WinTab Service Not Available

Matthew Yetter
Matthew Yetter
  • Updated

The "Wintab service not available" error upon launching ZBrush or ZBrushCore is triggered by a two step process:

  1. When ZBrush launches it checks with Windows to see if a graphics tablet is connected to the computer.  If Windows tells it that one is, ZBrush then asks for the Win Tab service which gives ZBrush the ability to use the tablet's advanced functions such as pressure sensitivity.  This service is not part of Windows; it's installed by the drivers for your tablet.
  2. When ZBrush asks for the Win Tab service, if something prevents that from launching correctly Windows will then reply that the service is not available, giving you the error message.

In short, this is NOT a ZBrush error.  It is a Windows error.  It can be caused by the Win Tab service not even being on the computer (such as if you never installed the tablet's divers), but it can also be caused by Windows incorrectly telling ZBrush that there's a tablet.  This is an issue on Windows Vista and 7 that tablet manufacturers are aware of and attempting to work around.

Put another way, imagine the WinTab service as being a toolbox.  The toolbox is provided by your tablet manufacturer as part of the drivers.  ZBrush interacts with your tablet using the tools in the toolbox.  The problem that causes this error is that something has locked the toolbox so that ZBrush can't open it!


Here are ways that will usually resolve this error:


  • If you have a graphics tablet connected to your computer:  Simply go to the manufacturer's website for your particular tablet to download and install the most current drivers.  This will resolve the error, and allow you to use your tablet within ZBrush.
  • If you have previously had a graphics tablet connected to the computer but have unplugged it:  Make sure that you have the most current drivers for your tablet, then plug the tablet into the computer and launch ZBrush.  After ZBrush has fully launched, unplug the tablet and wait a minute before you do anything else.  Windows should then successfully identify that the tablet is no longer available and remove it from your hardware list.  Any time you unplug your tablet you will need to make it a point to wait a minute before doing anything so that Windows can update the hardware list correctly.
    • If the above does not work, you will need to manually remove the tablet.  Open your Start menu and right-click on Computer.  Choose Manage from the context menu.  In the Computer Management window that will open, choose Device Manager.  You will normally find the tablet listed under the "Mice and other pointing devices" category.  Right-click on it and choose to either Disable or Uninstall it.  You may also need to go to the Windows Control Panel > Remove Programs and uninstall anything that you see there having to do with a graphics tablet.  Some people have reported that this list shows multiple copies of their old tablet drivers installed.
  • If you have never had a graphics tablet connected to the computer:  This is the trickiest because Windows is seeing something that's connected to your computer as being a graphics tablet.  Unfortunately, there's no way other than guess work to figure out what it might be.  The best place to start is by checking the "Mice and other pointing devices" part of your Computer Management window as described above to see what is listed there other than your mouse.  Try disabling those items to see if that resolves the problem.  If the only thing listed is the mouse, check the mouse manufacturer's site to see if there are any drivers that should be installed for your model of mouse.  You may also need to do this with the "Human Interface Devices" section of the Device Manager.


Unfortunately, due to the fact that this is a Windows error and not a ZBrush error there is only so much that we can do to assist with this issue.  The advice above should resolve it for you, but if it does not then there is something truly unique about your installation of Windows and the devices connected to it.  That makes it impossible for us to help troubleshoot.  Knowing why this error occurs may help you find the problem, though, which is why we provided the detailed explanation at the start of this topic.

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