Knowledge Base Article - Q122
Topic: Setting up SuperNova Whiteboard Connect and View with TightVNC
Last updated on:
Applies to: SuperNova Magnifier, SuperNova Magnifier & Screen Reader, SuperNova Magnifier & Speech
NB: Please note that product names in this article may have changed since the time of writing.
SuperNova Whiteboard Connect and View gives students the opportunity to connect to a teacher’s interactive whiteboard and view the teacher’s presentation on their own computer screen. The student can magnify, change the colours and pause the presentation without effecting the teacher’s presentation.
Click this link to watch an introductory video on Whiteboard Connect and View:
How it works
SuperNova makes use of virtual network computing (VNC) to make the connection between the teacher’s computer and the student’s computer. The teacher’s computer must have VNC software installed and running for SuperNova to make a successful connection. The student’s computer does not require VNC software installed because SuperNova provides the Viewer.
There are a number of free and low cost VNC software programs available. These include TightVNC, Ultra VNC and Real VNC.
In this article we will explain the steps a system administrator may follow to install and setup TightVNC on the teacher’s computer plus some tips on troubleshooting connection problems.
TightVNC is a cross-platform free and open-source remote desktop software application that uses and extends the RFB protocol of Virtual Network Computing.
At the time of writing this article, TightVNC is:
- License: GNU General Public License.
- Stable release: 2.7.10 / July 24, 2013 - 2.
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows.
The installer is available as an MSI file for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems. Please ensure you download and install the correct version for your operating system.
You can download these packages plus supporting documentation from:
TightVNC must be installed on the teacher’s computer for SuperNova to make a successful connection. You can install TightVNC in Service Mode or Application Mode.
Service Mode (Default Installation)
In most cases you will be able to perform a default installation of TightVNC. This will install and register TightVNC as a Windows system service that starts automatically each time the teacher starts Windows.
At the end of the installation you will be asked to enter passwords for TightVNC Server to protect the computer from unauthorized access.
Application Mode (Custom Installation)
If you do not want to have TightVNC running as a Windows service then you must choose “Custom Install” and de-select the “Register TightVNC Server as a system service (recommended)” check box. In this state, TightVNC Server is only available as a normal Windows application. In “Application Mode” the teacher must manually run TightVNC to make it possible for student’s to make a connection.
To run TightVNC in Application Mode choose:
Start->Programs->TightVNC->TightVNC Server (Application Mode)->Run TightVNC Server.
To quit TightVNC server, Right Click the TightVNC tray icon and choose "Shutdown TightVNC Server".
Changing to Service Mode
If after installation you decide you want to run TightVNC as a Windows system service, then follow these instructions:
- Click: Start->Programs->TightVNC->TightVNC Server (Service Mode)->Register TightVNC Service.
- Click: Start->Programs->TightVNC->TightVNC Server (Service Mode)->Start TightVNC Service (or type in the command line: net start tvnserver).
- If you want the server to show its tray icon, click: Start->Programs->TightVNC->TightVNC Server (Service Mode)->TightVNC Server – Control Interface
To stop TightVNC Server in service mode, use one of the following two ways:
- Click: Start->Programs->TightVNC->TightVNC Server (Service Mode)->Stop TightVNC Service
- type in the command line: net stop tvnserver
Using TightVNC Server
Although TightVNC Server is available in an Application and Service Mode, both these modes operate in the same way.
On successful startup, TightVNC will add a small icon to the tray in the system task bar (notification area). Moving the mouse over this icon shows the server mode, the IP address of the machine and provides a hint on the current configuration setup.
When you launch TightVNC Server for the first time, it will ask for the passwords for control interface and VNC authentications. For security reasons, the server will not accept incoming connections, until you specify required passwords or intentionally cancel VNC authentication. The last option is not safe, and TightVNC Server will warn you about it:
To protect the machine from unauthorized access, you should set passwords for VNC authentication. Follow these instructions:
- Click the TightVNC Server/Service tray icon.
- In the "Server" tab, check "Require VNC authentication".
- Set passwords for full-control access (Primary password) and view-only access (View-only password). The “View Only” password is the password the student requires to make the connection using SuperNova.
You may also wish to:
- Set a control interface password by selecting the “Administration” page, selecting "Protect control operations with an administrative password" check box and then set a desirable password (requires restart).
- Prevent all external client interaction with the teacher’s computer by de-selecting “Enable file transfers” check box and Selecting the “Block remote input events” check box in the “Server” page. SuperNova is only able to view the teacher's computer, however, the presence of a third party Viewer may enable remote control of the teacher's computer.
TIP: If you want to set passwords for TightVNC Service while it is not running, use Offline Configuration (Start->Programs->TightVNC> TightVNC Server (Service Mode)->TightVNC Service – Offline Configuration).
TightVNC Server Status
The TightVNC Server/Service tray icon gives you an indication about the Server status. It has a white background if the server is ready but there is no viewer connected, and inverted colours when at least one viewer has accessed the desktop.
A red border around the TightVNC Server tray icon means that the server does not accept client connections. This may happen if you forbid incoming connection in the TightVNC control interface or for some other reasons, which will be shown in the tray icon hint.
If you right-click the TightVNC Server/Service tray icon, you will see the TightVNC Server menu of which the following items are noteworthy:
- Configuration... – Displays the TightVNC configuration window (Control Interface), which allows the teacher to change various parameters of the TightVNC Server. This window is also displayed if you click the system tray icon.
- Disconnect All Viewers – Disconnects all currently connected students from the server.
- Shutdown TightVNC Server – Quits.
Quick guide to setting up SuperNova
With TightVNC installed, configured and running and the network connection open, here are the steps to setup SuperNova.
Create a Whiteboard Profile.
- In the "Visual" option, open the "Connect and View" submenu and select "Settings". The "Connect and View Settings" dialog box opens.
- If this is a new profile you want to create, select the "Whiteboard" page and choose the "New" button. The "Whiteboard Settings" dialog box opens.
- If this is a profile you want to edit, open the "Whiteboard" page, select the profile from the "Devices" list and choose the "Settings" button. The "Whiteboard Settings" dialog box opens.
- In the "Profile" box type a name for this profile. Give the profile a meaningful name, for example, the name of the classroom, teacher or trainer.
- In the “Machine Name” box enter in the name of the teacher's computer as it appears on the network. Alternatively, you can also enter in the teacher's computer's IP address, however, this is not recommended because of the dynamic assignment of IP addresses under most network configurations.
- Unless you have made specific changes, you can leave the “Port” setting unchanged. By default VNC uses Port 5900.
- In the “Password” box enter in the password that allows you to connect to the teacher's computer. The assignment of a password is optional and is set in the VNC software.
- Use the “Connection Type” radio buttons to select the option that matches your type of network connection. You can choose between a local area network (LAN) connection and a wireless connection.
- Unless you have made specific choices during the VNC setup, you can leave the “Protocol” setting unchanged. There are a number of Remote Frame Buffer (RFB) protocols available that are supported by VNC.
- Use the “Show Mouse” check box to control whether the mouse pointer on the teacher's computer appears in the SuperNova Viewer. You may want to enable this option if you want to see where the mouse pointer is being positioned on the screen. You may want to disable this option if the presence of the mouse pointer is a distraction.
The additional options in the "Connect and View Settings" dialog box are general settings and apply to all whiteboard interaction, irrespective of the chosen device.
Turn on SuperNova Connect and View.
- Select the Whiteboard Profile you want to view in the “Connect and View Settings” dialog box.
- Click the “Connect and View” button to turn on the SuperNova Viewer. Alternatively press ALT + NUMPAD ENTER if you are using the Default NumPad hot key set or press LEFT SHIFT + CAPS LOCK + 0 if you are using the Laptop Universal hot key set.
When you turn on "Connect and View" a portion of the screen begins to show the image from the whiteboard. This area is called the Viewer. You can change the position of the Viewer on the screen and you can use the Viewer Toolbar to adjust the size, colour and contrast of the image to make it easier to see.
If you are finding that SuperNova Connect and View is unable to connect to the teacher's computer then here are some common things to try to resolve the issue.
On the teacher's computer:
- Is the teacher's computer turned on and connected to the same network that the user’s computer running SuperNova is also connected (for example the school’s Local Area Network)?
- Is VNC Server software running and enabled on the teacher’s computer?
- Is the VNC Server software on the teacher’s computer configured correctly?
- Are you sure that you’ve given the student the teacher’s correct IP address (or machine name)?
- Are you sure that you’ve given the student the correct port number on which the teacher’s VNC Server software is currently listening?
- If the student is connecting over the Internet (or from a different network), have you enabled port-forwarding on the router to which the teacher’s PC is connected (and also configured any firewalls protecting the teacher’s computer to allow network communications through to the port on which their VNC Server software is currently listening)? (Alternatively, have the teacher and student successfully established a VPN connection between their PCs?
On the student’s computer running SuperNova, check:
- Is the student’s computer connected to a network?
- In SuperNova, has the student entered the IP address (or machine name) correctly?
- If the teacher’s computer is running VNC Server software and listening on a port other than 5900, has the student entered the correct port number in their SuperNova Whiteboard connection profile?
- Has the student entered any VNC password set by the teacher correctly?
The information provided in this knowledge base article has been reviewed and is believed to be accurate and is provided "as is" without any warranties expressed or implied. In no event shall Dolphin Computer Access Ltd. nor its affiliates assume any responsibility for inaccuracies, errors, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect or omission in this document, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.
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