.

    Other Desktop Tasks

    From the Administrator Mode desktop, you can also:

    • "Configure Printing" (this feature is discussed in more detail in the Printing Guide).
    • Schedule a computer "Reboot" or "Shutdown". For more information on rebooting and shutdown, please refer to Other Administrative Tasks.
    • Access the "Advanced Tools" folder.

    The Control Center

    Userful Desktop comes with it's own Control Center, which can be accessed through an icon on the Userful Desktop Administrator Mode desktop.

    For more information about the Control Center, please go to the Control Center documentation.

    Please Note: Not all functions and features of the Control Center are applicable to Userful Desktop 8. Please Contact Userful if unsure.

    The Advanced Tools Folder

    A number of administrative functions can be found in the Advanced Tools folder, a few important functions are:

    Command Prompt

    This tool should only be used with guidance from a Userful support technician.

    Restarting Services

    The restarting services icon should be used when any of the below services are not functioning properly. The same functionality can also be accomplished by rebooting the system. You will find the icon in the "Advanced Tools" folder. The services restarted by this icon are:

    • networking (the hostname is also reset to that which is configured by UM)
    • printing (cups) (all pending print jobs are cleared and all "stopped" queues are "started")
    • the stations being served out by VNC (including the VNC server process)
    • the stations being served out by XDM (including the XDM server process)
    • the Linux logging service (syslog)
    • the Japanese input service (Canna)
    • the cron job daemon (crond)
    • the international input method service (iiim)
    • the portmap service (used by xmlrpc functions)
    • the welcome screen backgound server
    • Remote Monitoring and Control
    • the squid proxy
    • the cache is cleared and configuration is reset
    • Dansguardian
    • configuration is re-gathered from configuration downloaded from UM
    • the RHN service (which checks for configuration on Userful Manager)
    • the X font server (xfs)
    • the network time daemon (ntpd)

    Userful Desktop 8: Printing Guide

    Printer Configuration

    With Userful Desktop, printers are configured both from the Userful Desktop and through the web-based management tool, Userful Manager. To add a new printer, first set it up in Admin Mode on one of your Userful Desktops. In Userful Manager you retrieve the printer configuration, and set up the cost profile and printer profile in Userful Manager, as well as applying the printer to other Userful Desktops.

    The Print Configuration Tool

    Userful Desktop supports most common networked printers using PostScript and PCL (we also maintain a list of Recommended Printers). To add a printer to Userful Desktop, enter Administrator Mode with Ctrl+Alt+A and click the “Configure Printing” icon on the desktop.

    Adding a Printer

    The Print Configuration Tool.

    Click the “New Printer” button, and follow the on-screen wizard.

    Userful Desktop supports printing to printers directly connected to a Userful Desktop, Windows or other print servers, and networked printers. Consult the following website,, and contact your Userful representative before purchasing a new printer for use with Userful Desktop.

    Note: If you would like to add this printer to other machines, you will first need to create the print queue in Administrator Mode using the ‘Configure Printing’ icon, NOT with Userful Manager. After you have retrieved the printer configuration from the machine in Userful Manager, you will be able to set costs, page limits, and apply the printers to other machines.

    Printer Set-up in Userful Manager

    Setting up print queues and charges through Userful Manager.

    Now that you've set up a printer on one of your Userful Desktops, from the Solutions Expert page in Userful Manager click on 'Computers'. Find the machine you have set the printer up on, and click 'Retrieve Printer Config'. The print queues will be retrieved on the Userful Desktop's next checkup, or can be retrieved immediately by pressing 'Alt-Ctrl-U' on one of the keyboards.

    Return to the Solutions Expert page in Userful Manager and click on 'Printers'. You will see a list of print queues, along with some basic information about those print queues (location, URI, etc.). Click on a printer name to edit the print queue and set a payment policy.

    The Edit Printer page is shown in the figure at right. Much of the information is pre-filled (from what you configured in Admin Mode), but you can:

    1. Assign the printer to a Location.
    2. Add machines (computers) to the printer's queue.
    3. Assign a Print Payment Policy

    Managing the Print Queue

    Userful Desktop includes a browser-based printer management tool known as CUPS, which is accessible via the web browser on your Userful Desktop.

    The CUPS Printing Interface allows you to view and manage the print queue from the Userful Desktop, allowing you to troubleshoot printing issues. To access the interface:

    Accessing the CUPS tool to manage print queues.
    1. At a Userful Desktop station that is attached to the machine you wish to manage, start a session and open a web browser.
    2. Type “http://localhost:631” in the address field. This will open the CUPS Printer Interface. (Be sure to include the “http://” portion when typing the URL.) A shortcut to the print queue page can be added to any session desktop via Userful Manager.
    3. Click on 'Jobs' or 'Manage Jobs' to view the queue of documents to be printed.
    4. Use the buttons provided to make adjustments to the print queue.
      • Some tasks require password access; the Printer Administration panel has a default login name of “Administrator” and a password which is the same as the Administration password for Userful Desktop.

    Print Control and Charges

    Userful Desktop informs patrons how to pay for print jobs.

    Userful Desktop's print control feature reduces unnecessary printing and can help recover printing costs.

    When print control is enabled through Userful Manager, Userful Desktop prompts users to confirm or reject each print job before queuing it for printing. It displays the number of pages, the cost and a customizable message with payment instructions such as “Pay at the front desk”, “You will need a smart card with sufficient funds to release your print job” or “This charge will be added to your library account”. An invoice/receipt can optionally be included as the last page of the print job. Configure print control in Userful Manager.

    Printer Troubleshooting

    Printing Problems: Check the Printer

    • Is there paper in printer?
    • Are the cables securely connected?
    • Is paper jammed in the printer?
    • Is the printer is on?
    • If the printer has its own status display, check this to see if there are any messages that are displayed.
    • Turn off the printer. Wait about 10-15 seconds, turn the printer back on and print a test page.

    If the above steps do not resolve your issue, please refer to our Print Troubleshooting FAQs.

    Web-Based Print Troubleshooting

    Viewing printer status with CUPS.
    1. Access the CUPS web-based printing system as described in Steps 1 & 2 of the Managing the Print Queue section, above.
    2. Click on either the ‘Printers’ or the ‘Manage Printers’ links. This will show the status of all printers on the network.
    3. Check on the printer to see its status. If the status is "Paused" or "Stopped," you can have the print queue start by clicking the "Maintenance" drop-down. This can happen if the printer has been powered off and on (a common last-resort method of resolving printer issues) or something mechanical has happened to the printer, such as a paper jam.
      • Some tasks require password access; the Printer Administration panel has a default login name of “Administrator” and a password which is the same as the Administration password for Userful Desktop.
    4. The print queue may also be clogged up by a single failed print job. To see what’s in the print queue click on the ‘Jobs’ link at the top of the page. This will display all the print jobs waiting to be serviced. From this page you can cancel individual jobs until you find the one clogging the queue by simply clicking the ‘Cancel Job’ button to the right of the appropriate job. It is best to start from the oldest job and work to the most recent job.
    5. Contact Userful Support if you require further assistance.

    Other Administrative Tasks

    Enabling Remote Support Access

    Note: You will only be eligible for remote support if you have purchased a support package from Userful.

    Userful Desktops typically connect to the Internet through the LAN (via a router or firewall) but it is possible to connect Userful Desktop directly to the Internet through cable or DSL via a public-facing IP address. In such a case remote support access should be automatic and you need not make any changes.

    If you are part of a larger organization or if a router or firewall sits between your Internet connection and your Userful Desktop, you are likely connecting through your router/firewall. This situation is covered in the next paragraph.

    Enabling access through a Router/Firewall

    If your Userful Desktop(s) are behind your firewall, Userful may request that you establish a port forwarding rule on your router or firewall to one designated machine in each location, thus enabling our support technicians to remotely access and troubleshoot your Userful Desktop software. This port forwarding rule will direct network traffic on a specific numeric port (typically port 22) to a specific Userful Desktop computer box within your LAN.

    In a DHCP network, the lease on at least one Userful Desktop computer’s internal IP address must be set to “forever” or “permanent” to prevent that Userful Desktop's IP address from changing, which would disrupt remote access. This specific Userful Desktop computer box will be used as a management point to access other Userful Desktops within the LAN.

    An alternative is to obtain an available IP address from your ISP and set up the Userful Desktop outside your LAN with a public facing IP address. All stations on a single Userful Desktop computer box (whether there are 1 or 10 stations) will use the same IP address so only one IP address per box is needed.

    Restart Userful Desktop

    Restarting Individual Stations

    Resetting a station with 'Ctrl+Alt+Del'.

    There is no way to retrieve “work in progress” from a station that has frozen. The “Ctrl+Alt+Del” key combination can be used to reset any individual Station whenever there is a problem. This reset process exits any programs currently running, clears any unsaved work, and returns the Station to the welcome screen. This process takes only a few seconds.

    If “Ctrl+Alt+Del” fails to restart the frozen station, it will be necessary to schedule a reboot of the computer, see below.

    To educate users about this option, place a prominent label on each station (either on the monitor or keyboard) stating: “Station Frozen? Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart”.

    Scheduling a Computer Reboot

    There are two methods to reboot the computer: a scheduled system reboot, and an immediate reboot.

    The scheduled reboot is the preferred method. It is designed to solve the problem of “I would have rebooted immediately but there were people using the system”. If a scheduled reboot is used, it will prevent any new logins and as soon as all stations are empty, the computer will reboot automatically. The scheduled reboot should be used when “Ctrl+Alt+Del” fails to restart a frozen station.

    Performing a scheduled reboot.

    To schedule a system reboot, use one of the non-frozen stations and press “Ctrl+Alt+R” and enter the reboot password, or press “Ctrl+Alt+A” and enter the Admin mode password, then select the “Schedule Reboot” icon. Either method will bring up a window confirming that a reboot has been scheduled for the next time all stations are unoccupied. You may wish to set the option preventing new logins to ensure a more rapid re-boot. If there is a screen for reporting the nature of the problem causing the re-boot please fill it in to help Userful track problems.

    Note: If a menu (created by a right-click or pull down) is active it steals the key-press, the Ctrl+Alt+ key sequences may nor work. Left-click on the desktop or application window then try again. If all the stations are frozen (a very rare anomaly) or if the computer hangs on boot-up, an immediate manual reboot is necessary.

    Shutting Down the Computer

    Shutting down the computer with the Admin Mode 'Shutdown Computer' icon (option 1).

    We recommend that Userful Desktop be left running at all times to improve the life of your hardware and ensure that all software updates are received. But it can be turned off to conserve power. Shut down the computer by one of the following methods:

    1. From the Admin Mode Desktop, press "Ctrl+Alt+Q" to shutdown the system; enter admin password to confirm.
    2. From the Admin Mode desktop, double-click on the 'Shutdown Computer' icon. This will 'schedule' a shutdown for after all users have logged off.
    3. Remotely shut down the computer using Remote Monitoring and Control.
      • RMC can also be used to reset stations and reboot computers.
    4. Press and hold the power button for at least 10 seconds.
    5. Switch off the power supply (at the back of the computer; the I/O (power) switch has a circle on one side and a line on the other. Pressing the side with the circle turns the power OFF.).

    Immediately Rebooting the Computer

    Powering off (or shutting down) the Userful Desktop (described above) and restarting it reboots the computer. When the power is switched off on a computer box, all stations attached to that computer go down. Any unsaved work on any station attached to the computer will be lost. Be sure to notify any users on the system to save their work to a USB memory stick, CD, floppy disk, or web drive, prior to undertaking an immediate reboot. A scheduled reboot (Ctrl+Alt+R) is the preferred method when stations are in use. Immediate reboot should only be used when there is no one using the system.

    Recording CDs

    Recording to CD-R (recordable) Discs With Userful Desktop

    The CD/DVD Creator window showing MP3 files dragged-and-dropped from the desktop.

    The following steps enable administrators and users to record CDs with Userful Desktop.

    1. Insert a blank CD.
    2. Double-click on the Computer icon on the desktop to locate the blank CD.
    3. Double-click to open the blank CD. When a blank CD or DVD is opened, the CD/DVD creator automatically launches.
    4. Drag the files to be copied from the desktop into the CD/DVD creator window (see image at right).
    5. Click on the 'Write Disk' button to start the CD burning process.
    6. A "Write to Disk" window opens up with the destination drive already specified. Name the disk and choose the write speed before clicking 'Write' to start the burn.
    7. The disk will be ejected automatically when the burn is finished.

    Recording to CD-RW (rewritable) Discs With Userful Desktop

    After clicking Write Disk, choose burn options.

    To write data to a CD-RW (rewritable) containing previously recorded information:

    1. Insert the rewritable CD into the CD drive in the Userful Desktop computer.
    2. If the CD-RW disc contains information, it must be erased before data can be recorded. If you wish to preserve the contents of the CD, first make a copy of its contents to the desktop.
    3. 'Blank' the disk if CD/DVD creator prompts you to do so.
    4. Follow the procedure above to burn your CD-Rewritable disc.

    Using Web Filters

    If filtering is optional, the user may choose to use the filter after logging in. In this example, the Internet Filter is 'Always ON'.

    Userful Desktop’s web filtering functionality is administered through Userful Manager, the web-based administration portal for Userful Desktop described in the next section of this guide.

    For any Session Profile in use, if the “Always ON” option for filtering is selected in Userful Manager’s Filtering control panel, the web filter for that session type will be applied automatically. If “Optional” was chosen, then a pop-up window (see right) will appear when the Session is started, which the user can use to enable or disable the web filter.

    Userful Manager

    Userful Manager (UM) is a web-based portal for managing settings related to the administration and operation of Userful Desktop. Use Userful Manager to modify settings on Userful Desktops including passwords and points of contact for system event notification emails. Customize settings such as operating hours and locations, Welcome Screens and CD drive access to fit your unique needs.

    Accessing Userful Manager

    The Userful Manager home page.

    Userful Manager can be accessed from any computer with a Web Browser and Internet access. To access the Userful Manager:

    1. Open in a web browser.
    2. If you have a UM account, enter the email address and password for that account. If you do not have a UM account, you may create one by clicking “Register”. If you have forgotten your password, click “Forgot your password?” to have a new automatically generated password sent to your registered email address.
    3. Click the “Log In” button to log in to UM.

    When you successfully log in, the Userful Manager home page opens.

    Navigating Through Userful Manager

    Userful Manager is a very powerful and complex tool for managing your desktops, but navigating through the many tools and tasks of Manager is simple. Every function can be reached through either the Userful Manager Home page, or through the Solutions Expert page. In addition, there is a Navigation/Information Bar across the top of each and every page that offers dynamic pull-down menus to help you move from task to task and area to area.

    The Navigation Bar is at the top of every page in Userful Manager.

    Note: Userful Manager takes full advantage of its web-based platform by extensively using hyperlinks. Any categories, column or row labels, names, options or other text that is blue is clickable; clicking such links opens up functionality or takes you to other areas of the website that relate to your current task. Use your browser's "Back" button to return to the previous screen.

    The Userful Manager Home Page

    The Home page is your starting point every time you log into Userful Manager.

    On the right side of the Home Page you will find news, tips and tricks for getting the most out of Manager.

    On the left side is a welcome banner with a link to the Getting Started Guide. Below the banner are shortcuts to system and account management tasks.

    The Toolbox navigation menu can also be found on the left side of the Home Page.

    My Userful Manager Account

    Configure your own Userful Manager account settings using the My Account control panel. Click the Edit button from the My Account screen to change your screen name, password, or e-mail address.

    Be sure to click 'OK' to save your changes.

    Click here on the navigation bar to access details of your Userful Manager Account.

    Your Userful Manager Account details can be accessed two ways:

    1. From the Home Page, on the left side under "Account Information", click on the 'Your member account details' link.
    2. From any Userful Manager page, once logged in, click on your Member (user) Name on the upper left, in the navigation bar.

    Note: None of the information associated with your account is visible to users.

    The Toolbox
    The Userful Manager Toolbox, with links highlighted for emphasis.

    From The Toolbox on the Userful Manager home page, you can:

    1. Open the Solutions Expert page (further information below, where you can control most aspects of your Userful Desktop system.
    2. Go to the the Solutions Catalog, which is a quick and easy way to create your Userful Desktop Solution, using pre-configured solutions as starting points.
    3. Use the the Solutions Designer to modify and customize your Desktop solutions.
    4. Generate reports on computer usage
    5. Access the Remote Monitoring and Control portal, which allows real-time monitoring access to your Userful Desktops.
    6. Perform an remote connection (SSH) test to ensure your system is connected to Userful Customer Support.
    7. Download the latest Userful Desktop installation CD or DVD.

    The Solutions Expert

    The Solutions Expert page is the control center of Userful Manager. This section provides a quick overview of the page, and following sections describe many functions in detail.

    The Solutions Expert page gives access to most Userful Manager functions.

    The functions on the Solutions Expert page are divided into 6 categories:

    1. Assets
    2. Pricing and Authentication
    3. Solutions
    4. Actions
    5. Global settings

    Registering Your Userful Desktop

    Click here to register your Userful Desktop.

    In most cases, your Userful Desktop installation will have been successfully registered during initial setup and configuration.

    If you have previously incorrectly registered your Userful Desktop, or if you have been instructed by Userful Customer Support to re-register, follow these steps:

    1. Enter Administrator Mode by using the Ctrl-Alt-A key combination and entering your Administrator Password.
    2. Double-click on the folder labeled "Advanced Tools" to open it.
    3. Double-click on the "Register System with Userful Manager" icon.
    4. Userful Manager will open. Follow the on-screen prompts and directions to register or re-register your Userful Desktop System.

    Configuring Core Userful Desktop Components

    While Userful Manager offers many ways to configure and monitor Userful Desktop computers, five core components must be configured in order for the Userful Desktop to operate correctly.

    Once you have configured your desktops using the following guidelines, you must update your system configurations.

    These 5 components must be configured first.

    The core Userful Desktop components are:

    1. Locations: Defines the times when the Userful Desktops are available at each location or branch.

    2. Usage Agreements: Usage Agreements ensure that users agree to terms of use before being granted access to the Userful Desktop.

    3. Desktop Profiles: Desktop Profiles contain information about various desktop environments, such as which program icons appear on the desktop as well as which programs will automatically be started upon log in.

    4. Session Profiles & Timing : The Session Profiles defined here utilize the various configuration options offered by Userful Desktop (such as Usage Agreements and Desktop Profiles) and combine them into Userful Desktop sessions that providers can offer to users. Some examples are Internet Kiosk sessions and Office Productivity sessions.

    5. Welcome Screens: Welcome Screens provide a convenient way for users to choose their preferred language and Session Profile.

    Default values for these five core components are set by Userful, and may have been modified already by the new account setup wizard accessible through Userful Manager.

    It is recommended that each of the core components should be configured prior to installing/upgrading a Userful Desktop, or as soon as possible after installing a new Userful Desktop system. Typically, these settings will be shared by all Userful Desktops within a particular organization.

    The following sections provide an ordered step-by-step overview of configuring essential settings.

    Locations and Operating Hours

    Locations Icon&Label.png

    Locations are a way to group your Userful Desktops. You can have several locations in one building.

    Locations and operating hours should be defined prior to configuring other options. From the Solutions Expert screen, click “Locations & Operating Hours”.

    To create a new location, click “Create a new Location”. To edit the details about an existing location, click the name of the location you wish to alter. In both cases, a screen will ask you to supply or edit details about the location. Click “Save & Next >>” to proceed to the operating hours screen. You may also enter the Operating Hours screen directly by clicking on a location’s operating hours on the Locations & Operating Hours screen.

    Setting hours of operation for your location.

    On the Operating Hours screen, specify the opening hours (in the first column) and closing hours (in the second column) for each day of the week. Specifying “Closed” (at the head of each drop down list) for either the opening or closing hour for a particular day will set the entire day to “Closed”. Click “Save” to return to the Locations screen.

    Once locations and operating hours are defined, you may return to the Solutions Expert screen by clicking "Solutions Expert" on the navigation bar at the top of the screen.

    Usage Agreements

    UsageAgreements Icon&Label.png

    Users must agree to Usage Agreements before accessing applications or the Internet on stations managed by Userful Manager. Usage Agreements are displayed after a user has chosen a session profile on the Welcome Screen. You may define and store any number of usage agreements, although each Session Profile may only display one Usage Agreement.

    To create a new Usage Agreement, click on the "Create a new Usage Agreement" and complete the following steps:

    1. Give a name to your usage agreement; the name of the agreement should be descriptive and meaningful to Userful Desktop administrators. Examples include “Internet Usage Agreement for adults” and “Computer access for juveniles”.
    2. Select the language of your usage agreement from the pull-down menu. This version of the usage agreement will become the default usage agreement (but you can choose another translation as the default later if you wish).
    3. Add the text of your Usage Agreement into the Usage Agreement field. You may copy and paste this text from a word processor, email message or other document.

    When you click on the name of a Usage agreement, this screen appears, allowing you to edit existing agreements or add a new translation.

    To edit an existing agreement or add a translation of an agreement, click on the name of the Usage Agreement.

    From the "Usage Agreement &, Translations" page (see figure at right), choose the language of an existing agreement from the pull-down menu.

    • If you choose the default language, click on the "Edit" button to edit the text, or the "Add Translation" button to supply the text of an appropriate translation.
    • If you choose one of the non-default translations, you may choose to "Edit". "Add Translation" or "Delete" the text.
    • If you want to make a translated Usage Agreement the default, you must "Edit" the agreement. Then on the Edit page, place a checkmark in the "Default" box.

    Remember to click “Save” to save your changes.

    Desktop Profiles

    DesktopProfiles Icon&Label.png

    Desktop Profiles allow Userful Desktop administrators to configure the program icons that appear on the desktop, in the start menu, and to specify programs that are automatically started when users log in. A Desktop Profile is one of the customizable elements that make up a Session Profile.

    To set Desktop Profiles, from the Solutions Expert click “Desktop Profiles”. You may create any number of Desktop Profiles, although each Session Profile may only use one Desktop Profile. For information on activating the 'Lock Desktop' feature, see below.

    The main Desktop Profile page lists available profiles and allows you to create a new Desktop Profile.

    To create a new profile, click “Create a new Desktop Profile” on the Desktop Profiles screen. To edit an existing profile, click the name of the profile. The new profile and profile editing screens contain a number of configurable options under the following tabs:

    1. Default Programs
      • Desktop Profile Name. Each profile should be given a descriptive name that is meaningful to computer administrators.
      • Enable SCIM for All Languages. For Userful Desktop releases greater than or equal to 305, SCIM (Smart Common Input Method) allows users to input characters in other languages.
      • Web Browser. Select a default web browser.
      • PDF Viewer. Select alternatives to Adobe as standard to view PDF documents.
    2. Software Applications. Choose what program(s) will be automatically started when a user logs into this profile.
    3. Desktop Icons
      • Program Icons. Select which program icons will appear on the desktop when a user logs into this profile.
      • Custom URL Link Icons. You can load a custom icon that will launch the default web browser and automatically navigate to a page of your choice.
    4. Start Menu. Optionally, you may customize the Start Menu so that different applications are presented in different Sessions through the Desktop Profile.

    Remember to click “Save” to save your changes.

    Activating the 'Lock Station' Feature
    Adding the 'Lock Station' icon to a Desktop Profile.

    To enable patrons to leave their stations for a short time without abandoning their sessions, Activate the 'Lock Station' feature:

    1. From the 'Solutions Expert' page, go to 'Desktop Profiles'.
    2. Click on the name of the Desktop Profile to be edited (that is, to have the Lock Station feature activated).
    3. To add the Lock Station icon to the desktop:
      1. Click on the 'Desktop Icons' tab.
      2. Highlight 'Lock Station' in the list of 'Program icons to add to Desktop'. (See figure at right.)
    4. To add the Lock Station icon to the Start Menu:
      1. Click on the 'Start Menu' tab.
      2. Click to add a check mark to the box next to 'Enable Lock Station Item'.

    Be sure to save the changes to configuration.

    Session Properties & Timing (Session Profiles)

    SessionProfiles&Timing Icon&Label.png

    Session Profiles are defined in the “Session Properties & Timing” control panel.

    A Session Profile is a collection of settings related to a particular use of a station. A Session Profile includes, among other things, a Welcome Screen icon, a Name and Browser Start Page. The Welcome Screen lists the Session Profiles available at a particular station.

    The Session Profiles & Timing page lists existing sessions (with key information) and also allows you to create a new Session Profile.

    Session Profiles are typically based on either the basic Kiosk or Desktop, but Administrators can also create Application profiles.

    • Kiosk profiles are intended to provide quick access to web sites and web-based applications such as catalogue searches or email.
    • Desktop profiles are intended to be used for activities such as word processing, job searches and other tasks which require access to a set of applications.
    • Application profiles specify a profile that only allows a specific application to run, or allows users to login to a specific system.

    Userful Desktop includes several default profiles that are designed and pre-tested for maximum usability. If you are unsure which settings are best for your users, we suggest that you deviate minimally from these profiles.

    Click “Session Properties and Timing” from the main Userful Manager screen to view and configure these settings. To create a new profile, click Create a new Session Profile. To edit an existing profile, click the name of the profile. When creating a new Session Profile, the first screen asks you to choose either the basic Kiosk or Desktop type of profile to proceed.

    Desktop Profile Settings

    Desktop Profiles are intended to provide users with the experience of a home or office PC. The settings most often customized in Desktop Profiles are:

    • On the Basic Settings tab:
      • Name: This is the name of the Session Profile as it appears on the user Welcome Screen.
      • Welcome Screen Icon: This icon appears next to the name of the Session Profile on the Welcome Screen.
      • Browser Start Page: Use this to set the home page for the Web browser in this profile.
    • Usage Agreement: You may assign a different usage agreement to each profile.

    Note: A Usage Agreement must be set up before it is available for use in a Session Profile.

    • On the Timer & Privacy tab:
      • Session Length: Be sure to set an appropriate session length for each profile. For example, a Session length for resume-building should be longer than one for quick searches.
    • On the Desktop Settings tab:
      • Desktop Profile: Desktop Profiles allow you to configure which applications appear on the desktop and start menu. The Default Desktop Profile provides links to the most commonly used applications.

    Note: You must set up a Desktop Profile prior to assigning it to a Session Profile.

    Remember to click “Save” to save your changes.

    Kiosk Settings

    The Kiosk mode shares many characteristics with the desktop mode, with the exception of the Desktop Profile setting. Instead, Kiosk mode offers settings which determine the appearance and functionality of the web browser. Note that Kiosk mode does not allow users to run applications outside the web browser.

    The following settings are most commonly altered from their default values in Kiosk mode:

    • On the Browser tab:
      • Block Popups/Windowed Mode: If your web applications use popup windows, popups must not be blocked, and Windowed Mode must be enabled. Blocking popups and disabling Windowed Mode are recommended defaults.
      • Show Print Button: If users need to print such as maps or tickets from the web browser, enable this option to show a print button in the browser. If printing is not required, or no printers are set up, disable this option. Note that printers must be configured separately. See Chapter 4 for details.
      • Hiding various toolbars: Toolbars such as the status or menu bars may be shown or hidden depending on the extent of access required by users.
    • On the Kiosk Settings tab:
    • Block Context Menu and Keyboard Navigation: This option disables navigation using anything other than the browser’s navigation buttons and web links.

    Remember to click “Save” to save your changes.

    Application Profile Settings

    Because of the limited nature of this type of session, the options for configuration are also limited. The most important setting for the Application Profile is:

    • Session Type: Specify whether the session will run a single application, or a user login. You will need to enter a command to launch either function.

    Remember to click “Save” to save your changes.

    Welcome Screens

    A typical Welcome Screen showing 6 Session Profiles.

    The Welcome Screen is the first screen seen by users at a station. Configurable aspects include the listed Session Profiles, background image branding and available languages. Each Welcome Screen must have a name and refer to at least one Session Profile. The figure at right shows a typical Welcome Screen for Userful Desktop.

    Note: You must set up a Session Profile prior to assigning it to a Welcome Screen.

    To set up a new Welcome Screen from Userful Manager:

    1. Click “Welcome Screens” from the Solutions Expert.
    2. Click “Create a new Welcome Screen”. (To edit an existing Welcome Screen, click on the its name. To delete an existing Welcome Screen click the delete icon at its right.)

      To add a Session Profile to the Welcome Screen, use the drop-down menu (indicated by the arrow).
    3. Each Welcome Screen must have a name and contain at least one Session Profile. Add a Session Profile to the current Welcome Screen by selecting its name from the drop-down list and clicking “Add this profile to the Welcome Screen”.
    4. To change the order in which Session Profiles appear on the Welcome Screen, or to delete them from the Welcome Screen, click the up, down and delete icons next to each Session Profile.
    5. On the Edit Welcome Screen page:
      • In the Basic Settings tab, you can configure the Early End of Day Logout,
      • In the Welcome Screen Branding tab, you can set a Desktop Background
      • In the Session Branding tab, you can choose a Screen Saver and Welcome Screen Message
      • In the Languages tab you can you can add and configure languages to the list presented in the lower right corner of the Welcome Screen.

    Click “Save” to save your changes.

    Setting up computers and stations

    After a computer has been registered, it will appear in the list on the Computers page. You can set up the profile for the computer by clicking on its name.

    Click "Computers" on the Solutions Expert page to configure computers. Computers may be added during the Userful Desktop installation by completing the registration step, or at any time after installation by double-clicking the Register Computer icon on the Administrator Mode desktop.

    Click the name of a computer to alter its settings on the Edit Computer screen.

    For basic configuration of a computer, you need to:

    1. Set the Computer Name and Location, which can be found under the "Basic Settings" tab.
    2. Choose the Welcome Screen (under the "Stations" tab) for the group of stations connected to this computer.

    Note: You must set up a Welcome Screen prior to assigning it to a computer.

    1. Select the Printers.that will be available for users.
    2. Configure Removable Storage. If your central computer is located in a secured area away from users, we suggest disabling access to the internal CD and floppy drives.
    3. Configure Public Storage options.

    Hint: User signage with instructions on how to use removable storage will enhance productivity.

    The default settings under Network settings and Boot menu and BIOS password should not be altered without first consulting your IT staff or Userful Support.

    Click Save to save your changes.

    Station Numbering

    Set a new starting value for station numbering in the "Begin Numbering at..." box.

    By default, Userful Desktop numbers stations automatically and sequentially, beginning with the number 1. For example, if there are 8 stations on a single computer, they will be labelled Station 1 through Station 8.

    In some situations, it may be desirable have station numbers starting at a value other than 1. For example, if one computer with 6 stations is already installed at your location, and you add another computer with 6 stations, you may want the new stations to be numbered 7-12.

    You can changed the value that station number starts at from the 'Edit Computer' page. This is reached by clicking on 'Computers' from the Solutions Expert, then clicking on the name of a computer.

    Note: If you change the default numbering of stations on any computer, you must reboot the computer after updating its configuration.

    Public Storage

    Public storage configuration options.

    Public storage allows patrons to temporarily store files on a machine for later retrieval. This feature can be enabled or disabled through the "Public Storage" tab on the "Edit Computer" page of Userful Manager. By default, this feature is disabled.

    Once public storage is enabled, system administrators can configure the allocated disk space to use for public storage, how long to save files, and whether those files are accessible or modifiable after user logout. The default disk space available per session is 1 Gigabyte.

    Please Note:

    • With Userful Desktop 8, files saved in Public Storage can be:
      • Read Only - after logout, files cannot be modified or deleted by any users except for empty directories. Empty directories with Read Only setting would be deleted after logout.
      • Deletable - after logout, files are read-only but any user can delete any file.
      • Modifiable - after logout, files can be modified by any user.

    With previous versions of Userful Desktop, the "Modifiable" option is not available.

    Creating Desktop Icons For Public Storage
    Enabling a Public Storage desktop icon.

    To put an icon linking users to Public Storage on the desktop of a session, go to the "Edit Session Profile" for that page. Click on the "Desktop Settings" tab, and put a checkmark in the "Show shortcut to Public Storage on Desktop" option. Click "Save".

    To send these updates to the affected system(s), apply and retrieve the new configuration, then reboot the affected system.

    Updating Configurations

    Applying configuration.

    For any changes in Userful Manager to take effect on Userful Desktop computers, you must update computers in the “Computers” control panel. From the Solutions Expert, click “Computers”. The far right column deals with configuration updates. Click to add a check mark to the “Apply Configuration” check box next to any central computer boxes you wish to update. Then click the "Apply Configuration button". The configuration changes will be applied the next time the Userful Desktop retrieves information from the Userful Manager server (this happens every four hours).

    Should you wish to immediately see the effects of your changes, press "Ctrl-Alt-U" on the Userful Desktop machines that are to be updated (you only need to do this on one station per machine). You may also enter Administrator Mode on the Userful Desktop (press “Ctl+Alt+A” and then enter the Administrator Mode password) and double click the “Update Configuration” icon on the desktop.

    This completes basic computer configuration. The following sections describe configuration options that may not apply to all Userful Desktop installations.

    Multi-language configuration

    Userful Desktop has application support for over 30 languages including French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Spanish, and input support for over 10 languages including Chinese Simplified and Traditional, Japanese, Korean and Arabic. Userful Desktop also supports 17 additional keyboard layouts in addition to the standard North American QWERTY layout.

    Userful Manager can be used to modify the level of internationalization and multilingual features offered to users through Userful Desktop.

    Keyboard Layouts and Foreign Input Methods

    Currently, only the 'Default Keyboard Layout' will be available to users.

    Keyboard layouts provide support for different kinds of keyboards such as QWERTY, DVORAK, French, Romanian, etc. These layouts, or mappings, map different letters or characters to different keys on the keyboard.

    • To change the keyboard layout for a Userful Desktop computer (and all its associated stations):
    1. Go to the Solutions Expert in Userful Manager.
    2. Click on 'Computers', then click on the name of the computer that is to have a different keyboard layout.
    3. Choose the keyboard Layouts tab. Use the drop-down menu to change the Default Keyboard Layout to the desired keyboard layout.

    Note: Currently, Userful Desktop does not support offering users a choice of keyboard layouts through 'Alternative Keyboard Layouts'.

    Only the keyboard layout selected as the 'Default Keyboard Layout' will be available to users.

    Foreign Input methods tell the computer how to translate keyboard input into more complex language scripts (such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). This does not necessarily change the mapping of keys on the keyboard. This is typically used for languages that do not use English/Latin characters.

    • To learn how to set up Userful Desktop's multi-lingual input features, please contact Customer Support or your Userful Sales Representative.

    Multilingual Display Support

    Userful Desktop includes a default set of translated menus, icons and applications for many languages selectable from the Welcome Screen. The extent of translation varies among languages and applications, with common languages receiving the most extensive translation. Where translations are incomplete, all available translated material will be displayed with remaining untranslated items rendered in English.

    Using Multilingual Display Support
    Selecting a display language from the welcome screen.

    Userful Desktop users can start sessions in different languages by selecting a particular language from the multilingual drop-down menu on the lower right-hand corner of the Welcome Screen, prior to clicking on a Session.

    Once a language has been selected, if the language has translations of the Session Names available, those will be displayed instead. If none exist, the default name will appear with a trailing * appearing after the name.

    Clicking on a session will start the session in that language, and any translated desktop icons and menus that are available for that particular language will appear on the desktop when the user logs in. Furthermore, if the user tries to launch an application (for example, the Internet Browser or the Word Processor), if the application has support for the current running language, the application will display itself using that language, depending on the level of support for the current language. This may include translated menus and even translated help files, if available.

    Configuring Languages Offered on the Welcome Screen

    Configuring the List of Available Languages appearing in the Welcome Screen menu in Userful Desktop Through Userful Manager.

    Userful Manager can be used to select which languages are available to be displayed to users of Userful Desktop.

    To configure the list of languages appearing on a particular Welcome Screen's drop-down menu, access the properties page for that particular Welcome Screen in Userful Manager. Under the “Languages” section, choose the language that you would like to offer as a choice from the drop-down menu, then click the “Add” button. To delete a language from that list, simply click on the Trash Can icon that appears to the right of the language once it appears in the list.

    When done, click “Save”.

    Translating the Acceptable Usage Policy

    Type or paste a translation of the Acceptable Use Policy into the text box.

    The Acceptable Usage Policy can also be configured to display translations of its text for particular languages. If no translations are provided, the text for the Acceptable Usage Policy that was supplied when it was initially created will appear instead, regardless of the language selected.

    To supply translations of a specific Acceptable Usage Policy, access that policy's properties page (by clicking on the highlighted name of the AUP) under the “Usage Agreements” section of the Solutions Expert page. Select a language that you wish to supply a translation for from that section's multilingual drop-down menu, and then click on “Add Translation”. Enter text (or paste plain text) into the translation text box. Click 'Save' when you are done.

    After updating your Userful Desktop's configuration, the translated text will appear if that language is chosen from the Welcome Screen's multilingual drop-down menu in Userful Desktop, and if Acceptable Usage Policies are enabled for that Welcome Screen.

    Translating Session Profile Names

    Adding a French Translation to the 'Internet and Office' Session Name. Note that the original Session Name now appears as the English Translation.

    By default, a Session Name will use the same name that it was initially created with for all other languages. To specify a particular translation of that name to be displayed when the language for that translation is selected from the Welcome Screen's multilingual drop-down menu, enter the Session Profile properties page for that particular Session Name in Userful Manager (from the Solutions Expert, click 'Session Profiles & Timing' and then click on the Session Name.

    If no translations for the Session's Name have been previously provided, click on the “Go Multilingual” button under the “Name” field in the “Basic Settings” section. This will display an interface asking a translation for the Session's name (as seen at right), as well as the language to which the translation belongs to. Once done, click the “Add” button to add it to the list of available translations for the Session's name. To delete a translated name from the list, simply click on the Trash Can icon to the right of the particular name.

    When done, click “Save” at the bottom of the screen.

    Note: Different Home Pages for the Internet Browser can be configured for each language available in a session by supplying different URLs for those languages in the “Browser Home Page” option. Doing so requires interacting with an interface similar to the one described above, which can be invoked by clicking on the “Go Multilingual” button for the “Browser Home Page” option.

    Advanced Userful Manager Configuration

    Though not required for the correct operation of Userful Desktop computers, advanced configuration options may greatly enhance the value of your Userful Desktop purchase. Unlike the core Userful Manager configuration, the following options may be set at any time in any order.

    Providing Desktop User Help Files

    Opening the 'Help' folder on a session desktop provides access to several helpful documents on a variety of topics.

    Save staff time and provide answers to users' frequently-asked questions by providing links to "Help" files on the Session desktop. A number of documents from Userful's Support Wiki -- on topics including 'CD Burning', Photo Editing with GIMP and more can be reached directly from the user desktop.

    Adding the "Help" folder to the desktop.

    To make these links available to Users, go to "Desktop Profiles" from the Solutions Expert page. Click on the name of the desired profile (i.e. the profile used for the session which is to have User Help added) to edit. Under the "Desktop Icons" tab, highlight "Applications Help" in the list of 'Program icons to add to Desktop'.

    Remember to click "Save" when you are finished making changes.

    Using Web Filtering Profiles

    Click on this icon from the Solutions Expert Page to configure Web Filtering Profiles.

    Web Filtering Profiles allow you to create different levels of filtering for different user groups. (Web Filtering Profiles are selected and applied from the Session Profiles control panel).) To configure Web Filtering Profiles, click on the icon on the Solutions Expert page.

    Userful Manager comes with a set of standard filters that are ready for use. Administrators can also create custom web filters by adding URLs to the "White List" (users are always allowed access) or the "Black List" (users are denied access) and setting a Phrase Limit.

    Click on the "Create a new Web Filter" button to make a new filter; click on an existing Web Filtering Profile name to edit that profile.

    Remember to click "Save" when you are finished making changes.


    While printers must be added and configured using the Print Configuration Tool on the Administrator Mode desktop, further setup is required through Userful Manager. Please refer to Adding a Printer for details.

    Print Payment Policy

    Create and edit print payment policies from the Print Control Page.

    If you have printers installed on your Userful Desktop, the Print Payment Policy determines pricing for print jobs from Userful Desktops. To set the Print Payment Policy, from the main Userful Manager screen, click 'Print Control'.

    Each configurable setting is explained in detail on the Edit Print Payment Policy page. You should avoid the use of non-printable characters such as carriage returns in print payment policies.

    Remember to click 'Save' to save your changes.

    Charging for Access Time

    If you are looking for a way to earn extra revenue, you can charge for computer/internet access time. Set rates and minimum charges for computer use on the 'Usage Pricing' page, accessible from the Solutions Expert Page.

    Note: Rates set on the Usage Pricing page are only applied to users who are using Pre-Paid cards.

    Artwork and Brandings

    The Artwork & Brandings panel allows you to customize the appearance of your Userful Desktops by uploading custom desktop backgrounds, Welcome Screen animations and screen saver images.

    To view and upload these items, from the Solutions Expert screen, click 'Artwork & Brandings'.

    View and edit currently available artwork, or add your own customized, branded artwork for Desktop Backgrounds, Welcome Screen Backgrounds, and Screen Savers.

    From the Upload Artwork for Branding screen, you may view, edit and upload desktop backgrounds, Welcome Screen backgrounds and screen saver images. To view current desktop backgrounds, click 'View Desktop Backgrounds' from the Artwork & Brandings main page. The list of current desktop backgrounds contains a preview of each desktop background image, as well as lists of all the Welcome Screens in which the image is used. Click the image of an existing desktop background or the 'Edit' button next to it to change the name of the image. To delete a desktop background, click the 'Delete' button next to the desktop background image.

    To upload a new desktop background, click Upload a new Desktop Background from either the main 'Artwork & Brandings' page, or from the 'Desktop Backgrounds' screen. Supply a name for the new desktop background, then click 'Browse...' to select an image file to upload. Click 'Upload' to upload the image. The new desktop background will appear in the list of available desktop backgrounds, which is sorted alphabetically by description.

    Screen Saver images or Animations and Welcome Screen Backgrounds are configured in the same way as desktop backgrounds.

    Once you have uploaded custom artwork, you may assign it to given profiles with other tools from the Solutions Expert page.

    Note: Uploaded desktop backgrounds and screen saver images must be in .jpg, .tif, .gif, or .png file formats. Welcome Screen pictures must be JPEG files, preferably with dimensions of 1048x868 pixels.

    User Groups & Authentication

    Each Authentication Profile defines a way to verify the credentials of users prior to granting access to the Userful Desktop. There is a charge associated with integrating an authentication profile with your environment. Please complete the form and consult your Userful representative for instructions on how to configure these settings should you require authentication services.

    Note: These settings should not be changed after your system has been integrated to work with your ILS.

    Access Manager

    The Access Manager is reached from the Solutions Expert Page.

    Use this control panel to create and configure user accounts for individuals to whom you wish to grant access to Userful Manager. The access level granted to a user determines the extent to which they may configure Userful Desktop computers through UM.

    Note: Only administrators may access this control panel.

    The Access Manager is under the "Global Settings" section of the Solutions Expert page.

    Creating a New User Account.

    Click 'Create a new User Account' or the name of an existing user account to configure the settings for that user.

    The three levels of access are as follows:

    1. Read only - Grants the user the ability to view settings in UM.
    2. Read/write - Grants the ability to modify settings in UM.
    3. Administrator - Grants read/write access, and the ability to manage user accounts.

    Remember to click 'Save' to save your changes.

    System Passwords

    System Passwords are accessed under Global Settings on the Solutions Expert page.

    To configure System Passwords, from the Solutions Expert page click 'System Passwords'.

    The first configuration screen, Step 1: Edit Passwords, allows you to configure passwords used to access administrative functions to Userful Desktop computers managed by Userful Manager. Described below are the functions which require passwords, and their access key combinations:

    • Administrator Password (Ctrl+Alt+A) - Provides access to key administrator resources such as network settings.
    • Grub Password - Provides access to single user mode while grub is booting the system. This feature is supported on Userful Desktop 431 and later and is only for use under the direction of Userful staff.
    • Staff Password - Provides access to a subset of Userful Desktop functionality for managing stations.
    • Time Password (Ctrl+Alt+T) - Extends the length of a session in progress.
    • Filter Password (Ctrl+Alt+F) - Turns off filtering for the remainder of the session.
    • Reboot Password (Ctrl+Alt+R) - Schedules a system reboot the next time all users are logged out.

    After changing passwords, click 'Save & Continue'. In Step 2, it is recommended that e-mails be sent to administrative personnel in your organization to notify them of these password changes.

    Adding Extra Modules

    There are a number of add-ons availble for Userful Desktop. Please contact your Userful sales representative for more information about subscribing to extra modules.

    Other Userful Manager Tools

    The Solutions Catalog

    The Solutions Catalog lets you choose from several pre-designed sets of Welcome Screens and Sessions.

    The core of the Userful Desktop experience for your clients consists of a Welcome Screen and it's associated Sessions. For your convenience, Userful has created several Welcome Screen/Session 'Solutions' that you can simply load and use at your locations. These Solutions are found in the Solutions Catalog, accessible from either the Userful Manager Home page or from the Solutions Expert page under 'Add Solutions'.

    Hint: Pre-made Solutions can be good starting points when customizing your own solutions.

    The Solutions Designer

    The Solutions Designer offers a simple way to preview and customize Solutions for your Userful Desktop, based on profiles from the Solutions Catalog. To create your own unique solutions, follow these simple steps:

    From the Solutions Designer, you can make several basic changes to customize a Welcome Screen for your needs.
    1. Use the pull-down menu to choose which Welcome Screen to customize.
    2. The Welcome Screen you chose to view/edit appears on the computer screen graphic. You may click on Session names on the screenshot to preview individual sessions.
    3. Use the "Edit" button to change the Solution name, background image, default language and more (See figure at right).
    4. Go directly to your list of computers to build configurations.

    Note: if your desired welcome screen does not appear on the list, simply click on the "Add" button located under Step 3 on the Solutions Designer: Preview page. This will open the Solutions Catalog; choose the Welcome Screen(s) you wish to edit, and click "Copy Solution(s). The Welcome Screens you selected will now appear on the pull-down list.

    The Solutions Designer is accessible from either the Userful Manager Home page or from the Solutions Expert page under 'Design Your Desktops'.

    View Usage Reports

    To get more information from a basic Usage Report, click on the highlighted links to view detailed sub-reports.

    Usage Reports give you detailed data and statistics on how your computers are being used. You can customize reports by choosing the machines/locations and time period you would like your report on.

    From the basic report (see figure at right) you can access more details by clicking on any of the highlighted, boxed links.

    You can reach Usage Reports from either the Userful Manager Home page or from the Solutions Expert page under 'View Usage Reports'.

    Download Install Disks

    The link to Download your Free Userful Desktop Install Disk can be found on the Userful Manager Home page and the Solutions Expert page.

    Manage Pre-Paid Cards

    Click on this icon from the Solutions Expert page to Manage Pre-Paid Cards.

    Userful makes it easy to earn revenue by charging for computer/internet access time by offering Pre-Paid cards that you can sell to your customers.

    Customers log onto your Userful Desktop system using the card, and their fee is automatically deducted from their Pre-Paid card. Please contact your Userful Sales Representative for more information.

    If you are using the Pre-Paid card system, go to the Solutions Expert page to 'Manage Prepaid Cards'.

    Access the Userful Store

    From the Solutions Expert Page, click on "Place Orders" to go to the Userful Store -- an online shop for all your Userful software, hardware and accessory needs.

    Remote Monitoring and Control

    Remote Monitoring & Control is the companion administrative tool to Userful Manager. While Userful Manager allows remote configuration of global features of the system (such as session types, branding, etc.), Remote Monitoring & Control (RMC) allows remote administration of individual workstations or multi-user sessions. RMC allows administrators to remotely perform such useful tasks as turning filtering or Internet access off and on, extending or ending sessions, sending messages, more effectively rebooting frozen sessions, and other tasks.

    The Remote Monitoring & Control Portal

    In most installations, you can access Remote Monitoring & Control from any web browser on the local computer network at the following address:, replacing '' with the IP address of the Userful Desktop you wish to access.

    When logged in at a Userful Desktop, access the Remote Monitoring & Control portal by opening in the browser.

    Enter the appropriate username and password, and click the login button. Note that this login is not the email address and password used to log into Userful Manager.

    Using Remote Monitoring & Control

    Figure 7.1. Computer and stations in Remote Monitoring & Control.

    After logging in to the Remote Monitoring & Control portal you will be presented with a view of available computers and stations on the local network and the number of stations on each multi-user system.

    Each unique computer box running Userful Desktop will be displayed running down the left side of the window; the stations running on that box will appear to its right.

    If you are remotely administering more than one multiplied system, graphics for additional computers will appear below; the entire contents of the window in Figure 7.1. are duplicated for each additional computer, separated by horizontal lines. They can be viewed by scrolling down the page.

    Commands for Computers

    Figure 7.2. Remote Monitoring & Control commands for computers.

    While Remote Monitoring & Control is designed primarily to administer stations, it can also perform administrative tasks on the computer boxes. Figure 7.2 shows the pull-down menu of available commands for each computer box. After selecting a command, click the Run Command button below the menu to execute it.

    Note: The list of available commands may differ depending on login privileges and Userful Desktop configuration options.

    Working With Stations

    Figure 7.3. Detailed station status.

    Each station connected to a given computer is represented by a box containing an image of a computer monitor, a checkbox to select that station, the station name/number and some text indicating the session status of the station.

    You may view the status details of any particular station by clicking on its name/number.

    Right-clicking on a station brings up a subset of frequently used, station-specific commands (e.g. “Add 10 Minutes”, “Message ‘Be quiet!’”, “Reset Station”) that you can quickly and easily apply to that station. Note: For versions of RMC older than Remote Monitoring & Control GUI 0.8.1a BETA (2007-03-12), these same commands are accessed by clicking Expand.

    See below for how to access a larger set of commands, and/or how to apply commands to more than one station at a time.

    Station Commands

    Figure 7.4. Remote Monitoring & Control commands for stations.

    Further down the page, below the window containing the computer box and its associated stations, there is a heading Run the following command on selected stations. Immediately below that is the -SELECT A COMMAND- drop-down menu for station commands, as illustrated in Figure 7.4.

    To run a command on one, a combination, or all of the stations associated with a single computer:

    1. Either "Select All" or select the specific stations you wish to affect using the checkboxes.
    2. Choose a command from the drop-down menu
      • Some command require you to enter specific additional information. For example, the text for a customized message (see example below) must be specifically entered.
    3. Select the Run Command button.

    NOTE: It is recommended that, initially, you observe the results by administering a nearby station, and NOT run commands on the station from which Remote Monitoring & Control is running.

    Example: Send Custom Messages

    1. Select the appropriate station(s) to receive the message using the ‘Select’ checkboxes or, if appropriate, the ‘Select All’ checkbox.
    2. Once the ‘Send Message’ command is selected a field appears to the right into which your custom message is typed. Type in your message.

    3. Click the ‘Run Command’ located below the ‘Send Message’ field. The following message appears on the logged in and selected stations:

    Example: Extend the Time of a Session

    1. Select the appropriate station or stations.
    2. Select the ‘Add Time’ command from the drop down menu.

    3. Enter the amount of additional time in minutes.
    4. Click ‘Run Command’. The station’s user will receive the following message:

    Reset Station vs. Hard Reset

    Both the Reset Station and the Hard Reset commands are located in the station-specific command drop-down menu.

    The "Reset Station" command is essentially equivalent to a “Ctrl+Alt+Del” keyboard command, with the advantage that it can performed remotely.

    The command “Hard Reset” is used when the “Reset Station” (or “Ctrl+Alt+Del” keyboard command) fail to reset a station. It "Hard Reset" resets the station at a deeper level in the software.

    Common Tasks

    A number of common time-saving tasks may be performed using Remote Monitoring & Control.

    Logging in Stations Without Barcode/Pin

    1. Select one or more stations to log in by clicking the checkbox associated with the stations.
    2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then select "Log In Station as Generic User" from the list of commands.

    3. Select login options, then click "Run Command"
    4. The login process will start for each selected station. Depending on the number of stations selected, you may need to wait up to a minute for all stations to become logged in.

    NOTE: Logging in without providing a barcode/pin combination using the above method may cause reporting tools to under-report usage by individual users. Time used while logged in as a generic user is not recorded as individual use by any specific user.

    Logging in Multiple Stations Simultaneously

    Remote Monitoring & Control offers the ability to log in and out multiple Userful Desktops at one time.

    1. Figure 7.5 Click "Select All" to select all stations on one computer.
      For each computer on which all stations should be logged in, click "Select All" above the stations associated with that computer. You may also select or deselect individual stations by clicking their individual checkboxes. (See Figure 7.5).
    2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then select "Log In User" from the list of commands.

    3. If authentication is enabled, supply a valid barcode or barcode and PIN combination. All stations will be logged in using these credentials.
    4. Select login options, then click "Run Command".
    5. The login process will start for each selected station. Depending on the number of stations selected, you may need to wait up to a minute for all stations to become logged in.

    Remote Monitoring & Control FAQs

    For further information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please refer to our Remote Monitoring and Control FAQs.

    Troubleshooting Userful Desktop 8

    This section presents solutions to the most commonly encountered troubleshooting tasks. For a comprehensive list of troubleshooting tips, please visit

    Keyboard does not work

    Press the “Caps Lock” or “Num Lock” key. Do the corresponding LEDs illuminate or turn off?

    • If not, re-connect (disconnect and reconnect the keyboard). If this still does not resolve the problem there is possibly a problem with the keyboard or the USB port. Try a different keyboard, or try the problem keyboard at a different Station.
    • If the "Caps Lock" light illuminates in response to your key presses but the keyboard does not work:
      • Restart the station (Ctrl+Alt+Del)
      • Unlink and re-assign the keyboard (Ctrl+Alt+Break) then press the correct F-key to re-link (this is in case this keyboard has been mis-assigned)
      • Unlink and re-assign all keyboards connected to the machine (in case another keyboard has been mis-assigned)
      • Use Remote Monitoring and Control from another station or computer and perform a Hard Reset.
      • Reboot the computer (or schedule a reboot from Admin Mode using another station)

    Single station frozen

    If the display is frozen in an abnormal state or part way through an operation, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart that station. However if the station appears to be in a normal state (e.g., either the welcome screen, desktop or web browser or screensaver appears to be displaying normally) but the keyboard/mouse does not respond, it is most likely that the keyboard has disconnected. See “Keyboard does not work”, above.

    If the above methods do not reset the station, press Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to forcefully stop and restart the station.

    All stations frozen

    Shut down the Userful Desktop by pressing and holding the power button for four seconds. Press and release the power button to restart the Userful Desktop.

    Mouse does not work

    Is the LED (red light on the bottom of the optical mouse) illuminated? If not, try disconnecting and re-connecting the mouse. If this fails follow the instructions for troubleshooting keyboards.

    The station is working (the cursor moves) but Ctrl+Alt+Del/A/R/F/T do not work

    An active menu (created by a right-click or pull down) steals the key-press. Close the menu and try again.

    Userful Desktop will not turn on

    Turn off the switch on the computer (at the back of the computer; the I/O (power) switch has a circle on one side and a line on the other. Pressing the side with the circle turns the power OFF.), or unplug and reconnect the power cord. Then retry the power button to turn on the Userful Desktop again. If the computer still shows no sign of life but the wall plug is working the problem may be a faulty PC power supply. Contact Userful for support.

    Power button does not turn off the computer

    Press and hold the power button (typically on the front or top of the computer) for at least ten seconds. If this does not work, turn off the power switch on the computer (at the back of the computer; the I/O (power) switch has a circle on one side and a line on the other. Pressing the side with the circle turns the power OFF.) and unplug the power cord from the back of the computer. Wait 10 seconds, then reconnect the power.

    One monitor receives no signal

    Check that the monitor cable is firmly connected to the correct VGA port on the back of the computer and any extension cables. Also ensure that thumb screws have been tightened.

    Userful Desktop will not print

    See Managing the Print Queue and Printer Troubleshooting.

    Foreign fonts do not work

    Please refer to the section on Using Foreign Input.

    Frequent unexpected reboot or freezing

    These may be symptoms of hardware failure or overheating. Make sure the computer tower has adequate ventilation or contact Customer Support.

    Known Issues for Userful Desktop 8

    These are the known issues with the latest version of Userful Desktop 8. (To view known issues for a specific release, please refer to the Release Notes accessible from the main Userful Desktop 8 documentation page.)

    These are the known issues with Userful Desktop 8.5 at time of release:

    • Commercial DVDs playback is not supported.
    • Some video format like wmv files may not play due to incompatible encoding.
    • If system has multiple video cards, all heads must be connected to displays.

    Contact Userful

    Website: (company home page: )
    Phone: 403-289-2177 extension 2
    Toll-Free: 1-866-873-9119

    (Within North America only -- International Clients please use the direct line, 1-403-289-2177).

    (Note: Office hours for telephone support: Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:30pm MT (UTC-6 or UTC-7))