Error when run Surfer script "ActiveX Automation: server could not be found"

This article explains what to do when you receive an "ActiveX Automation: server could not be found" error upon running a Surfer script.


The (10096) ActiveX Automation: server could not be found error typically occurs when Surfer and/or Scripter are not properly registered on the computer. When the programs are not registered properly on the computer, it is usually an indication that the programs have not been run interactively, that lack of user permissions are preventing the proper registry items from being created, that multiple versions of Surfer are installed on the computer and are interfering with registry item creation, or that Surfer was installed improperly to a network location.


First, 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.


Second, check to be sure Surfer was opened prior to trying to access it via automation. Surfer must be opened interactively at least once in administrator mode prior to calling it via a script. Please try these steps:

  1. Right-click the Surfer icon or EXE file.
  2. Click Run as administrator.
  3. Close Surfer.
  4. Right-click the Scripter icon or EXE file.
  5. Click Run as administrator.
  6. Close Scripter.
  7. Then try running the script.


If you still get the error, please make sure there is only one version of Surfer installed on the computer, then repair the installation. To do this:

  1. Log on to the computer as an administrator.
  2. If Surfer or Scripter is open, close the program.
  3. Navigate to the Windows Control Panel and click Uninstall a program.
  4. In the Uninstall or change a program window, uninstall any other older versions of Surfer, including the demo versions, that are installed on the computer (if any). If no other version of Surfer is installed on the computer, skip this step.
  5. Repair the current Surfer installation by selecting it, clicking Change, selecting Repair and clicking Next. The installer will run the repair.
  6. When the installer is finished, check the option to run Surfer now and click Finish.
  7. After Surfer opens, close the program.
  8. Try running the script now.


If you still get the message, you can try manually registering Surfer before attempting to run the script. To do this:

  1. Close Scripter and Surfer.
  2. Click the Windows Start button.
  3. In the search box (which is also the Run command), enter the path to the surfer.exe file in quotes followed by /register. For example: "C:\Program Files\Golden Software\Surfer 15\surfer.exe" /register.  Be sure to include the quotation marks, and be sure the path to surfer.exe goes to wherever Surfer is installed, if it was not installed to the default directory.
  4. Press ENTER on the keyboard. If the command is successful, it will appear as if nothing happened.
  5. Now re-run Surfer and Scripter as administrator. Right-click the Surfer icon or EXE file.
  6. Click Run as administrator.
  7. Close Surfer.
  8. Right-click the Scripter icon or EXE file.
  9. Click Run as administrator.
  10. Close Scripter.
  11. Try running the script now.


If you still get the “(10096) ActiveX Automation: server could not be found” error, please send an email to with the version of Surfer you are using (File | About Surfer), your serial number and the steps you have tried (above).


Updated September 27, 2017

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