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© IBIK Ltd

Multi-user Extension
for Microsoft Windows 7/8/10

User Guide for ASTER v2.18

Сontent

1. Installation

2. Licensing

2.1 ASTER installation identifier

2.2 ASTER activation

2.2.1 Trial period

2.2.2 Activation key

2.2.3 Packet activation key

2.2.4 ASTER master license

2.3 Upgrading the keys from the previous versions of ASTER

2.4 Looking through the activation codes, activated on your PC

2.5 License recovery from the backup copy

2.6 ASTER license deactivation

2.7 Deletion of ASTER license information

2.8 Information sent to the license server

3. ASTER licensing and upgrading terms

4. ASTER configuration

4.1 Preparation for ASTER configuration

4.2 Viewing the devices

4.3 Allocation of devices

4.3.1 Allocation of monitors

4.3.2 Allocation of keyboard and mouse

4.3.3 Allocation of audio devices

4.4 Display of devices

4.5 Hardware and software cursor

4.6 Setting automatic login

4.7 IP address assignment

4.8 Connection setup via the proxy server

4.9 Troubleshooting

4.10 Check for a new version

5. Technical support

5.1 ЗASTER support request

5.2 Type of request to Support Team

5.3 Description of request and e-mail address

5.4 Standard ASTER Report types

5.5 Adding files and the Windows clipboard content to Report

5.6 Reporting

6. Additional information

1. Installation

Install ASTER software - run the installation package Setup_ASTER218.exe.

During the installation, it is recommended to create a system recovery point – In case of any troubles it will be possible to return your system to the original state:

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Then you should read the software description and accept the ASTER end user license agreement:

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At the next step, besides the installation folder you might automatically set the parameters of power supply and operating system loading which are recommended for ASTER operation.

Setting «Optimize the power supply parameters»

Setting «Disable Fast Boot». Fast Boot mode speeds up OS loading, but it can cause problems for extra workplaces of ASTER. The checkbox is inactive if Fast Boot is already disabled or if the program is installed in Windows 7.

You can also adjust these parameters after the installation of ASTER.

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Once ASTER is installed the menu Start/OS programs will be added with the file ASTER comprising 3 shortcuts:

These shortcuts may not be seen in the Start menu in the list of recently used programs, but they can always be found in the section All Programs.

Further setting ASTER will be possible only after system restarting.

2. Licensing

2.1 ASTER installation identifier.

ASTER automatically generates a backup copy of information about active licenses stored on the software licensing server. This copy allows for recovering all your activated keys by several clicks. It can be useful in the event of crash, disk formatting, or if you cannot remember serial numbers and have to restore all purchased licenses.

Note: Successful license recovery from a backup is only possible in the case, if the drive with Windows files and the CPU of your PC remain the same. The ASTER License is bound to HDD and CPU, and if you change them a license recovery from the backup copy will be unachievable.

Every time the activation is performed a backup copy is created and sent to the server. To identify your computer, each operating ASTER copy gets a unique identifier. In the first run of ASTER the following information message is displayed:

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After pressing OK the unique identifier is created and displayed in the following window:

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You must save it in a safe place, for example, your notepad or any cloud storage. It will allow for recovering (see 2.5) ASTER license information if you have to reinstall Windows. Better not save this ID in the same computer otherwise it may disappear in the event of a system crash.

Hereafter this ID will be displayed in the bottom left corner of the software main window «ASTER control»

2.2 ASTER activation

2.2.1 Trial period

After the first installation of ASTER on your PC (or full re-installation of the Windows operating system), and after obtaining the installation ID number you will see a box with three options:

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To activate ASTER (including the trial period) you need the Internet connection. If your PC has the connection via the proxy server you should press the top button in order to adjust ASTER connection via proxy (see 4.8). Press the middle button in order to activate the purchased license or the bottom button to activate the trial period of using ASTER (30 days).

Note: the trial period is bound to the hardware of your PC meaning that ASTER reinstallation (including renewed versions) does not lead to the trial period reset, i.e., you are not getting an extra free month after the reinstallation of the program.

By default, ASTER has a 30-days trial period. During this period, you can test all functions of the program and make the final decision of buying it. You will be able to use ASTER with no functional limits until the trial period expires. After the trial period has expired, any attempts of starting the program will result in running the compulsory procedure of license activation - to continue you have to purchase and activate the license, or deinstall the software.

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During the trial period after launching the program, a window will pop up with the request to enter the activation key and with the information about the duration of its free use. You can also go to the activation procedure from the «About» page at any time. To activate the product click the «Register» button, enter the activation key and click the «Activate» button. After the successful activation, you will need to restart the program «ASTER Control», as you will be offered to do.

2.2.2 Activation key

The purchase and activation of the permanent license (time-unlimited) gives you the right to an additional 30-day trial period. This period will allow you to test ASTER with more workplaces, and possibly make a decision of buying extra licenses. Several licenses activated on a single PC are added up. However, you should remember that currently the number of ASTER workplaces is limited to 12.

The calculation of the used days of the additional trial period starts only after the test workplaces activation. It allows you to make a decision about the expediency of buying the extra licenses later, when you make sure that your computer operating system allows for working comfortably with the existing workplaces, and you want to check the possibility of increasing the number of workplaces. You can activate extra trial workplaces using the activation dialog mentioned above (you will see the button «Activate Trial Workplaces»), or from the context menu in the «Workplaces» tab.

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2.2.3 Packet activation key

Contrary to the ordinary activation key (serial number) which is generally intended for ASTER activation on a single computer, a packet activation key (packet serial number) may be activated on several computers. The packet serial number is useful in multiple ASTER installations, for example, in companies, or when distributing PCs with preinstalled software including ASTER: you only have to remember and use just one packet serial number, and not many other different numbers in which respect you have also to bear in mind a number binding to a specific PC.

Essentially, the packet serial number is a link (identifier) to several homogenous ordinary numbers. When purchasing a packet serial number you have to indicate the license type (Home or Pro), for the Pro license you have to indicate a number of ASTER workplaces to activate on all computers, and a number of computers where the packet serial number is proposed to be used. Once again, it should be pointed that the licenses in the package will be absolutely identical, i.e. the same type (Home/Pro) and the same number of workplaces on each computer. In creation of a packet serial number the indicated number (= computers in the order) of ordinary serial numbers is created, and for this packet of ordinary serial numbers a single unique packet serial number is made which you will receive (with the list of ordinary serial numbers in this packet).

Manual activating of the packet serial number is absolutely similar to the activation of the ordinary serial number, i.e. a number is filled in the corresponding field of activation dialog. The packet serial number is sent to the ASTER licensing server which selects from the appropriate packet a free (that is not activated yet) ordinary serial number, activates and anchors to the computer which sent the activation request. If the activation request is repeated from the same computer, the server finds the relevant entry and sends the registration information which is already stored in the database. Therefore, in the case of accidental (or intentional) reactivations a new ordinary serial number will not be spent.

2.2.4 ASTER master license

One of the sought-after methods of ASTER installation is the multiple distribution of ASTER as part of the hardware/software implementation, for example, for the school IT room is based on cloning of a disk with preinstalled ASTER master license as follows:

If during the initial startup of ASTER on the computer clone the software finds out the master license on the disk then it practically automatically will activate the packet serial number in the master license. If the master license was made with no password protection there will be displayed only the suggestion to activate ASTER, otherwise you have to enter password. After pressing the «Activate» button the operator has to make just one mouse click to confirm elevation of privilege of program execution to the computer administrator level. Afterwards activation will be performed automatically.

This significantly simplifies the process of ASTER activation on many computers according to the adopted procedure for delivery.

To create the master license, first of all you have to purchase an ASTER packet serial number for the required number of computers where this license type must be installed.

After ASTER installation on the master computer, and functional check of the delivered software package (including ASTER) on this computer you have to run ASTER with option-make-master. For this purpose the following command is run (with previously closed «ASTER Control» if it is running):

asterctl --make-master

In the appeared window, enter the packet serial number in the field «License Package», and if you wish for security to protect against using the packet serial number by unauthorized persons enter password in the field «Password» which will be requested during ASTER activation on clone computers. After entering these data press the «Create ASTER Master Record» button. As creation of the master license presumes deletion of existing ASTER licenses, you have to confirm this operation.

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Naturally, for creation of the master license you will be asked for administrative privileges. Afterwards you may undertake the master disk cloning for the required number of clone disks. Now ASTER running on the master computer is no longer possible until you delete the master license:

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To delete the master license from the master computer (as well as from the clone computer, if appropriate), you have to perform the command given in the screenshot above i.e.

asterctl –-clean-license

On completion, the ASTER master license will be cleaned from the computer, and PC can be used for creation of a next packet of clone computers for another contract/purchase order for your software-hardware package.

2.3 Upgrading the keys from the previous versions of ASTER

ASTER has a special interface for sending requests for upgrading the keys from the previous versions of ASTER (XP and V7) with the keys of version 2.xx. In the activation dialog there is the «Upgrade Key» button. When you press it you will see the dialogue box for sending the request for upgrading the key:

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To make the list of keys to be upgraded you have to enter the key in the upper box. The zoom button allows one to find the entered key in the old keys database. If the key has been found, a window with its parameters will appear. In order to add the key into the list for upgrading press + button. Adding the key into the upgrading list requires confirmation, if, due to some reasons, the information about it has not been found in the database. You can delete the key from the updating list by pressing - button to the left from the key.

Upgrading the keys is not free of charge, your consent to pay 50% of new equivalent key price is required: you have to set flag «I confirm that I am ready to pay 50% of a new key's price».

To generate the new key you must enter your first and last name and real e-mail address in the corresponding boxes and press the «Submit» button. When your request has been processed the email address you have submitted will receive the mail with the coupons for a 50% discount for purchases in the online shop.

2.4 Looking through the activation codes, activated on your PC

Sometimes you have to find out what ASTER keys have been activated on your PC. To do this, press the button «My activation codes» in the bottom-right corner of the tab «About the program».

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This list includes both valid (active) and invalid licenses, including deactivated keys. In the «State» column you will see the status of the license:

The column «Working stations» shows how many working stations the license provides.

The column «Extension» states whether the license is extensive or (Pro-1) main (Pro-2, Pro-6, Home).

The license expiration date is provided in the last column.

You can save the data from this box as a text file by pressing the «Save» button.

2.5 License recovery from the backup copy

You can look at information on software, system, workplace licenses and license owner on the tab «About»:

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ASTER licenses are recovered from the backup copy in «ASTER Activation Dialog» (to get it press «Registration»).

Note: Successful license recovery from a backup is only possible in the case, if the drive with Windows files and the CPU of your PC remain the same. The ASTER License is bound to HDD and CPU, and if you change them no recovery of licenses from backup will be possible.

Click the tab «Restore/Deactivate» of this dialog (in so doing there may be a several second delay as in this case the software connects to the license server to receive a list of backup copies).

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Check to be sure that the box «Installation ID» shows just your ID, if not, enter the right one. Such situation may result from the loss of information about this ID due to the system crash, disk reformatting and so on. In such event the software «ASTER Control» will create a new ID (see 2.1), and this new one by no means will coincide with the former ID.

After entering the ID a list of available backup copies for this identifier will be updated. In the dropdown list «Backups» select a required copy (items of the list are sorted as descending values by dates of copies generation, so the most actual copy will be the first in the list).

Press button «Restore License». The software will download the indicated backup copy and restore all license information saved therein. Afterwards you have to rerun the software (and if ASTER has been run, hit the reset button), and alterations will come into effect.

2.6 ASTER license deactivation

You may deactivate all (except HOME – see 3), or a part of ASTER licenses. You may need it, for example, if you have to transfer licenses to another computer, or to correct your errors in the product activation (for example, you activated the license not on the computer for which it was intended).

Note 1. It is essential to get right the term «License transfer to another computer». From the standpoint of ASTER license system a computer is identified by the hard disk with installed Windows and a CPU type on the computer. Therefore «License transfer to another computer» includes not only transfer to a really other computer (system unit), but also replacement of system disk and/or CPU as well as reinstallation of Windows on another disk on the same computer.

Note 2. It is only possible to deactivate the licenses activated on this computer and valid at the time of sending the request for deactivation. If deactivation of an inactive license is necessary (for example, due to unexpected crash and disk replacement) you have to contact ASTER Service Desk at support@ibik.ru. and provide the ASTER technical report and the activation code of the license to be deactivated.

Deactivation is performed in the window «ASTER Activation Dialog», on a tab «Restore/Deactivate», and includes several steps. As a result of deactivation process, the licenses you have chosen become invalid and instead of them you will get the new equivalent licenses.

The first step is generating requests for license deactivation. Press the button «Prepare Deactivation». The window appears with a list of valid licenses activated on this computer as follows:

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Select licenses you want to deactivate and enter a message describing the deactivation reason, and, though it is essentially not encouraged, you may indicate in the letter your specific wishes concerning deactivated licenses (for example, to link new licenses to the other name/or Email address). Change if appropriate the name and the address in boxes «Your Name» and «Your E-mail». They will be used in generation of new serial numbers which you will get instead of deactivated ones. You will receive the message with the unique number of your request on successful request which is advisable to save for security (for example, for reference if any problems arise).

At present, due to some limitations of the license server, the processing of deactivation requests cannot be fully automated, and can take some time. During this period, the licenses you have chosen for deactivation remain valid, and you can use ASTER. At each startup the program ASTER will check whether the requested data is ready, and when your request has been processed you will get notification in form of the popup box with the following message or in form of notification on the taskbar (if the program is minimized to a system tray):

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Having received this notification you need to complete the deactivation process by pressing «Deactivate Licenses» in the box «ASTER activation dialog», where you may also cancel deactivation (the corresponding buttons will become active). The software will get in touch with the license server, read out information required for deactivation and request to confirm deactivation:

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If yes, deactivation of selected licenses will be carried out. The new keys which will be displayed after deactivation (information on a number of places for that key is given within brackets):

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Copy them and use at your discretion.

If for some reason you could not have saved the new provided keys (for instance, inadvertently closed the last dialog), don’t worry. Just repeat the last step of activation (starting from pressing «Deactivate Licenses»), and you will get a list of new keys again.

2.7 Deletion of ASTER license information

There may be cases when you have to delete all ASTER license information from the hard drive of your PC such as:

In the previous versions this cleaning could be done by a command from the Windows shell Windows (command «asterctl --clean-license»), which is not always convenient.

In the version 2.17 in the dialog box «ASTER dialog activation» in the tab «Restore/deactivate» the button «Clean ASTER license information» (to the right from the set of deactivation buttons).

The action of cleaning license information requires the user’s confirmation, and if the answer is positive, the user will be offered to save activation (see 2.4).

As before, you can use the old way of cleaning licenses – via the MS-DOS prompt.

The «clean license» button can also be found in the context menu of the desktop tower image in the «Working stations» tab:

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2.8 Information sent to the license server

Supporting of license deactivation and backup copies involves sending some information to the license server.

This includes the following data:

Data transfer and storage in the license server database is performed in encrypted form. You may see it for yourself that the list above does not contain any data except those you provided at the time of purchase, received from the license server after purchase and after license activation, and those which are baseline for backup and deactivation.

3. ASTER licensing and upgrading terms

There are different types of licenses for ASTER software:

·         Main – Pro licenses for2 or 6 workplaces. These licenses are indefinitely valid and in the course of a year are free for upgrading ASTER up to the latest version, if necessary, adding workplaces, or transferring the license (see the note) to another PC. Main licenses for 2 or 6 workplaces can be activated or transferred as one piece only – the partial activation on several computers is not supported.

·         Additional - Pro-1 license for one workplace more, that is it allows for connecting additional workplaces subject to the existence of an already activated main license Pro-2, or Pro-6. The Pro-1 license cannot be activated on its own, without an a priori installed main license. This license the same as Main is indefinitely valid and can be transferred to another PC.

·         Home – Home license allows for creating just 2workplaces per year. Home License is a one-year subscription, i.e. after 1-year use you have to purchase a new license. Please be aware that the Home license supports just2 workplaces and cannot be extended to a greater number of workplaces, and also cannot be deactivated and transferred to the other computer – this is an inexpensive option for personal use.

Activation of any license allows for receiving free of charge software upgrade within 1 year after activation. To receive upgrading upon the expiry of 1 year, the owners of Pro license will have to purchase a special license to renew the upgrade period. The periods of upgrading and HOME license validity are the same so you do not have to renew the upgrade period for this kind of licenses.

Replacement of keys of previous ASTER versions with new ones is possible less discount of 50% - just send the active activation key at upgrade@ibik.ru and we will send you a 50% discount coupon for procurement in E-shop.

Note. You have to get right the sentence «Transfer of a license to another computer». From the standpoint of ASTER licensing system, a computer is identified by a hard disc with installed Windows and a type of processor installed on the computer. So «Transfer of a license to another computer» means not only transfer to the really other computer (base unit) but also replacement of system disc and/or processor as well as reinstallation of Windows to another disc on the same computer (see FAQ item 12). All types of ASTER licenses can be simultaneously activated on one computer only. If CPU and hard disc of PC (where OS is installed) remain the same–a license will be valid with any other changes of hard/software. After disc formatting, reinstallation of Windows, etc., just repeat activation using the same key.

Attention! A maximum number of ASTER workplaces on one base unit - 12. In order to connect additional workplaces activate any Pro license x1/x2/x6, (the number of workplaces from several licenses is summed up to the full extent), but please be aware that the limit is 12 units. Prior to payment, you have to switch additional workplaces on in the test mode and check their operability with a specific configuration of hardware and software.

4. ASTER configuration

4.1 Preparation for ASTER configuration

In order to start the extra workplaces successfully, at first you need to configure the ASTER software, assign to each workplace a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse and a sound card, if necessary.

Before you start the ASTER configuration, please, remember the following important information:

After launching the program, a window will pop up, in which you configure the ASTER software. Control elements (signs, buttons, lists, etc.) are accompanied with prompts such as «What is this». If you are not sure of the purpose of a particular element, you can always call this prompt as follows:

4.2 Viewing the devices

In the tab «Workplaces» matching workplaces and devices are shown graphically. Every workplace looks like a small window filled with devices. There is a «System» window in the top left area which includes a short list of all available devices on your computer which can be allocated between workplaces. The upper part of the «System» window displays a system unit with context menu containing items of different general-system settings. The window also has three buttons: «Spares», «Shares» and «Inventory». When you press these buttons, the panels for viewing the devices are opened or closed:

You may change the picture scale using the hotkeys: the simultaneous pressing of the keys Ctrl and «+» zooms in the picture, Ctrl and «-» zooms out. At the same time the scaling area depends on the current cursor position: if it is in the «System» window, the pictures in the panels «Spares», «Shares», «Inventory» are being scaled; otherwise it is the windows of the workplaces.

The «Inventory» button (and the corresponding panel) is hidden by default. In order to see it you need to choose «Workplaces Tab Settings» out of the tab context menu and check the option «Inventory» in the appearing dialog box.

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In the group «Workplaces» you can choose which workplace windows to show and which to hide (if devices are assigned to a workplace the windows cannot be hidden). Also, pay attention to a checkbox near the option «Displays without monitors» and to the semitransparent (turned off) pictures of displays. In fact, the pictures of displays are the video surfaces of your video cards, which can be potentially connected to the real video outputs and to the monitors correspondingly. The semitranslucency of the display picture means that this certain video surface is not connected to a monitor at the current moment. By default, the checkbox is not marked and semitransparent displays are not shown. A display can be semitransparent even when the monitor is connected to a video output physically and powered on, but not included into the Windows desktop.

Therefore, when you configure ASTER for the first time, it is strongly recommended that you connect all the monitors to the video cards, extend the desktop onto all the monitors and setup desired resolutions for them to ensure the monitors are properly configured and functioning well. So, you can minimize the amount of semitransparent (turned off) displays and you will get a better choice of displays to allocate them between the workplaces by easy visual means.

You can expand the desktop and set the resolutions of the monitors using the item «Display» of the Windows control panel (Control Panel->Display-> Change Display Settings). To open this item directly from ASTER, choose the option «Desktop Settings» from the popping up context menu. Also, other system settings are available therein.

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Some devices are shown in a special way: in the niche behind the grid. They are the so called «On Unlicensed workplace» – the devices, assigned to the workplaces, which are not available at the moment because the workplace number exceeds the amount of your licenses. Such a situation can occur, for example, after expiration of the trial period when all 12 workplaces were accessible. If you point the cursor to such a device, you will see in the popping up prompt to which workplace this device is assigned (the assignment of a device is in the parentheses after its name). You can keep the device in this state of «inaccessibility» to save its association with the workplace for the future, or you can assign it to your available workplace.

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4.3 Allocation of devices

4.3.1 Allocation of monitors

The monitors should be assigned prior to additional workplaces launch. The remaining equipment can be assigned later.

When you assign the monitors to the workplaces several options are possible:

·         When you have several graphics cards with the possibility of using two or more monitors connected to individual cards, you can use all the connected monitors separately or in groups to run the additional workplaces, in case separate graphics cards are assigned to the workplaces with several monitors (in other words, a workplace with several monitors cannot share any of its graphics cards with another workplace). Exceptions: see FAQ item 14

If you run ASTER Control for the first time, all monitors will be assigned to the first workplace, as a rule. The easiest way of assigning a monitor (or any other device) to a workplace is by dropping (Drag & Drop) mouse into the workplace you need. Don’t forget that the «System» window includes the fly-out panels where you can see the required devices.

Not every match between the device and the workplace will be available because there are conflict configurations that won’t work. In the simplest cases the unavailability of the drag and drop destination will be shown by changing the cursor (a restriction sign will appear – a strikethrough circle). In case of monitors assignment it is very easy to get a conflict and not always evident how to avoid or solve it. That is why the automatic resolving of conflict situations for monitors is used: when the monitor is dropped at the workplace window, the configuration availability is checked. If conflicts are discovered, the situation, according to certain rules, is transformed into a conflict-free one. At the same time the monitors which are deleted from the workplace windows with the purpose of resolving the conflict are placed into the «Spares» panel (and this panel will open if it has been closed).

Besides the Drag& Drop method, the assignment of a device to a workplace might be done through the device context menu, specifically the option «Workplace assignment». A dialog box will pop up, its appearance depending on whether a device allows the shared use by several workplaces or not:

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In the first case you can tick the boxes near several numbers, disconnect the device from all the workplaces (send it to the «Spares»), or assign it to all workplaces (put it into the «Shares» and select «To nothing») or assign to «To all». In the second case you can assign just one workplace or send it to the «Spares».

After you have assigned the monitors to the workplaces, you can start ASTER and run extra workplaces. To run ASTER, press the button «Enable ASTER and reboot PC» at the «General Settings». The program will request the confirmation of rebooting, and if you answer yes, your PC will be restarted immediately:

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After restarting the computer with the enabled ASTER and setting monitors configurations, you can run extra workplaces by pressing «Run ASTER workplaces». At the same time, you will see a Windows Welcome Screen on the additional monitors. Before you assign the keyboards and the mice to the workplaces, you can make sure all workplaces are functioning well by switching keyboards and mice using hotkey CTRL+F12. If the button «Run ASTER» is unavailable (inactive), it most probably means that the video devices arrangement is not suitable for running extra workplaces (or the monitors haven’t been assigned to the workplaces). In this case try making a different monitor arrangement. Apply it and reboot the computer.

4.3.2 Allocation of keyboard and mouse

After you have successfully run the extra workplaces, or at the stage of initial ASTER configuration you can arrange your keyboards and mice to the workplaces.

You can do it using the Drag & Drop technique or the option «Workplaces assignment» of the device context menu as it has been described above. If (with ASTER running) the arrangement of keyboards and mice was wrong and after applying the settings you have lost control over the computer you can override the arrangement with the CTRL+F12 key. You may have to press CTRL+F12 several times until it moves all the input devices to the setup workplace. Then you can correct the wrong assignment of devices.

As a rule, this hotkey is rarely used since no need to use it arises. However, certain software (for example, Adobe products) may use this key combination. As the ASTER driver catches it faster than the software, it may entail inconvenience. The computer context menu on the tab «Workplaces» has a menu item «Keyboard/Mice switch hotkey» which allows either for reassigning this key combination or disabling it at all.

After selection of this item a dialog will appear:

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To change a hotkey left-click on the input box in the bottom part of dialog and press the keyboard key which you would like to use together with the pressed Ctrl as an ASTER input device switch hotkey. Some common combinations (such as Ctrl-F4, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-S, Ctrl-V etc.) are forbidden to use for this purpose. Press «Reset» button to disable this hotkey at all.

A new assignment will be considered for only after rebooting.

4.3.3 Allocation of audio devices

You can also assign your audio devices (sound cards) to individual workplaces or make them shared by all workplaces.

Assignment of sound devices is also performed on the tab «Workplaces». Every single sound card may be represented as a set of separate audio devices of different types. You can setup the audio devices belonging to one audio card to the workplaces individually. Unlike other devices, assigned strictly to one workplace, an audio device can be shared by several workplaces and kept at the «Shares» tab. The new assignments of audio devices take effect right after pressing the «Apply» button. However, to register the changes you might need to restart the audio applications which were working at the moment of applying new arrangements.

4.4Display of devices

One of the questions appearing in assigning the monitors (and other devices) to the workplaces is how to match the real computer equipment and the pictures showing the equipment in ASTER? Some methods facilitating this task are realized in the program:

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4.5 Hardware and software cursor

The context menu for the monitors can also include the «Hardware Cursor» switch.

It appears only for shared video cards (video cards used by several workplaces). The switch allows to choose whether the hardware or the software cursor must be used for this monitor. If the hardware cursor is used, then the icon showing a cursor is highlighted gray, if the icon is shown without highlighting, then the software cursor is used. To change the parameter to the opposite click this menu item:

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Software cursors are totally independent from each other, but they can communicate in the wrong way with the intensive graphics in the applications (can leave trails when moving or totally disappear from the display).

Hardware cursors do not communicate with the graphics in the applications (don’t leave trails and don’t disappear), but they can’t have different shape on the monitors of one graphics card. Hardware cursors suit better for games and full-screen graphic applications where the clear cursor visualization is more important than its shape. For other applications we recommend using software cursors. Different monitors of one graphic card can use different types of cursors (for example, a gaming place monitor can use a hardware cursor, and other monitors – software cursors).

4.6 Setting automatic login

The workplaces can be configured (the «General Settings» tab) in such a way so that there is an automatic login into the system with certain user account data at the start.

For every workplace you can set a login and a password, which will be used for the automatic login to the system. To do this press the button in the column «Account» in the row of the chosen workplace.

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You may use not only your local account for automatic login, but the domain account if your computer is connected to the domain. You have to choose a corresponding option at the switch «Account type». For the local account choose an account at the drop down list «Local account» and if it’s necessary you may also set a password and confirm it. Selection of the option «Show login dialog» cancels the automatic login from this workplace. The button «User accounts» will open the system window «User accounts», where you can see, edit and add accounts if you have enough rights for it:

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For configuration of an automatic login in the domain you have to select «Domain account», enter a domain name, a domain account and, if it exists, a password and its confirmation.

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Press the button «OK» to apply or «Cancel» to reject any changes. Don’t forget to press the button «Apply» in the ASTER main window.

In the «General Settings» tab you may also specify selectively which workplaces will be enabled and which will not. To do it you have to choose in the column «State» of the according workplace row the option «Enabled» or «Disabled» (the first workplace is always on, you can’t disable it).

4.7 IP address assignment

For the correct work of some network applications at the workplaces (including network games) you might need to assign different IP addresses to the workplaces. To assign the IP addresses to the workplaces you can go to the «Extended Settings» tab and click the mouse on the row of the selected workplace.

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Choose a suitable IP address from the list of available IP addresses in your computer. The list of available IP addresses includes all static (permanent) IP addresses that belong to existing network adapters. If the number of available IP addresses is insufficient, you can add static IP addresses to the existing network adapters, or install a virtual network adapter (as a rule it is required in the absence of a real adapter) and then add static IP addresses to it (see How to add IP address to network adapter and How to add virtual network adapter). For the quick access to the Windows Control panel, which is mentioned in these documents, you can use the buttons «Device manager» and «Network connections» in the «Extended Settings» tab.

An IP address bound to a workplace can be applied to all network programs or only to the selected ones. For selective applying you can choose certain programs or folders containing programs. In case of the folder the IP address will be applied to any program run from that folder. At the bottom of the IP address configuration panel there is a table with the list of programs and folders. There are three mutually exclusive switches above this table. If you choose the top switch, the list is ignored and the IP address is applied to all network programs starting from this workplace. The medium switch sets the IP address applying only to the programs and folders from the list. The last switch sets the IP address applying to all the programs and folders in the computer, except those in the list. To the left of each element in the table there is a switch which allows excluding the element from the list temporarily without deleting it. If the switch has no tick, then the corresponding element will not be included in the list of programs and folders, to which the IP addresses assignment is applied. To delete an object from the list totally you should choose this element from the table and press the button «Delete from the list».

To add a program or a folder to the IP-address selective application list, press the «Add to list» button and choose the object from the directory of programs and folders:

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A program from the directory can be added to the list not only as a program itself, but also as a containing folder. To do it, press the «Add program» or the «Add folder» button. You will see when the object is added in the table. The addition of folders is available only from the root node «Computer». To finish the choice press the «Cancel» button. To save the settings press the OK button on the IP address configuration panel, and then the «Apply» button on the ASTER Control panel. The new IP addresses settings become effective for the network programs that were run after saving changes (pressing the «Apply» button).

Note. Using this IP addresses binding function you should understand that it forbids the (selected) network programs to use all available IP addresses except the only one bound to the workplace, and consequently it binds network programs to a certain network adapter owning that IP address. For this reason the network programs will not be able to access the networks coming through other network adapters or by dial-up connections (it is often the reason for troubles with accessing the Internet while using the IP addresses binding function). To make it possible for network programs to access those unavailable networks, you can additionally use some routing utility (the program that routes data between different networks, particularly it can be the standard "Internet Connection Sharing" service provided by the Windows operating system).

4.8 Connection setup via the proxy server

If your PC has the Internet connection via the proxy server, you might face some problems with hen the activation of the key/the trial period, deactivation, etc.

When this occurs you have to adjust the Internet connection via the proxy server. To do it, in «Extended settings» tab press the button «Proxy Settings» and in the appeared window enter the required data or proxy adjustment:

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If you are already connected to the proxy server, the boxes in this dialogue window will be filled with already available system settings. Alternatively (or in the case of special settings) they should be filled in by the user himself.

In the appearing list «Type» you should choose the proxy server type: HTTP or SOCKS5. You should also specify the name (or the IP-address) of the proxy server and the connection port. If the proxy server asks for authentification while connecting, you have to fill in the boxes «User» and «Password». In order to refuse from the connection via proxy you should tick the box «No Proxy», the other boxes in this case are irrelevant and inactive..

When all required boxes are filled in it is advisable to check the connection (the «Test» button). During the check the software will send the echo request to the ASTER licensing server, and in case the server returns the correct answer a message about the successful testing will appear, and if certain problems arise, there will be an error message. To save the settings press «Save». You could save the settings even if the connection test was not carried out or it was completed with an error. However, in this case the confirmation of saving is required.

4.9 Troubleshooting

If you have troubles with displaying desktop or with running your computer after you have enabled the settings of the new monitors, you can reboot the computer in a safe mode, disable ASTER by pressing the button «Disable ASTER and reboot PC» and then (after the normal computer rebooting with disabled ASTER) make a different configuration of the monitors.

To start your computer in a safe mode press button F8 several times at the very start of booting the computer (until you see the Windows logo or the caption «Starting Windows») and choose the option Safe Mode in the menu of starting variants. For more on operating system loading in a safe mode see FAQ item 16

It is strongly recommended you disable ASTER before you run system maintenance tasks, install new graphics cards or update video drivers, graphics cards and other devices.

You may do it by pressing the button «Disable ASTER and reboot PC». The program will ask rebooting confirmation, and if you answer yes, your PC will be restarted immediately.

As an appropriate ASTER version comes with certain delay after OS updating, to avoid ASTER outage it is desirable to forbid the automatic upgrade installation and include creating restore points.

ASTER operation is primarily affected by large-scale updates which change US build number, and occasionally small updates which do not change a build number, so rollback to the restore point or deletion of an incompatible update must restore down ASTER operation.

4.10 Check for a new version

When calling up a program «ASTER Control» with full administrative privileges (Run as Administrator) the tab «About» will display the reference Check For Updates.

By pressing this reference the software connects to the ASTER license server, and if the server has a fresher version than you will get information about this updated version:

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5. Technical support

5.1 ASTER support request

To get technical support, press the button «Support Request» in the bottom right corner of «ASTER Control».clip_image049

In addition, most error messages are supplemented with a similar button:

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Upon pressing the button «Support Request» the following dialog will be displayed:

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If you select this dialog from the error message box then in the basis of the text of error message the description of  problem will be automatically formed (the image above precisely illustrates this case).

5.2 Type of request to Support Team

You may select a request type which is the most suitable for your situation from the Request Type list (upon opening this dialog from the error message box the most suitable type will be chosen automatically). Based on this selection there will be formed the content of the ASTER Technical report, i.e. information that will help to solve the problem, and will be sent to ASTER Support.

Presently, there are the following request types:

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·         «Cannot activate my license or lost of activation» – as a rule, is selected automatically when activation errors emerge. You should choose this item when you meet other problems with activation and licensing, for example, when suddenly ASTER activation disappears. In this instance, the report file will include information on ASTER licensing (item «ASTER License information»).

·         «My PC keeps hanging, restarting or glitching» is chosen if after ASTER installation you meet problems with Windows: deadlock, glitches, blue screen of doom, and other troubles with the operating system which did not exist before ASTER installation. The report will include «Detailed system information».

By default, the ASTER Technical Report content is selected on the basis of the request type you have selected. However you can correct the content by one of three methods:

5.3 Description of request and e-mail address

In the box «Enter the problem description or a question here» you have to describe an evolving problem as detailed as possible, or ask about the matter of your concern. Please do not take any chances with this description if you want to get the solution of problem or answer to your question as soon as possible.

Upon opening the dialog «Support Request» from the alert box the description will be automatically formed from the error text. You may add it with your comments or supplements however the text of error report should remain intact.

The e-mail box is must-write, and subject to the existence of ASTER registration (license) is automatically filled from credentials. This box may reflect incorrect or obsolete information. You must check this box and correct if appropriate as this address will be used by Support to send a reply to your request.

5.4 Standard ASTER Report types

After selection of a request type the content of the ASTER report is formed on a basis of request type by selecting one of the standard report types listed in the lower-left part of dialog «Support Request».

You may where applicable (for example, by request of Support) change this selection by radio buttons. A volume of information included in the report is increased depending on position of the radio button top to bottom, i.e. a report type located lower contains information which is located in superior report types, and adds extra data to the report. For request types «Just a question» and «Cannot activate ASTER or lost of activation» a report type is fixed and cannot be altered.

Report types and data herein:

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The report includes three latest minidumps created 7 days at the earliest. If there is no such dumps the relevant message is displayed. Minidumps can significantly increase the size of report, furthermore some problems may evolve in sending the report by mail, therefore we advise to apply this report type only when you are asked by ASTER Support.

5.5 Adding files and the Windows clipboard content to Report

If you consider that it will assist to solve your problem, or you are required by ASTER Support to do it, you may add the technical report with computer files.

The «Add Files» button opens the standard file opening dialog where you select files to add the report. The selected files will be displayed in the list below. Clicking file name will open it for view/edit (in the application assigned in OS for this file type). To remove a file from the list, click cross icon to the left of file name.

Please do not use excessively the opportunity of adding files to the ASTER report as it increases the report size, beyond that certain files not always pass through mail server filters that may keep the request from delivering to ASTER Support.

Besides files, the ASTER report can be added with clipboard content. Such opportunity is particularly useful for adding screenshots to the report: you need just to select a window to «snapshot» and press the key combination Alt+PrintScreen, to put the screenshot in clipboard, then press «Paste Image» button in the request creation dialog:

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Keytop «Paste…» is changing depending on the clipboard content:

By pressing the button you create temporary files with names «clipboard_N» of the relevant type (PNG, TXT, HTML), these files are added to the list of files attached to the report. You may scroll the content thereof clicking a file name in the list. From time to time, it is necessary to edit a file received from clipboard (for example, in order to highlight certain elements in screenshot or to paint out private information). An application which opens on mouse click a file in the list of files for report may not support file editing. Therefore this file should be opened by an application which allows for performing the required function. The files created from clipboard have Windows- generated unique names in the temporary directory, and these names do not coincide with those displayed in the list. To get a real name and folder with the file, mouse over the required file in the list, the tooltip will contain the pathname.

Please try to make the volume of transmitted images as small as possible, in particular, use the combination Alt+PrintScreen which takes the shot of the selected window only, and avoid using the single key PrintScreen which snapshots the whole home screen.

Remark. The dialog «Support Request» is opened from the error message box in modal regime. In this regime, until the dialog is opened other boxes of «ASTER Control» are inaccessible, so certain difficulties will emerge if you wish to snapshot ASTER Control box. Here two solutions are possible:

5.6 Reporting

After filling the problem description and making decision on the structure of the ASTER technical report, you have to send a request to ASTER Support Request.

To do this, press the «Send» button. It bears repeating that entering your real address in «Your e-mail» is important. Upon pressing the button a zip archive with the technical report will be formed and the request will be sent to ASTER Support team. It may take several minutes. Please wait for completion of this process.

If sending is successful you will get the following message:

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Just to be safe, store a request number indicated in the message. If sending is unsuccessful, you will get the following message:

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Error description may vary depending on causes, however in this case you are suggested to send the request through other means – by e-mail at the address in the error message. Don’t forget to attach the screenshot of error message as well as the technical report and the error description. File path is shown in the last dialog line

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Clicking this line you copy the file path in the Windows clipboard, and then you will be able to add attachment to your message. It is also possible to safe the report file to any convenient place with the use of the appropriate button.

6. Additional information

Readme:

  • ASTER license is confined to CPU and HDD of your computer. Deactivate Pro license prior to replacement of CPU or HDD. Home license cannot be deactivated and transferred!
  • Pro license is perpetual but in case of Windows upgrade you might need ASTER upgrade as well. ASTER upgrade is free of charge only within a year after activation! (see items 3 and 4.9)
  • The license can be activated just on one computer – to transfer Pro license on another computer, it should be deactivated on the first one. Home license cannot be deactivated and transferred!
  • To increase a number of workplaces you further have to activate on your computer Pro-1, Pro-2 or Pro-6 license (see item 3). Home licenses are not extended!
  • Before installing new software, updating hardware drivers – disable ASTER!
  • Some system utilities (for example, Nvidia Experience, Vulcan etc.) are potentially incompatible with ASTER (depending on software and hardware configuration). A list of potentially incompatible software is at (see FAQ item 16)
  • To go to the new version 2.x, you need to send the serial number from the old ASTER version to: upgrade@ibik.ru
  • Tech support for ASTER is available in Russian by e-mail: support@ibik.ru.

    When contacting ASTER Support it is advised to send aside from the error description a file with the technical report and screenshots to make clear the error message.

    In case of problems with activation it is necessary to specify date and e-mail which was used for purchase.

    User guides and FAQs are here: www.ibik.ru/system-requirements, articles: www.ibik.ru/ru/article

    Visit the forum: forum-en.ibik.ru/ for the answers to many different questions.

    Visit the site, write to us – we always try to help our clients!