How to keep the Windows desktop active

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iMacros runs very well on locked systems and servers. There is only one function that requires an active deskop, and this is iimTakeBrowserScreenshot (path, 0), which is used to take screenshot of the complete web browser. For this function, iMacros needs to call the Windows API, and the responsible Windows functions work only on an active (= open, unlocked) desktop. Otherwise it returns a black screenshot.

What locks the desktop?

  • System locked (Windows Key + L)
  • Remote Desktop session disconnected

How to keep the desktop open:

  • Option 1: Install the free UltraVNC Server on the machine or EC2 instance and make sure it is set to run as a service. You do not need any of the special drivers offered for download during the installation. We recommend to enable the "Loopback Only" option of UVNC to disable all remote connections for security reasons. Once UVNC is running, you can lock a system but the desktop remains active "behind" the screensaver.

If you use this option along with iimRunner, make sure to use autologon to the iimRunner account.

Uvnc server.png


Very important: A login with remote desktop (RDP) stops this "keep alive" feature of UVNC!!! This is a known UVNC bug. But there is a good workaround: Either reboot after a RDP login or use another tool for the remote connection e. g. LogMeIn (free version sufficient).


  • Option 2: Run a virtual machine on your system (e. g. VMware). Obviously, this solution is not recommended if you already use a virtual environment such as Amazon AWS EC2.

The iOpus team uses both options in various projects and is ready to help with this and even set it up for you.