The Control Center

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Copyright © 2016 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2016.02.23)


The Control Center provides status of the stations and allow administrator to manage, map and perform essential system operations. The Control Center has following key features:

  • Station Mapping
  • Network System Management
  • Display settings
  • Station access control
  • New package installation and updates
  • License management and access to support

Accessing the Control Center

The Control Center is a browser-based application and it is necessary to have a web browser installed to access Control Center. It can be accessed over the Local Area Network (LAN) without an Internet connection however some functions (such as licensing) require access to the Internet and will not work without an active Internet connection.

The Control Center has been designed to work with most popular browsers, but for the best user experience it is recommended to use Firefox.

The Control Center is located under System > Administration > Control Center. Only users with the root privileges can access Control Center.

Remotely Accessing the Control Center (within the LAN)

It is possible to access the Control Center from a different system that is on the same LAN. Control Center can be accessed from the console using any modern web browsers. Userful has tested and verified that the following are compatible with the Control Center:

  • Internet Explorer 7, 8 , 9 and newer (IE 9 recommended)
  • Firefox version 3 and newer (version 10 and newer recommended)
  • Chrome 22 and newer
  • Opera 12 and newer
  • Safari 5.1 and newer

Your browser will need to be on the same LAN subnet as the host PC, or from a different LAN subnet provided the two subnets are connected via proper port forwarding. You will need the root password and the IP address of the host PC.

To open the Control Center remotely, enter the IP address of the host PC that you want to manage into the browser’s address bar. You can find out the IP address of your host PC in several ways:

  • type ifconfig on the command line when logged in using one of the stations on the host PC
  • look at the splash screen of an unmapped station which will list the IP address of the host PC

If the browser being used is installed within a different subnet (than the host PC) then add port number "9000" after the IP address (e.g., instead of you would need to enter

Alternatively, if your local network has been set up to route hostnames, you can use the system hostname (which may be easier to remember than IP addresses). The hostname should be the assigned hostname of the host PC or server running Userful products. To find the hostname of a system, open a terminal on the host PC and type hostname.

  • For networks configured this way, simply open a web browser and enter [hostname] in the address bar (use [hostname]:9000 if accessing from a different subnet.

The root password is required to open the Control Center remotely.

Note: To access the Control Center from one of the stations you can simply enter http://localhost in the browser address bar, however, if you are logged in on one of the stations it is strongly recommended that you instead use the native administration tool available from System > Administration > Control Center. As the browser tool assumes you are remotely accessing the system and will not provide warnings when you perform tasks affecting the station you are currently working on, so it is possible for example to disable the station you are working on and to lock yourself out of the system.

If you do end up moving all stations to a state which does not allow login you will need to access the Control Center via remote browser access approach above.

UCC Station Mapping1.png

The Control Center opens on the Station Mapping page. This page gives a snapshot of the current system status, number of stations online and the sessions created.

Two features of the System Status appear on every page in the Control Center. These are:

The Navigation Panel is at the left of the page. The Status Panel is at the top of each page.

The major sections of the Control Center are listed here:

  • Station Mapping
  • Network Stations
  • Display Management
  • Broadcast Alerts
  • Shared Files
  • Virtual Machines
  • System Operations
  • Help and Support

(Each of these will be discussed in detail below). Holding the mouse cursor over one of the section titles causes a list of features or functions to appear. Simply click on the desired feature or function to open that section of the Control Center.

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

A gray box next to the CPU graphic list down the systems avaliable within the same subnet along with there IPAddress.

Below the Navigation Panel, and to the bottom-left of the Navigation Panel on every page of the Control Center is the Page Content.

Station Mapping

Station Mapping provides the ability to "map" stations to "session containers" -- such as video playback, URL kiosk or VDI -- via an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Please refer to the Station Mapping guide for further information and detailed instructions.

Network Stations

Userful's Ethernet zero client devices, also called "Network Stations", use network cabling (e.g. Cat-5e) to connect zero client access devices to host PC. Please refer to the Guide to Managing Network Zero Client Stations for more information and detailed instructions.

Display Management

Functions that affect individual displays, but not the system as a whole, are under this section.

To open the "Display Management" page, go to the Navigation Panel (at the left side of the screen) and select Display Management.

Enable/Disable Stations

UCC Display Management Enabled.png

With the Control Center, it is possible to disable (deactivate) or enable (activate) individual stations temporarily. A disabled station cannot be used; the monitor at the disabled station will display offline status indicating that it is disabled, and the keyboard and mouse do not work.

Note that there are checkboxes to Enable every station individually.

Below the list of individual stations are radio buttons to "Enable All" or "Disable All" stations; the station being used to access the Control Center will also be affected. Note: changes will not take effect until the "Apply" button is clicked. There is also an information box at the left hand side of the page with in-line help.
To Enable/Disable individual stations:

  1. Click in the checkbox next to the station to be enabled or disabled.
    • A checkmark in the box means that station is enabled.
    • No checkmark means that the station is disabled.
  2. Click on "Apply" to complete the action, or "Undo" to reset the page.

To Enable/Disable all stations (including the one used to access the Control Center):

  1. Click in the radio button next to "Enable All" or "Disable All"
  2. Click on "Apply" to complete the action, or "Undo" to reset the page.

Please Note: Unused video output heads on PCI/PCIe graphics cards or integrated graphics cards should be disabled in the Control Center to avoid going over the limit of licensed stations.

If a graphics card on the host PC has an unused video output head, that output head will still show up in the Control Center as an available station. An error message will appear stating that "The Xorg server has failed on the specified display"; this error message can safely be ignored. However, these "phantom stations" will count towards the number of seats allowed on a license -- resulting in an unusable station showing the "Too Many Stations" screen -- unless disabled in the Control Center.

If "Disable All" and then "Enable All" is used, the "Too Many Stations" screen may appear on the wrong station. To remedy this situation, Disable the station formed from the unused video output head and reboot the host PC.

Target Resolution

UCC Display Management Target Resolution.png

With the Control Center, it is possible to change monitor resolution and color-depth on individual stations or system wide. Control Center detects appropriate resolutions for each connected monitor, and offers those choices in an easy-to-use drop-down menu.

Station resolution and color depth are managed with drop down menus to change monitor resolution on individual stations (including the station being used to access the Control Center).

Below the list of individual stations are drop-down menus to select a screen resolution or color depth for all stations. Once a change is made, "Apply" and "Undo" buttons at the bottom of the screen activate. Note: Changes will not take effect until the "Apply" button is clicked. There is also an information box at the left hand side of the page with in-line help.

To Select a Screen Resolution or Color Depth for Individual Stations:

  1. Use the drop-down menu to choose from a selection of appropriate resolutions for the desired station.
  2. Click on "Apply" to complete the action, or "Undo" to reset the page.

To Select a Screen Resolution or Color Depth for All Stations:

  1. Use the drop-down menu to choose from a selection of appropriate resolutions for all stations, or to choose a color depth for the system.
  2. Click on "Apply" to complete the action, or "Undo" to reset the page.

Please Note: Users should not attempt to change monitor resolution or color depth on their station using the operating system's System > Preferences > Display tool. Changes made with this tool may not persist after log out, and may cause system instability.

Power Management

With this release of Userful Multiplatform 7.1, Userful has added DPMS (Display Power Management Signaling) support for network zero-client devices. DPMS is a standard used to save power and maximize the useful life of display devices including monitors and projectors. To enable DPMS functionality for zero-client stations:

  • Open Control Center > Display Management, click “Power Management” button.
  • Mark "Turn off inactive displays after” checkbox and select the time interval from the drop-down and hit “OK” button.

All stations connected to host PC would go offline after the time specified.

Note: Userful team is continually working towards adding DPMS support for zero-client device. At present, only Atrust m320 and ViewSonic SC-U25 supports DPMS functionality.

Broadcast Alerts

UCC Broadcast.png

This section of Control Center allows administrator to send short messages or alerts to all connected stations. To send message/alert across stations:

  1. From Navigation Panel, go to Broadcast Alerts
  2. Enter the message in the text area
  3. Select Alert level
  4. Select time duration to display message (e.g. Display message for: 2 minutes)
  5. Click “Start Broadcast”

Message will be displayed on all stations including the host PC. User can stop broadcast by clicking Stop Broadcast button in case of wrong message.

Shared Files

UCC Shared Storage.png

Shared Storage management allows user to easily transfer and access files between different stations. Shared storage system is housed and managed on the host PC where users can copy and temporarily store their content (from laptops, mobile devices, or PCs). Control Center provides various configuration settings and optional password protection feature:

  • Virtual Machine Network Share: Shared-files area accessible to any Windows VM.
  • Enabling Native Desktop allows users to access shared files from the linux (native desktop) environment.
  • Network shares option create a directory with the name “files” and make it available over the network. Optionally, you can make it password protected. If password is set, user need to share the name ( which is “files”) and password amongst others who want to access this directory.
  • Enabling Web Browser will make files accessible (read-only) from the browser. User can access files by typing http://localhost:81 or http://[host PC IPAddress]:81 in browser’s address bar.

Virtual Machines

This feature introduced with Multiplatform 7.0 allows the administrator to import VM images directly from ova files. OVA files that are stored in “/shared-files” folder will be managed using this utility. A virtual appliance is a virtual machine, complete with all customizations and settings (including memory allocation and network configuration).
If you have an existing .ova file, it can be used to quickly install a Guest OS VM on host PC, complete with pre-configurated settings.

  • Copy the (.ova) file to the directory "/shared-files" on the host PC.
  • Open Control Center, navigate to Virtual Machines and click “Refresh” button.
  • (.ova) file will be listed under "VM Images in shared-files folder” section.
  • Click Import VM Image button next to (.ova) file to create the master image. This process takes few minutes.

Once finished, the VM Master Image will be listed under "Master Virtual Machines Summary" section and is ready to use. Please refer to following links for more information:

System Operations

Functions that affect the entire system (that is, the host CPU and all the connected stations) are found in the System Operations section of the Control Center. These include:

  • Failover Settings.
  • Managing Licenses.
  • Changing Admin Password.
  • Changing Hostname.
  • Power Management
  • Rebooting / Shutting down the system.
  • Network Settings.
  • Managing Updates.
  • Changing System Date, Time and Language.

Failover Settings

Failover is an exciting feature of Userful Multiplatform™ with network zero-client devices. Failover requires two host PCs to be located on the same subnet; if that is the case, then if one host PC fails, a system administrator can view and "take over" the network zero client devices that were assigned to the "failed" host PC. Please refer to Managing Network Zero Client/Failover for detail information.

Manage Licensing

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

Getting License Key Online

UCC Replace License.png

To get a license key online, click on the link "Manage Licensing". A page where an activation code can be entered will open (see illustration to the right).

  • If Userful has already provided an activation code, simply enter it in the first box. In the second box, enter the maximum number of stations to be used.
    • Note: The activation code is tied to a certain number of stations. The number of stations entered on this page CANNOT exceed the number specified when activation code was created.

As part of the activation process, your web browser submits basic system information to Userful -- including your system's MAC address, Linux distribution and version, and video card. The license key file(s) are installed automatically, and take effect without rebooting the system.

Installing a License Key from a File

Install License File.png

A working internet connection is required to use the activation code to install your license. In the event that you need to license a system with no internet connection, email the MAC address or System ID of the host PC you need to license along with your activation code to Userful. They will generate a license key and send it as an attachment.

To install a license key from a file that Userful or a Userful partner has provided:

  1. Copy the file to the desktop of the system to be licensed, or mount a USB flash drive containing the license key file.
  2. From the starting screen of the Licensing section, click on the button marked "Manually Install License" under System Operations > Manage Licensing . The page seen to the right will open.
  3. Click on the "Browse" button and navigate through the file system to the directory where the license key is saved. Select the license key file and choose "Open".
  4. Click on the "Upload License File" button. The license key file is installed automatically, and takes effect without rebooting the system.

Increasing the Maximum Number of Stations on a License

UCC Increase License.png

If your contract allows, it is possible to increase the maximum number of stations connected to a given host computer without replacing the license. To do this, click on the "Increase Stations" link under System Operations > Manage Licensing , the current maximum number of stations is 15.

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

Enter the “Activation Code” and the new "Maximum Number of Stations". In the example to the right, 20 was entered. Click on the "Request Increase from License Server" button to complete the operation.

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

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

Note: Increase Licensed Stations feature will not work prior to Userful Multiplatform 7.2; either upgrade to the latest version of Multiplatform or use Replacing an existing License feature to use this functionality.

Backing up a License File

  • To back up a license file, go to System Operations > Manage Licensing and click the "Download/Backup current license" button on the bottom of the page.
  • This will open a dialogue box asking to confirm the file-saving operation. Click "Save" to save a copy of the license file with a ".bak" file extension in the /etc/userful/license/ directory.

Replacing an Existing License

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

Note: Licenses persist when product is upgraded to a newer version. That is, if you already have a license for any version of Userful Multiplatform™, you can update your system to the newest available version without obtaining a new license.

Please Note: Unused video output heads on PCI/PCIe graphics cards or integrated graphics cards should be disabled in the Control Center to avoid going over the limit of licensed stations.

If a graphics card on the host PC has an unused video output head (except for Radeon graphics), that output head will still show up in the Control Center as an available station. An error message will appear stating that "The Xorg server has failed on the specified display"; this error message can safely be ignored. However, these "phantom stations" will count towards the number of seats allowed on a license -- resulting in an unusable station showing the "Too Many Stations" screen -- unless disabled in the Control Center.

If "Disable All" and then "Enable All" is used, the "Too Many Stations" screen may appear on the wrong station. To remedy this situation, Disable the station formed from the unused video output head and reboot the host PC.

For more information, visit FAQs page.

Change Admin Password

Change Admin Password

User can change admin(root) password using this link. To do so:

  • From Navigation Panel, go to System Operations
  • Click on "Change Admin Password" link
  • A window will popup, enter Current Password, New Password and Repeat Password
  • Click "OK" button

The change will take effect immediately without system reboot.

Change Hostname

This link redirects to Manuals/HowTo/Change HostName. This page provides instructions on “How to change Hostname” via terminal.

Power Management

Automatic Nightly Shutdown

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

  1. Click Power Management and check the checkbox next to "Automatically Shutdown the host PC".
  2. Enter the time in (HH/MM) format

Note: Warning message will pop 5 minutes before the scheduled time to notify all users to save their work.
Control Center also provides instructions to do automatic power-on using BIOS. This feature is particularly helpful if it is hard to access host PC physically. Click on the "change BIOS settings" link and follow the steps.

Reboot/Shut Down System

Reboot/Shutdown functionality is implemented using the buttons respectively.
Clicking on each button will bring up a confirmation dialog and once confirmed appropriate action will be performed.

Network Settings

UCC Network Settings.png

Network Settings section of System Operations displays following information of Network Interface Card:

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

Clicking on the pencil icon located to the right of the IP address opens the network settings configuration box for the host PC. By default, host PC automatically retrieve its network settings and IP address from router or DHCP server. It is possible to manually override this setting and manually assign an IPAddress.

To assign a static IPAddress, follow the steps mentioned under "How to configure a DHCP Server" link.

Proxy Settings

UCC Proxy.png

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

To configure proxy settings, go to System Operations > Network Settings > Proxy Settings under Control Center. Enter the host PC proxy address and the port, and click "OK".

System Updates

The Userful team is continually working to improve our products performance and feature set for upcoming version releases. Occasionally, Userful may release important updates between official software version releases.
To check for such updates, select System Operations > System Updates > Check for Updates from the Navigation Panel.

  • Select option as per contract and click "Continue".
  • For an active support contract, system checks for updates automatically; if any available, they will be listed on the window.
  • Click "OK" to install updates(or "Cancel" to reset the page).

Third-party Add-ons

Install Third Party Addons

Userful provides the ability to install third-party add-on packages directly through Control Center. To access this functionality, go to System Operations > System Updates > Third-party Add-ons. User can install/uninstall following packages:

  • GStreamer Proprietary Plugins
  • Google Chrome
  • VirtualBox Host Extension Pack
  • Educational Application Suite
  • K Desktop Environment
  • v-Class Learning Management System

Simply, select the package and hit "Apply" to start the installation process. Host PC will reboot after the package update.

Date and Time

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

System Language

System Language and keyboard information is displayed at the end of System Operations screen. In order to change the language, click “Change” link and select language from the drop-down. The changes will take effect after the reboot.

Help and Support

Userful offers an extensive and ever-growing collection of documentation that can answer most questions and resolve most issues that may be encountered with Userful products. If Userful's documentation cannot resolve your questions, consider “Submit Trouble Report to Support”


This section provides diagnostic tools such as:

  • System Diagnostics: System Diagnostics provides a summary of problems detected. This tool reports CPU and memory performance on all stations and helps user to analyse the problem in the event of system malfunction.
  • Userful Support Portal: Link to the support forum
  • Online Documentation: Link to Userful Documentation


This section allows the user to perform certain actions to resolve an issue before submitting a ticket, including :

  • Reboot System: This link reboots the host PC as part of troubleshooting process.
  • Reset Userful Multiplatform: To access this function, go to Help and Support > Troubleshoot > Reset Userful Multiplatform. A confirmation dialog box pops up. Clicking “OK” button resets any changes that have been made to Userful configuration files and reboots the host PC. This action will clear all input device assignment and station mapping.
  • Launch Terminal: Launches Terminal (Command-Line) window.
  • Temporarily Disable Userful Multiplatform: As a troubleshooting step, it may be necessary at some point to turn off Userful Multiplatform and return the host PC to a single-user configuration. Using this function, administrator can turn off Userful software. When Multiplatform is turned off, all services are stopped and disabled, and all stations except the onboard video station are lost -- even if the Control Center is being accessed from one of those stations.
If an application or feature is not working, temporarily disabling Userful Multiplatform can help determine:
  • Whether the problem lies with the operating system or another application.
  • Whether the problem results from multiplying the system.

Please Note: Userful recommends disconnecting or powering off zero client devices that are connected to the system before turning off Multiplatform. If a large number of stations (with their associated input devices) are connected to the host PC when it reboots in single-user mode, the system may freeze during reboot due to a "no more event device error".

Remote VPN Connection

Remote VPN Connection allows Userful Support team to connect directly to customer installs, without the need for Port forwarding or firewall tunneling on either end. To establish a connection:

Remote Connection1.png

  • Launch Control Center and click "Remote VPN Connection" link under "Help and Support"
  • Click "Start VPN" button to get the IP Address
  • Provide printed IP Address and root password to Userful Support for remote access

Once started, Userful Support can SSH into the system for troubleshooting.

Please Note: Remote VPN Connection functionality is not vulnerable to Heartbleed bug.

Contact Support

Report a Problem
UCC Report Problem1.png

If a problem cannot be solved using Userful's documentation, the fastest and best way to receive technical assistance from Userful's support team is to submit a problem report directly to Userful Customer Support through the Control Center.

To report a problem, click the "Submit Trouble Report to Support" link near the bottom of the "Help and Support" page. A new page will open with a simple form to be filled out. When completed and submitted, the information provided will be e-mailed -- along with a selection of debugging information pulled from the computer system logs and files -- to Userful Customer Support.

  1. Be sure to include a contact name and e-mail so Userful Customer Support can respond to your problem report.
  2. Briefly describe what action you were performing when the problem occured.
  3. From the pull-down menu, select a category that the problem seems to fall under. Use the "Other" option if there is no clear choice.
  4. Give as complete a description of the problem as possible. To get help quickly, it is important to be as specific as possible when describing your problem.
  5. When finished, click on the "Submit" button.