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A few years ago we introduced the "shell replacement" feature in our ServiceTool and since then we put a lot and continous effort into it. The ServiceTool in AO 3.00 now offers more than 35 different variations of the shell replacement, so why do we put so much effort and time into this little feature? And what after all is a shell replacement, and why should you use it in your setup?

 

Let's start with a few explanations. A shell in the windows world is what you already know as your desktop environment or GUI (graphical user interface). It is your desktop, your start menu, all the basic functions you can see right after you log in to your windows machine. So basically this is the entire windows environment which gets loaded after the login. Of course there is a lot happening, many process and threads are started to present you the windows desktop and load all the features and functions of Windows.

 

image.thumb.png.c154631a565758ae4777911c20034da5.png

 

In the Windows Server world the shell can also have a different appearance, namely on Windows Server systems which are running in Server Core (core mode). On those setups you have no graphical user interface, all you will see after the logon is a command prompt window. It looks almost identical with the MS-DOS command prompt a few of you might still remember from days long gone.

 

image.png.5bd46d5dc120e38654adb3ff0f59c0f7.png

 

So a shell replacement is exactly what the name implies, we're going to replace the shell with something different. Let's say you mainly use Roon as your media player, wouldn't it be convenient having Roon launching automatically right after logon? Of course it would be convenient, but you could also simply put it in the Autostart folder right. So what's the difference? If you put in your Autostart Folder, Roon will just get loaded aside from the graphical user interface. It will be started together with the entire windows system and all its proccesses, threads and tasks in the background.

 

But if you entirely replace the windows shell with Roon, only Roon and nothing else will be launched after logon. So the big advantage in this case is not the conveniece part of having it autimatically launched (you'll get that as free extra bonus :) ), the point of the shell replacment is to entirely bypass the entire windows desktop and just launch your media player of choice. This is not only very convenient, it'll reward you with a significant impovement in sound quality due to bypassing the entire windows desktop. Of course this works exactly the same way when you are on Windows Server in core mode, the difference in sound quality isn‘t just as big as it is on a system with a GUI.

 

If you want to have even more convenience simply combine the shell replacement with the Autologon feature of ServiceTool. If you configure Autologon you will no longer have to press ctrl-alt-delete to enter your password, your machine will boot and logs iteslf in automatically. When you have additionally configured a shell replacement the media player of your choice will launch right after the automatic logon. So these two features basically transform your computer into a HiFi device. Simply press the power button and everything else will happen automatically, and you get a massive gain in sound quality!

 

image.png.f4494fc2354f2aea4f7f9c55c64c98ae.png

 

 

List of all available shell replacements in ServiceTool 3.00:

 

  • JRiver Media Center 17 - 25 (both x86 and x64)
  • Bug head emperor
  • Total Commander
  • Foobar2000
  • TIDAL
  • Fidelizer Pro
  • HQPlayer
  • HQPlayer NAA
  • Roon
  • RoonServer
  • RoonBridge
  • Roon combined with HQPlayer
  • RoonServer combined with HQPlayer
  • AudiophileShell
  • MinimServer
  • MediaMonkey
  • muso
  • Kodi
  • Alchemy
  • Custom Shell
  • Focusrite RedNet Control 2
  • Command Prompt

 

Especially interesting is the new "Custom Shell" feature of ServiceToot. It allows you to create your own shell replacement which fits your needs 100%. See more details about this here -> https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/56327-how-to-customshell-as-shell-replacement/

 

Of course a shell replacement can also easily be reversed using the ServiceTool. Just launch it again, select the shell replacement feature and select "R" for "Restore default shell". No matter if you where in GUI or core before, ServiceTool will automatically restore the right default shell for you.

 

image.png.c77f8a3248695af1b7cf4e58e953d78c.png

 

Enjoy it,

AudioPhil

 

 


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
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Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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Phil — I am using my server to run Roonserver for Roon and also JRiver MC25 for remote access outside of home to my music library through JRemote. I note that in my AO 3.00 install, Roon as a shell is available, but not Roonserver separately. Now, I selected Roon as my shell and the result is a black screen with only the AO menu in the center. This looks like the Roonserver shell (which is fine) and not the Roon shell (which I presume would show the Roon GUI that I don’t need on the server anyway?). Wondering, however, if selecting JRiver as the shell would still allow access to the AO menu and produce better sound than with Roon/Roonserver as shell. 

 

Separate question on WS2019 Standard GUI mode, which is what I have installed. If I disable network related services in AO — which you describe as important to good sound — you are saying that my Synology NAS (where my music is located) will no longer function?  No workaround for that?  I’m also finding that even with network related services running still, my NAS connection is not persistent. That is, it requires manual re-entry of the NAS password, despite selecting to save password, upon any server reboot.  I used “/persistent:yes” in my setup. Thoughts?  JCR 

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Hello

 

Of course RoonServer is available as shell replacement? Much more than that, see the entire list of Roon shell replacements here:

 

image.png.b8315b8603a414458f4f8c0d3c7c5761.png

 

Either way, for what you want you need to create your custom shell. See detailed steps here -> https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/56327-how-to-customshell-as-shell-replacement/

 

A mapped network drive does still work even when you select to disable network related services. But you have to use static IP configuration and need to map the drive using an IP instead of a hostname. The password issue I have never heard of, sorry.

 

Best,

AudioPhil

 

 


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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So I finally got around to installing Server 2019 GUI.  I did the shell replacement for Jriver.  How do I load service tool again to disable the shell and return to default?  Can the command be run from a remote desktop connection?

 

Thank You.


2CH System - PMC MB2SE(2) McIntosh C1000C/T, MC2301(2) PS Audio DirectStream DAC, P10, P5. Wireworld Cables and Interconnects. CAPS based Music Server.

 

HT System - PMC EB1i(2), CB6i, Twenty.21(2) JL Audio F113. Bryston SP4, McIntosh MC207. PS Audio P5. Wireworld Cables and Interconnects. CAPS based Music and Video Server.

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Hi

 

Simply press Ctrl-Alt-Del to either load the task manager or ServiceTool directly. Then you can choose to revert back to default shell.

 

Best,

AudioPhil


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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Loaded task manager, selected new task, command prompt, maneuvered to C:\AO and ran service tool from this location this morning.

 


2CH System - PMC MB2SE(2) McIntosh C1000C/T, MC2301(2) PS Audio DirectStream DAC, P10, P5. Wireworld Cables and Interconnects. CAPS based Music Server.

 

HT System - PMC EB1i(2), CB6i, Twenty.21(2) JL Audio F113. Bryston SP4, McIntosh MC207. PS Audio P5. Wireworld Cables and Interconnects. CAPS based Music and Video Server.

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You can also directly type "st" in the launch menu from the task manager to start ServiceTool


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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For anyone on the fence regarding switching to Roon server as their AO shell replacement for Windows 2019 I can heartily recommend it.

 

My system is much more open and transparent now that I made the switch.



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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On 1/13/2020 at 7:47 PM, mourip said:

For anyone on the fence regarding switching to Roon server as their AO shell replacement for Windows 2019 I can heartily recommend it.

 

My system is much more open and transparent now that I made the switch.

 

Do you set the shell replacement before or after running AO?

 


Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (WS 2016/AO/HQPlayer/Roon)> Lampizator Big 7 DAC

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It has been a while but I believe that I ran AO first and then ran it once more to enable the shell replacement.



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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Hi @AudioPhil,

I tried to set Fidelizer Pro (F) as a Shell but i get this error when the system boot:865399620_WhatsAppImage2020-07-20at19_46_48.thumb.jpeg.54ca5ea2fead0424baa436dfa06aba38.jpegDoes anyone have a solution?

Im using Windows 2019 Core Server + Jplay Femto + Fidelizer Pro.

Thanks!

 

 

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On 7/21/2020 at 6:10 PM, doors.sl said:

Hi @AudioPhil,

I tried to set Fidelizer Pro (F) as a Shell but i get this error when the system boot:865399620_WhatsAppImage2020-07-20at19_46_48.thumb.jpeg.54ca5ea2fead0424baa436dfa06aba38.jpegDoes anyone have a solution?

Im using Windows 2019 Core Server + Jplay Femto + Fidelizer Pro.

Thanks!

 

 

 

i get that error -- it's a fidelizer issue, not ao.  it also doesn't matter -- everything works regardless.


sources:  intel nuc8i5 (roon rock) | intel nuc7i5 (ws2019, ao, roon bridge) (main) | intel nuc6i5 (win10, ao, roon bridge) (headphone)
headphone rig:  schiit yggdrasil (a2, unison) > bryston bha-1 > senn hd600
main rig:  chord dave > parasound jc2bp > parasound jc5 > kef reference 1

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15 minutes ago, jcn3 said:

 

i get that error -- it's a fidelizer issue, not ao.  it also doesn't matter -- everything works regardless.

@Windows X, do you have an idea?

 

Best,

AudioPhil


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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On 7/17/2020 at 10:33 PM, dminches said:

 

Do you set the shell replacement before or after running AO?

 

Do AO first. Then launch the ServiceTool to configure the shell replacement as you need it.

 

This might also be interesting for you:
https://shop.highend-audiopc.com/blogs/audiophils-blog/how-and-why-to-configure-a-shell-replacement
https://shop.highend-audiopc.com/blogs/audiophils-blog/customshell-as-shell-replacement

 

Best,

AudioPhil


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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7 hours ago, AudioPhil said:

@Windows X, do you have an idea?

 

Best,

AudioPhil

 

Fidelizer has its own startup procedure and working fine since Windows Server 2016. Setting up Fidelizer Pro as default shell can cause issues with duplicated startup. I recommend to leave Fidelizer Pro with its own startup.

 

Regards,

Keetakawee


Happy Emm Labs/Viola/Karan/Rockport audiophile

 

Fidelizer - Feel the real sound http://www.fidelizer-audio.com

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Hi @AudioPhil,

 

I recently started using AudiophileOptimizer 3.0 and I am amazed by the results in terms of sound quality.I want to go even further, using the shell replacement option. However, before going in that direction, I would like answers to these questions please :

 

1. Do I need to strip Windows 10 pro if I use shell replacement?

2. To improve the sound quality, I installed the following software on my computer: AudiophileOptimizer (ultimate mode), Fidelizer Pro 8.6 and Minimserver 2.0. How do I configure the shell replacement with that these three applications?

3. My Music library is installed in a Samsung 960 Evo 2TB SSD drive. Will I need to go back to the Windows desktop to drop new music in my SSD drive?

 

Thank you so much for your help!

 
 

Roon Rock (NUC7i3BNH), Sonore optimal module, Sonore OpticalRendu, Audioquest USB Carbon, Schiit Gungnir Multibit Dac with Unison USB, Audioquest McKenzie XLR, McIntosh MAC6700, Monsoon AC power cord, Audioquest Rocket 88, Dynaudio Focus 340.

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Hello beajuju

 

Thanks a lot for the feedback and the questions :)

 

1. No, not needed. But a nice additional step to have a cleaner windows installation with a lot less of bloat.

2. Please see here: https://shop.highend-audiopc.com/blogs/audiophils-blog/how-and-why-to-configure-a-shell-replacement

3. No. There are various ways to achieve that goal after using a shell replacement. One of them would be this one (page 28 of the PDF guide):

 

grafik.png.e0c584178c46312e42fe9792a7771a6f.png

Instead of launching ServiceTool like in the example above you would simply start "explorer.exe". This will launch the entire windows desktop "on-demand" so to speak.

 

Best,

AudioPhil


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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Thank you @AudioPhil!

 

It seems to be a bug or conflict if I am using a Shell for Fidelizer Pro (See post 15 from @Windows X). What would be the most appropriate solution?

 


Roon Rock (NUC7i3BNH), Sonore optimal module, Sonore OpticalRendu, Audioquest USB Carbon, Schiit Gungnir Multibit Dac with Unison USB, Audioquest McKenzie XLR, McIntosh MAC6700, Monsoon AC power cord, Audioquest Rocket 88, Dynaudio Focus 340.

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23 minutes ago, beajuju said:

Thank you @AudioPhil!

 

It seems to be a bug or conflict if I am using a Shell for Fidelizer Pro (See post 15 from @Windows X). What would be the most appropriate solution?

 

 

I'm wondering a bit about @Windows X answer because the combination of Fidelizer and the shell replacement feature has been working well for years now. As far as I remember there is a setting within Fidelizer which does not cause itself to start after login.

 

Very best,

AudioPhil


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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15 hours ago, beajuju said:

Thank you @AudioPhil!

 

It seems to be a bug or conflict if I am using a Shell for Fidelizer Pro (See post 15 from @Windows X). What would be the most appropriate solution?

 

 

Hi. Since Fidelizer Pro has its own startup procedure, setting up as AO Shell can cause conflicts. I recommend to use Fidelizer with its own startup procedure since Windows Server 2016 and newer has startup feature implemented now.


Happy Emm Labs/Viola/Karan/Rockport audiophile

 

Fidelizer - Feel the real sound http://www.fidelizer-audio.com

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5 hours ago, Windows X said:

 

Hi. Since Fidelizer Pro has its own startup procedure, setting up as AO Shell can cause conflicts. I recommend to use Fidelizer with its own startup procedure since Windows Server 2016 and newer has startup feature implemented now.

Hi Kee

 

This is no good advice sorry. Fidelizer is using a similar to "autostart" function while the shell replacement is a completely different approach with a big effect on sound quality. Therefore it's not really advisable to just stick to the built in autostart feature, but to rather disable this and use the shell replacement with all it's advantages.

 

Best,

AudioPihl


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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Hi @AudioPhil,

 

Finally, I dismissed Fidelizer and chose to keep only AudiophileOptimizer with Autologon and minimserver shell replacement. My God!! The difference in sound quality is...HUGE! I had an Innuos Zen mini music server MK II and AO reach the same sound quality for a fraction of the price. It sound fabulous with my Lumin A1 with Leeds processing.

 

Does Windows server 2019 bring a significant improvement in sound? Is it complicated to install on an Intel NUC? I am not a computer geek but only an audiophile : )

 


Roon Rock (NUC7i3BNH), Sonore optimal module, Sonore OpticalRendu, Audioquest USB Carbon, Schiit Gungnir Multibit Dac with Unison USB, Audioquest McKenzie XLR, McIntosh MAC6700, Monsoon AC power cord, Audioquest Rocket 88, Dynaudio Focus 340.

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On 8/5/2020 at 2:13 AM, AudioPhil said:

Hi Kee

 

This is no good advice sorry. Fidelizer is using a similar to "autostart" function while the shell replacement is a completely different approach with a big effect on sound quality. Therefore it's not really advisable to just stick to the built in autostart feature, but to rather disable this and use the shell replacement with all it's advantages.

 

Best,

AudioPihl

 

Fidelizer has reliable startup procedure with highest privilege enough to cover all tasks required for the optimizations. I think it'd be better to use shell replacement on audio player software to have maximum access level on high impact process. Well, users can try and decide for best optimizations.


Happy Emm Labs/Viola/Karan/Rockport audiophile

 

Fidelizer - Feel the real sound http://www.fidelizer-audio.com

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