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Change content or execute events on a schedule, set up daily server shut down

Update or Correct Server Date/Time

Go to Settings and scroll down to Time. Ensure NTP is enabled if your server has Internet access, or set a manual date/time if it does not.

Check Location and check or correct your time zone.

Clicking OK will apply the changes.

Set static IPs on Zero Clients

After setting up your Userful server, a recommended post-setup task is to set static IPs on your Zero Clients. This will enable you to turn off DHCP services on the closed Zero Client network, enhancing security.

This procedure only works with Zero Clients. IP settings must be set manually on uClient Adapters and LG devices.

From the Displays screen, edit the IP address field of a Zero Client. Disable DHCP, and enter whichever static IP you wish to assign to the device, then click OK.

Click Apply when all devices are changed. Each device will update in sequence, and the process may take up to 30 seconds per device.

To put a zero client back on DHCP (if it is going to be moved to a different subnet, for example), simply reverse the above process.

Configure Blackmagic Capture Cards

Important Note: These steps only apply if you have purchased and are unboxing your own Blackmagic Capture Cards. These steps have been completed for you in servers purchased directly from Userful.

If you have purchased a server from Userful, please go directly to the Blackmagic Capture Source.

Before beginning, your cards should be unboxed and installed inside an active Userful server.

Update Firmware (All Models)

A new-out-of-box card will more that likely require a firmware update in order to function with the driver.

Log in to a Linux Desktop Source to check for Blackmagic firmware updates.

From the top menu, click on Applications -> Sound and Video -> Blackmagic Firmware Updater. Follow the prompts to update the firmware if needed. If no update is required, it will indicate that all devices are up to date.

Checking for firmware updates. Click the animation to zoom

Once complete, the system will need to be shut down and powered back on again for the updates to take effect.

Some models of Blackmagic Decklink card require renumeration of the PCI bus after a firmware update. This is why the system must be shut down and turned back on.

Configure Port I/O (Mini Recorder 4K, Duo 2, Quad 2)

Keeping to the Linux Desktop Source we created earlier, we need to set correct I/O options on the cards.

This time, we use the Applications -> Sound and Video-> Blackmagic Desktop Video Setup application.

The process differs depending on the card.

Mini Recorder 4K

Configuration for the Mini Recorder 4K is simple and reflects the one-or-other nature of the card - you can use the SDI or HDMI ports for capture, but not both at the same time.

Under the Video tab, select the SDI or HDMI port, depending on which you intend to use and click Save.

Duo2

By default, the Duo2 is configured with alternating input and output ports (hence the name Duo - 2 inputs, 2 outputs), which we must change in order to fully utilize all 4 ports (ignoring the 5th reference in) as input.

Click Decklink Duo (1). Under the Video tab, go down to Connector Mapping and change the Connector value for the port. It will say "SDI 1 & SDI 2", as below. Change this to SDI 1, and click Save.

The process is similar for the remaining ports:

  • Decklink Duo (2) - Change to SDI 3

  • Decklink Duo (3) - Change to SDI 2

  • Decklink Duo (4) - Change to SDI 4

Repeat this process if you have more than one card.

Quad2

Like the Duo2, the Quad2 is configured by default with alternating input and output ports (hence the name Quad - 4 inputs, 4 outputs) which can be changed to allow us to fully utilize all 8 ports (ignoring the 9th reference in) as input.

Click Decklink Quad (1). Under the Video tab, go down to Connector Mapping and change the Connector value for the port. It will say "SDI 1 & SDI 2", as below. Change this to SDI 1, and click Save.

The process is similar for the remaining ports:

  • Decklink Duo (2) - Change to SDI 3

  • Decklink Duo (3) - Change to SDI 5

  • Decklink Duo (4) - Change to SDI 7

Ports 5,6,7, and 8 should already be at the correct settings, but it is a good idea to check anyway:

  • Decklink Quad (5) - to SDI 2

  • Decklink Quad (6) - to SDI 4

  • Decklink Quad (7) - to SDI 6

  • Decklink Quad (8) - to SDI 8

Repeat this process if you have more than one card.

This animation shows the entire process of configuring a server with a pair of new, out-of-the-box Duo2 capture cards installed, from the Linux Desktop source.

The process of configuring a pair of new DeckLink Duo2 capture cards for Userful. Click to zoom

Configure Micro Converters (Duo2, Quad2 Only)

Because HDMI connections are much more common than SDI, Userful ships and recommends Blackmagic HDMI to SDI Micro Converters as an accompaniment to the Duo2 and Quad2 cards. Like the cards, they need to be updated out-of-the-box before they will work with Userful.

This procedure requires you to have a Windows or Mac PC with administrative user rights (install and run programs) to complete. You will also need a cable with USB-C at one end that you can connect to your computer (older models of Micro Converter use Micro-USB).

Download and install the Blackmagic Converters software from this website, and run the software.

Connecting the first converter to your PC with a USB cable should produce an immediate result. If there are any firmware updates available for the converter, the software will inform you immediately, and you should apply the update. If there is no popup, the device is running the latest firmware and can be used immediately.

You are now ready to move on to configuring Blackmagic Capture Sources!

Configure Blackmagic Capture for Failover

Userful On-Premise servers equipped with SDI capture cards (Duo 2 or Quad 2) can easily be configured for failover by using the second output port on the HDMI-to-SDI converter.

Userful On-Premise servers with HDMI capture cards will need to be fed from an HDMI splitter. These are recommended.

Create VNC Servers

This information is provided as a reference only; Userful staff may not directly assist in the configuration of applications for your organizations systems.

VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a standard, not an application. There are many different applications available that can function as VNC servers. TightVNC is a mature, freely-available option that has existed since 2001.

Since VNC is a protocol, it is cross-platform compatible, meaning Windows VNC clients can connect to and control Linux or OSX VNC servers, and vice versa. VNC clients and servers from different companies often work together as well, though some companies develop proprietary versions.

Windows PCs as VNC Servers

Install TightVNC for Windows

Go to the TightVNC Download Page, select the version of TightVNC for Windows matching your operating system (32-bit or 64-bit), download and run it, following the installation wizard.

Select Typical when prompted for Setup Type. If you select Custom, ensure TightVNC Server is selected.

Ensure Register TightVNC Server as a system service (recommended) is enabled. Register TightVNC Server as a system service when prompted.

Set and record a password for password-based authentication - this is strongly recommended for security. Set and record an administrative password (optional). This allows you to prevent the end user from being able to alter the VNC Server's settings.

For PCs running Windows 7 or older, it is also recommended to install the DFMirage Driver, available from the same Download page, for improved performance.

Server Configuration

TightVNC Server can run as either an application or service.

As an application, TightVNC is started either manually or automatically after user login, and runs only for that user.

As a service, TightVNC starts automatically when Windows boots, and runs no matter which user is logged in.

Application Mode

  • Go to Start > Programs > TightVNC > TightVNC Server (Application Mode) > Run TightVNC Server.

To quit TightVNC server:

  • Right-click the TightVNC system tray icon and choose "Shutdown TightVNC Server".

Service Mode

By default, TightVNC installs as a service in Windows.

If you did not install TightVNC as a service during install and wish to change that, the simplest way is to reinstall TightVNC.

To start the TightVNC Server service one-time:

  • Go to Start > Programs > TightVNC > TightVNC Server (Service Mode) > Start TightVNC Service

  • Run net start tvnserver in the Windows command line.

To stop the TightVNC Server service:

  • Go to Start > Programs > TightVNC > TightVNC Server (Service Mode) > Stop TightVNC Service

  • Run net stop tvnserver in the Windows command line.

If you unchecked the recommended option "Register TightVNC Server as a system service" during installation, you will need to register TightVNC as a service.

  • Go to Start > Programs > TightVNC > TightVNC Server (Service Mode) > Register TightVNC Service.

For further configuration options and documentation, see TightVNC's Documentation Page

Using TightVNC to capture Multiple Displays

By default, TightVNC will capture and broadcast all displays on a system as a single feed. Userful will fit this feed into a 16:9 canvas. To capture only select displays, or portions of display(s), it is required to specify the display geometry you wish to capture.

Ensure TightVNC is already running, or is set to run as a service, as above. Open the TightVNC Server configuration (right-click the system tray icon or find the Control Interface in the Start Menu), and click the "Extra Ports" tab.

Click Add. Specify the port you wish to use (5901 is the default) and the geometry specification (in pixels) you need. (h. resolution x v. resolution + X offset + Y offset)

For example, to capture the middle display of a 3-monitor setup where all displays are 1920x1080, you would use 1920x1080+1920+0. To capture the first and second display on this theoretical system, you would use 3840x1080+0+0, and so on.

To capture all displays individually, create rules for each display.

Finally, it's a simple matter of specifying the relevant port when creating the Desktop Streamer source to create a Source for each individual display.

MAC/OSX as VNC Servers

OSX version 10.4 and newer include VNC server functionality natively. No external software is necessary.

VNC is configured in System Preferences -> Sharing. In the Services panel, enable "Apple Remote Desktop". Use "Access Privileges" to set a password.

Linux as VNC Servers

A great deal of free/open source VNC applications exist for many Linux distributions. Most have TightVNC available in their own repositories and installing it involves running some derivative of install tightvncserver.

Your distribution's documentation or community is the best place to look for assistance when dealing with your particular distribution of Linux.

iOS or Android

While there are many VNC client applications for Android and iOS, VNC server functionality for these platforms does not exist.

Enable USB Flash Drives on Zero Clients

Go to Settings and click on USB Storage Settings from the Storage Management section, and Enable access to USB storage.

Load content into Signage Player from the local server

If you are controlling Userful from the onboard station, and there is no network access for browser-based management, there are a few steps to follow.

First you must Enable USB Flash Drives in UCC, as described above.

Second, create a Linux Desktop source, either from an existing one or by creating a new one, and ensuring your onboard display is mapped to it.

Log into the Linux Desktop session, and you should now see your USB drive mounted on the desktop. Follow these steps to load files from it, in either an existing or new Signage Player source.

Change or Update a Preset

See Updating Presets for easy animated guides.

Change the Resolution of a display

This applies to Zero Clients or Userful uClient Adapters only.

  • Open the Userful Control Center's Displays tab

  • Click on the Display you desire to change the resolution of

  • Change the resolution as per your requirement from the drop-down menu in the Resolution field

  • Click OK to make the changes take effect immediately

Show a PowerPoint Presentation

Change the server name

  • Open the Userful Control Center

  • Click on the Settings tab on the right-hand side of the screen

  • Click on the Change Server Name from the Settings menu and give your server a new name

  • Click OK to make the changes take effect immediately

Reset my Password

Userful Manager

Click here.

Userful Control Center (Non-Administrators)

Your system administrator is able to change any logins, please contact them.

Userful Control Center (Administrators)

Userful Control Center (Administrators, Offline System)

How to recover a root password in Red Hat-based Linux systems.

Alternatively, reinstall your system.

Update Userful or Software, Update Chrome Browser

On-Premise Servers

If you are on a version of Userful fewer than 3-4 versions behind the current release (for example, 10.3 to 10.6), See Check for System Updates.

Users with older versions are encouraged to re-install with a newer version of Userful.

If your server says it is on the latest version, but a newer version is available, or if you are still seeing messages about updating Chrome, contact Userful Support.

Cloud Servers

Cloud servers are always up-to-date!

Schedule a Server Power-On

Userful cannot turn itself on of its own accord, rather the BIOS or EFI of the system itself must be configured to power on at a certain time.

Contact Userful for assistance in configuring the relevant BIOS settings if your system was sold by Userful. Otherwise consult your vendor's documents.

Find my SystemID

Userful Manager

Click the animations to zoom

Userful Control Center

Report Broken or Defective Hardware, start an RMA

Contact Userful Support. Please include serial numbers from any Client devices possible.

Renew, Upgrade, or Update my License, or Add More Displays to my Server

Contact your Userful Account Manager.

If you have processed a renewal but your server is still not updating, contact Userful Support.