Error when run Surfer script "ActiveX Automation: server cannot create object"

This article describes why you may get an "ActiveX Automation: server cannot create object" error when using automation to create a new instance of Surfer, or an "ActiveX Automation: no object currently active" error when using automation to call an existing instance of Surfer.

There are a few reasons why you could be getting this error. The most common causes of this error are:

  1. Surfer has not been opened interactively at least once before the script was run. Please open Surfer at least once prior to calling it via automation.
  2. Surfer needs to be opened as administrator. Right-click over the Surfer shortcut or desktop icon and click Run as administrator. The Surfer program opens, you may need to enter the serial number, and then just close it. Then try to run the script or call it from another program. 
  3. Scripter (or the program you are using to call Surfer) needs to be opened as administrator. Right click over the Scripter (or whatever program you are using) application EXE file, desktop shortcut, or link under the Programs menu and click Run as administrator to run it in administrator mode. Once it is opened in administrator mode, run the script to call Surfer via automation.


To permanently set Surfer and Scripter to run as administrator (this is very useful), you can:

  1. Right click over the Surfer.exe application file and click Properties.
  2. In the Surfer Properties dialog, on the Compatibility page, check Run this program as an administrator.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Repeat for Scripter.exe.


If both Surfer and Scripter (or whatever program you are using to call Surfer) are set to run as administrator and you still get the error, other reasons could include:

  1. The error message may indicate that Surfer has not been installed correctly.  You can try repairing the Surfer installation, making sure to open Surfer at the end of the repair, and then attempting to run the script again. 
  2. There is a problem running Surfer when PC Anywhere runs at startup.  If you are running PC Anywhere, you can work around the problem by removing PC Anywhere from the startup menu, restart the computer and then starting PC Anywhere manually after the computer restarted. 
  3. We have also seen this error when the user has a combination of an older version of Surfer 8 (not 8.09), running Surfer not as administrator, and having the UAC (User Account Control) turned on. First, click Help | About Surfer. If you are using Surfer 8, but not 8.09, then click Help | Check for Update to update to 8.09. After you are using 8.09, try to run the script.

  4. If that also doesn’t help, you can try turning the UAC (User Account Control) off via the Control Panel | User Accounts. You will need to reboot after UAC is turned off.
  5. Be sure that Surfer was installed either directly on the workstation it is being called from, or from the workstation to a network location. If it was installed directly on the network server, it cannot be called via automation from a workstation because the necessary registry items are not created on the workstation. If this is the case, you will need to talk to your IT personnel to get Surfer installed on your local workstation so you can call it via automation.


Updated September 27, 2017

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