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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. 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. 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! 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. Enjoy it, AudioPhil
Hello Folks Today six years ago the very first public version of the AudiophileOptimizer went online, so happy happy birthday AO! 🎂 And here we are, six years and thirtheen versions later going for it one more time! 😎 But this is only the thirteenth official version, in fact between AudiophileOptimizer 2.20 and 3.00 more than 450 internal versions have been compiled while working on it for almost 10 months.The beta phase was around 4 months long letting the feedback from almost 100 testers further shape and finetune the final version of the AudiophileOptimizer 3.00. So as you can imagine this has been a lot of work and this post will highlight many details about it. We've put a lot of links to other posting where you can read much more detailed information about those specific topics. AO 3.00 is faster than any previous version. It is actually a LOT faster. On systems with slow drives, lets say CF cards for example, it could be a pain launching up AO, it took very long time to start. This is a story of the past now... All this blazing fast speed is due to the new engine we have been working for months... This does not only make things much faster for the end-user, it also makes coding and testing AO much faster. Compiling all components (AO, ST, AS, Uninstaller & Setup) took around 17 minutes before the new engine. With the new way of things compiling all modules takes roughly 3-4 Minutes. Imagine you have to do this process a 100 times in a short frame of time... The new engine will also help greatly in the future to adapt AO to new operating systems. As you know in the past a new OS versions always ment months of work to have all working again for the new OS and maintaning functionality for the old ones. With the new engine a new OS will be adapted much faster. Another advantage is that what has been achieved for one OS can now be easily and almost all the time be achieved for all the other OS'es as well. Example, AO 2.20 could enable Device Manger, but only on Server 2016 and not for 2012 R2. AO 3.00 uses the new engine and the result is that we now have the device manager enabled through setup.exe on all three supported server OS's, meaning 2012 R2, 2016 and 2019. Microsoft makes each Server Core version tighter and smaller. This is for various reasons, they want to lessen the codebase which means less surface for attacks. It also means less downtime of server since they need less updates to be patched and so on. This process of making the OS even smaller and lighter has a price, and the price is functionality. So with each iteration of Windows Server in Core it got trickier to have your media player and especially the Audio stack working again. Bringing back the WASAPI Architecture to Windows Server 2016 was an adventure that took place over three years, so it wasn't exactly easy to accomplish that. With Windows Server 2019 the method of Server 2016 did no longer work and again a lot of time and effort had to be spent to make WASAPI in Core mode available again. Windows 10 keeps changing every six months, for the good and the bad. Nevertheles the AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 is fully tested on Windows 1903 (Build 18362) which came out barely two weeks ago. So no matter what OS you are running, the upgrade to AO 3.00 is the right choice for sure! So let's have a closer look at the change log. Version 3.00, Major Upgrade ============================================================================ AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 - Massively improved sound quality for all supported operating systems - Many drivers will no longer need F8 and disable driver signature enforcement during boot (Amanero, Pink Faun, FiraDisk & many others...) - Parameter "-filter" lets you directly select Sound Signatures/Digital-Filters - Extremeley improved load times and running much faster (new engine) - Roon Support extended for HQPlayer & Spotify support - Support for JPLAY FEMTO - Enables WDM Drivers in Windows Server 2016/2019 Core Mode - Enables Kernel-Streaming in Windows Server 2016/2019 Core Mode - Enables WASAPI in Windows Server 2016/2019 Core Mode - Enables RoonServer & RoonBridge in Windows Server 2016/2019 Core Mode - AO disables automatic maintenance (Win10/Server 2016/Server 2019) - Update of "Prepare Essentials Edition" feature for Windows Server 2019 - Ability to remove Windows Defender (Windows Server 2016/Windows Server 2019) - Updated MediaPlayer support for Windows Server 2016/2019 Core Mode - Added support for Windows 10 Build 18362 (Windows 1903) - Added support for Windows 10 Build 17763 (Windows 1809) - Added support for Windows Server 2019 RTM (Standard, Datacenter & Essentials) - Added support for Windows Server 2019 Evaluation (Standard, Datacenter & Essentials) - Removed Support for Windows Server 2012 (Standard, Datacenter & Essentials) - Now also removes pagefiles other then C:\ drive - Enables TIDAL Windows Player in Core Mode - Minor changes, fixes and updates ServiceTool 3.00 - Install HD Audio Drivers feature (does your driver need yo to press F8 during each boot to disable driver signature enforcement? no more!) - Custom shell as shell replacement (out of our 35+ variantions of shell replacement you can't find one that fits your needs? no more!) - Added command prompt as shell replacement - Focusrite RedNet Control 2 shell replacement - Added support for Windows 10 Build 18362 (Windows 1903) - Added support for Windows 10 Build 17763 (Windows 1809) - Added support for Windows Server 2019 RTM & Evaluation (Standard, Datacenter & Essentials) - Removed support for Windows Server 2012 (Standard, Datacenter & Essentials) - Added shell replacement for JRiver Media Center 25 (x86 & x64) - Minor changes, fixes and updates AudiophileShell 3.00 - Initial version of AudiophileShell - Launch AudiophileOptimizer - Launch ServiceTool - Launch powershell - Launch command prompt - Launch SCONFIG - Launch device manager - Launch sound control panel (WASAPI only) - Launch file explorer (FoD only) - Launch disk management (FoD only) AudiophileUninstaller 3.00 - Initial version of AudiophileUninstaller - Remove all files, folders, tools, shortcuts, etc. - Reverse all changes and optimizations Setup 3.00 - Big update of the Setup Guide - New OS installation guides (Windows 10, Server 2012 R2, 2016 & 2019) - Fix for shortcuts not always created properly - Registry backup no longer overwritten through update process - Minor fixes for the device manager - High-DPI Mode for high-resolution displays (4K etc.) - Enables Device Manager in Windows Server 2012 R2/2016/2019 Core Mode (en-US only) - Added support for Windows 10 Build 18362 (Windows 1903) - Added support for Windows 10 Build 17763 (Windows 1809) - Added support for Windows Server 2019 RTM & Evaluation (Standard, Datacenter & Essentials) - Removed support for Windows Server 2012 (Standard, Datacenter & Essentials) - Adds link to Control Panel on desktop - Minor changes, fixes and updates Current AO users can get their update by visiting our download page found here -> https://www.highend-audiopc.com/download To uprade to AudiophileOptimizer 3.00, simply run the new version of setup.exe over your current installation. Setup.exe can be run in core, minimal-server and GUI mode. You don’t have to do a reset via ServiceTool before you run setup.exe. Once setup.exe updates your current version of AudiophileOptimizer, it will automatically launch the latest ServiceTool to make a full reset in the end. If you upgrade AO 2.20 (or older) to AO 3.00, setup will launch ServiceTool 3.00 at the end of the installation process to make that full reset. Since your old Activation-Key will no longer work for the new version, ServiceTool will need a new Activation-Key. Do not close ServiceTool, go to the self-service Activation-Portal and generate a new AO 3.00 compatible Activation-Key and activate ServiceTool with the Activation-Key; this will also activate AO and all other components. Please feel free to ask anyhting you'd like to know. We really hope you enjoy the latest iteration of the AudiophileOptimizer and we also hope to be around for another 6 years! Very best, AudioPhil