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Windows 11 PE Audiophile Creation Guide


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#141 internethandle

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 11:39 PM

Interesting stuff! I’ve been looking at what you can delete at least after booting, but have yet to take a look at what system files/folders are removable before boot. I’ll make a post about it at some point, but the short answer is that you can delete most files and folders post-boot with little to no consequence outside of files in the root system32 folder and some others.

samotc I will admit I never quite understood why you are adding the boot.WIM as an entry to your system boot loader vs. using USB boot into Ramdisk. Can you explain the advantages to me more clearly? It seems to allow for less RAM usage overall because the boot.WIM is loaded from a separate disk, correct? My only reservation about going that route is that I desire the ability to unplug all my SATA or other drives and disable them in BIOS, but perhaps there’s a way to get this going with a big enough USB stick with a dual boot Windows 11/Win11PE or similar…

#142 samotc

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 01:10 AM

Hi, Internethandle, 

 

1. For me it is more comfortable to boot from BCD than from BIOS+Fx
2. My PC is old (MBR not UEFI) and my MOBO doesn't allow booting from USB 3x, and USB 2x is VERY SLOW.
3. Once the PE is loaded in RAMDISK I can stop SATA and its dependencies.
 
;)


#143 seeteeyou

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 01:45 AM

https://audiophilest...comment-1166367

I've tested both Intel optane ssd, M10 32gb and H10 32+1tb and Samsung 970 evo plus 512gb with the same euphony installation (cloned). 
 
The result is that the M10 sounds the best of all.  Much better than Samsung and better than H10.  The same result with both Ram Root and without.  Therefore the quality of the SSD is also perceptible with the ram system.  I easily chose intel optane M10 32gb and use an external USB 3.2 type-c Lacie D2 8TB linear drive for storage.

 
So the latency of Optane still made a significant difference even if someone were booting the entire OS into RAM, same deal with "ancient" CF cards versus the latest CFexpress cards (i.e. upgrading from IDE to PCIe)
 
https://www.stsd99.c...?p=20246#p20246

 

piCorePlayer turned out to be under 100MB while even Raspberry Pi 4B could still show us the differences between CF cards and CFexpress cards

 

https://repo.picorep...8.1.0-64Bit.zip

https://docs.picorep...ponents/picore/

It is running entirely in RAM. There is no installation in conventional terms; extensions mounted read only, after reboot the same clean system is available. Base raw SD card image with CLI version is only 21.5 Mbyte including RPi boot loader, firmware and support files.

 

16GB Optane drives cost next to nothing these days, and then we just need a bootable enclosure such as Orico M2PJM-C3 etc.

 

https://audiophilest...comment-1086470

 

 

 

And then we could also find out if connecting that drive to USB Card FEMTO were having an impact or otherwise

 

http://jplay.eu/foru...-to-jcat-femto/



#144 samotc

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 06:58 AM

I have been trying to automate process shutdown using pskill64.exe and pssuspend64.exe contained in "pstools.zip" (taskkill doesn't work well in WinPE), but I find a major drawback when a process has more than 1 instance. In that case you have to do it by PID, instead of by name, the big problem is that at each system startup the PID changes, which makes it impossible to make a batch file that runs at startup.
 
There are 2 processes that you always have to kill manually:
1. fontdrvhost.exe (UMFD-0 instance)
2. WinXShell.exe (smallest instance in kb)
 
As for the services to be killed after startup, it can be automated by creating a batch file based on the psservice64.exe command, also contained in pstools. I will test and report back.
 
Changing the subject, I have changed the pdf of the guide, since I have added some modifications that clarify some point where people had doubts.
The new file is named "Windows 11 PE Audio Creation Guide SE.pdf"

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#145 sj46

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 04:03 PM

And then we could also find out if connecting that drive to USB Card FEMTO were having an impact or otherwise

http://jplay.eu/foru...-to-jcat-femto/

This is the only way I boot the OS, it made a significant different in quality. Currently running core 2019 from a VHD.

Audio PC - Asus P10S WS | Xeon E-1235L v5 | 16GB Hynix Unbuffered (4x4GB) | 256GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD - Music storage (Powered by Jcat Nano) | Jcat Femto XE USB (Powered by MP Audio ALS-HPULN PSU)

Software - Jplay Femto | AO 3.0 | Fidelizer Pro 8.9 | Minority Clean | DS 2019 Core.

Speakers - Kii Three/Kii Control

Cable - Audioquest Coffee USB

 

 

 


#146 internethandle

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 06:15 PM

Very interesting - I’ll have to try doing so with my JCAT Femto. It would have the added benefit of not having to keep one of my motherboard USB 3.1 ports enabled to boot into RAMDisk. I have the newest Femto firmware with only one port enabled, but I could just swap out the USB drive for the USB cable to my SOtM tX-USBultra after boot.

I did find that plugging the USB drive into an Audioquest Jitterbug I was no longer using helped with SQ, so the above makes sense to me.

samotc, glad you’re investigating PSTools. I meant to do so after discovering them via the PsSuspend method for winlogon - it seems like they have a lot of versatility. I’ve been meaning to try another one of SysInternals’ (company that makes PSTools) utilities, autoruns, on Win11PE, since it allows for a lot of disabling of otherwise “hidden” registry settings.

Edit: it does look like I will have to do some more reading up on using Grub4DOS or similar to get this working, after checking out the linked thread. I had forgotten that my UEFI BIOS will not normally “see” the Femto card to then boot from.

I’m currently going to evaluate whether these ElFidelity RAM filters are helping or hurting SQ. I bought them when I was still using Win10PE and thought they helped, but with Win11PE I have not tested:

https://www.ebay.com...kevt=1&mkcid=28

#147 sj46

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 06:33 PM

I have also tried booting the OS via the Jcat USB Femto with Ramdisk, but still prefer the OS without.

Audio PC - Asus P10S WS | Xeon E-1235L v5 | 16GB Hynix Unbuffered (4x4GB) | 256GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD - Music storage (Powered by Jcat Nano) | Jcat Femto XE USB (Powered by MP Audio ALS-HPULN PSU)

Software - Jplay Femto | AO 3.0 | Fidelizer Pro 8.9 | Minority Clean | DS 2019 Core.

Speakers - Kii Three/Kii Control

Cable - Audioquest Coffee USB

 

 

 


#148 internethandle

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 07:13 PM

So you prefer the OS booted via VHD on a USB connected Optane drive plugged into the Femto card, or is it outright installed on the drive?
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#149 sj46

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 08:03 PM

Yes, OS is on a VHD which is on a Samsung SSD, enclosed in a USB SATA external enclosure. This connects to the JCAT Femto. I can boot via SSD or Ramdisk. I used FelipeRolim's guide to create this. http://jplay.eu/foru...guration-guide/

Audio PC - Asus P10S WS | Xeon E-1235L v5 | 16GB Hynix Unbuffered (4x4GB) | 256GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD - Music storage (Powered by Jcat Nano) | Jcat Femto XE USB (Powered by MP Audio ALS-HPULN PSU)

Software - Jplay Femto | AO 3.0 | Fidelizer Pro 8.9 | Minority Clean | DS 2019 Core.

Speakers - Kii Three/Kii Control

Cable - Audioquest Coffee USB

 

 

 


#150 samotc

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 09:10 PM

I don't see what advantage there is to boot from vhd, that would correspond to Win11XPE flatboot and RAMDISK to Win11XPE .wim.
Also, to make a Server Core and load it into RAM, it's back 2 steps both in size and sound, well, in sound it's at least 4 steps back.
Also, that guide only explains RAM loading via Grub4dos, and Grub4dos doesn't work on EFI/GPT systems.
You'd have to use Grub4 UEFI, which requires disabling TPM and Secure Boot, and a steep learning curve.
Keep in mind that you'll need at least 12 MB of RAM, and that's plenty. Also, if you need the Windows Audio Mixer or Windows Audio Drivers, things get very complicated, you can enter Server Core doesn't carry them. I guess there will be some way to embed them.
And if that wasn't enough, I don't know if the SVBus driver will work on Win11 or Server Core 2022, on Win10PE yes, the one that doesn't work in any way is the Firadisk driver, both on 11 and the latest versions of 10, starting with 20H1.
I will not tell you more because until 2 months ago I was with that OS, fortunately I discovered how to do WinPE Audio, 10-11, which frankly is much superior, now it may be interesting to try it, then you will see the big difference.
Another thing is the physical boot medium, but for that you don't need to change the operating system, Win11XPE can boot as the VHD of any operating system.


#151 internethandle

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:45 PM

I too find it odd that VHD would sound better, but if it does then it does, I suppose. My interest would more be in attempting Ramdisk boot via my JCAT Femto card, but I do see your point with TPM/SecureBoot and/or UEFI BIOSes.

I am intrigued by the option of using an Optane 16GB M.2 drive as a “USB stick” of sorts for Ramdisk boot or other, whether through the JCAT Femto or just an onboard port. Of course, for all these options I am speaking of using Win11PE. Server 2019 does not interest me, currently. It is hard for me to see how the bottleneck of USB 3.1 bandwidth would not negate the advantage of the Optane, but stranger things have happened when it comes to things sounding better in this hobby, and the price is right (cheap).

As an side note, to help demonstrate the impact of Win11PE, a person in one of the AudiophileStyle threads seeteeyou linked mentions using Core with about 35 processes and 500 threads. By comparison, Win11PE is running for me right now with 14 processes and 120 threads! Really incredible. For samotc I would imagine it is even lower for threads given he has 12 processes and no network.

#152 samotc

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 11:34 PM

Exactly 12 processes and 93 threads, although I'm researching to get to less than 70, I hope to get it, but it's tedious, there are a lot of trial tests, and it's getting more and more difficult for the system not to crash when disabling one.

Also what works in flatboot sometimes doesn't work in wim, this will have to be taken calmly and patiently, I am involved in many battles.


#153 internethandle

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 11:45 PM

Ah that’s great. I’ll be interested if you find a way!

Regarding the Syswow64 folder and WinPE’s program compatibility, I did find a way to keep only the things that I need to keep TIDAL app running, which was to have a song playing in TiDAL in flatboot in exclusive mode, then literally highlight all of the Syswow64 contents in Explorer++ and delete - it would then only let me delete what wasn’t currently being used by TIDAL. However, it would then give me issues when I would reboot flatboot that I did not investigate further. Still, I think that might be solvable, so you may want to do something similar with Foobar to see if you can only retain the files that are needed.
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#154 Xp18

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 06:16 AM

I opened Device Manage to see the drivers related to the USB 3.0 HDD box. Its related drivers include: UASPstor, disk.sys, EhStorClass.sys, partmgr.sys.

#155 Xp18

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 06:20 AM

Hello,

The easiest way to figure out which service or driver is needed to keep your USB storage working would be to check in another Windows install in its device manager while the USB storage is attached (so not in Win11PE but in “normal” Windows). Right click the entry for the storage in device manager, go to the driver tab, then driver details and see what services/drivers are listed, then enable them in flatboot registry.
 

 

   I opened Device Manage to see the drivers related to the USB 3.0 HDD box. Its related drivers include: UASPstor, disk.sys, EhStorClass.sys, partmgr.sys. I have Enabled related services in HKLM Win11XPE. Then I created a Usb to load Win11XPE into Ram. Restart PC and boot from USB,  it hangs at the boot screen.
   Are there other services and drivers involved in this process?

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#156 samotc

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 10:51 AM

I have the music stored on an external HDD in a box connected by USB 3.0 and I get 3 more:
 
WpdFs.dll
WpdUpFltr.sys
WUDFRd.sys

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#157 internethandle

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 05:48 PM

Hi Xp18,

A few things:

1) if you were following my post(s), you may have deleted or renamed “uaspstor.sys” from system32\drivers - is it still present there? If not you will need to restore it by copying and pasting it into a mounted Win11PE VHD from a host OS.
2) I assume you tested that your Win11PE ISO boots normally when EhStorclass and UASPStor are disabled in Registry? Disk and Partmgr should never be disabled, so I assume you mean you enabled EhStorclass and UASPStor.
3) does Win11PE boot normally with the device disconnected from your PC?
4) please try above methods and any other scenario in flatboot and not USB boot. Remember to have vdrvroot and storahci enabled before booting into flatboot, if they are not already enabled.

Try the above and also enabling the services samotc mentions. Also, make sure that the there are no “DependOnService” values for EhStorClass, UASPStor, Partmgr, or Disk in registry, and if there are, ensure none of the listed services in those values are disabled.

Thanks.
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#158 Romaniac

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 06:59 PM

I too find it odd that VHD would sound better, but if it does then it does, I suppose. My interest would more be in attempting Ramdisk boot via my JCAT Femto card, but I do see your point with TPM/SecureBoot and/or UEFI BIOSes.

I am intrigued by the option of using an Optane 16GB M.2 drive as a “USB stick” of sorts for Ramdisk boot or other, whether through the JCAT Femto or just an onboard port. Of course, for all these options I am speaking of using Win11PE. Server 2019 does not interest me, currently. It is hard for me to see how the bottleneck of USB 3.1 bandwidth would not negate the advantage of the Optane, but stranger things have happened when it comes to things sounding better in this hobby, and the price is right (cheap).

As an side note, to help demonstrate the impact of Win11PE, a person in one of the AudiophileStyle threads seeteeyou linked mentions using Core with about 35 processes and 500 threads. By comparison, Win11PE is running for me right now with 14 processes and 120 threads! Really incredible. For samotc I would imagine it is even lower for threads given he has 12 processes and no network.

Strange digits from nowhere... 17 processed in Process Hacker including process hacker and 153 thread's Server 2019 Ram Disk

#159 internethandle

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 09:23 PM

Strange digits from nowhere... 17 processed in Process Hacker including process hacker and 153 thread's Server 2019 Ram Disk

Very good! The lowest I could get my “normal” Windows 10 was about 19. I do not remember the threads, but before I got into more heavy disabling my record low was something like 179.

One thing I do wish I could accomplish with Win11PE is a very odd behavior, right before I gave up on “regular” Win10 and moved to PE, that pertained to DCOMLaunch. When enough processes were killed, I could also kill the Svchost process containing DcomLaunch and BrokerInfrastructure (regular Win10 would not let you kill BrokerInfrastructure, which doesn’t exist in PE, as well as CoreMessagingRegistrar, which you can disable pre-boot in PE without issue). The odd behavior arose in that Windows mixer would not cooperate afterwards, and I would need to keep audio playing before and after killing the Svchost instance to allow for audio to still be playable. Still, it was shocking that I could kill DcomLaunch at all! In theory this also would not have mattered for ASIO.

Anyway I have some ideas around getting this to work in Win11PE and inspiration now from the thread to reduce things otherwise further, so I think I am going to spend some time today working on Win11PE flatboot again.

Happy listening/tweaking to all! :)

#160 internethandle

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 08:10 AM

Alright, so, I did some testing and as it turns out, my hunch was correct, and I found a way to kill the Svchost process for DcomLaunch in Win11PE!

Apparently, I had not changed the “FailureActions” value in registry for DcomLaunch, and as a result attempting to terminate it resulted in a BSOD in WinPE. Changing the “FailureActions” value for DcomLaunch in flatboot offline registry to the following hex values to reflect “Take No Action” for all three instances of service failure:

00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 03 00 00 00
14 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
C0 D4 01 00 00 00 00 00
E0 93 04 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00
allows for me to kill DcomLaunch’s Svchost process instance.

Now, this can be problematic, depending on what you are using with Win11PE. In my use case, I need to have audio playing prior to killing DcomLaunch, so as to ensure AudioSrv has started “audiodg.exe” - on all versions of Windows I’ve tried, including WinPE, eventually AudioSrv will close audiodg.exe approximately 2 to 5 minutes after audio has stopped being played. So long as audio continues to play, however, it will stay open. Unfortunately, with DcomLaunch terminated, AudioSrv is unable to re-launch audiodg.exe, and therefore audio playback via the Windows mixer, at least, is lost until reboot. The way around this is to simply keep audio playing - whether in a YouTube video or foobar or something other means. There are also some other stability issues with various programs (TIDAL app outright refuses to initiate playback, for instance, and Explorer++ will not launch, although cmd will still run as well as Process Hacker and web browsers).

Mostly, though, I’d like to see samotc or someone with no need for Windows mixer taking advantage of this. You could, in theory, get down to 11 processes with this method and still maintain ASIO playback. Unsure if foobar would complain with DcomLaunch gone, but I doubt that Oryaaa’s ASIO playback software would mind. Only one way to find out!




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