Installing ASTER program:
1. Download the ASTER installation package from downloads the download page.
When you start the installation, it is recommended that you create a system restore point (Check the “Create a restore point” checkbox in the installation wizard.) – in case of problems, you will be able to restore your system to its original state:
2. Read the program description and then accept the terms and conditions for the user license agreement of ASTER:
3. Select your desired installation directory, and optionally set power and OS boot parameters recommended for running ASTER properly (selected by default):
Settings – «Optimize power-saving parameters»
- Sets the power option to high performance;
- Disables monitors sleep state and hibernation;
- Disables power down on USB devices.
Settings – «Disable Fast Boot».
The «Fast Boot» mode speeds up the loading of the OS, but can cause the problem in running ASTER and additional seats. Then check box is disabled if Fast Boot is already disabled or you are installing ASTER in Windows 7. These parameters can be changed if required after completing the installation of ASTER.
Settings – «Install Screen Saver(PowerSaver)»
Sets the screensaver PowerSaver.scr, which can be enabled in the personalization settings. This is an alternative to the use of energy-saving modes, which often work incorrectly with ASTER.
4. Once ASTER installation is completed, you need to restart the computer once.
Once you have restarted, you can see 3 shortcuts added under ASTER folder in Start/Programs menu.
- ASTER Control Panel – this shortcut will open the ASTER Control Panel, when you will configure, enable or disable ASTER program.
- ASTER User’s Manual – this shortcut will open the ASTER user manual to refer to configuring ASTER.
- EULA (End User License Agreement) – is the user’s license agreement.
These three shortcuts may not be shown in the Recently Used section in Start Menu, but they can always be found in the “All Programs” section.
Any changes can be made only after your reboot ASTER after installation is completed.
Setting up ASTER
Preparing to setup ASTER
To successfully start additional workstations, you must first configure the system: assign a monitor, keyboard, mouse and, if necessary, a sound device to each workplace.
Before proceeding with the setup of ASTER, remember the following important information:
- Most of the changes in the ASTER settings are stored in the program memory (temporarily) and will not be written to disk until you click the “Apply” button.
- Some settings changes take effect only after the computer restarts. The indication of this is the appearance of the “Restart System” button in the lower-left corner of the program window.
- When you close ASTER, a reminder window pops up and asks if you want to save the changes and, if necessary, restart the system.
- ASTER starts automatically when the first (main) workplace logs on to the windows and reaches Desktop if the workstations are not already configured. Otherwise, it will be minimized to the system tray (notification area).
- When you close the ASTER window on the first workplace, the program does not exist. It will minimize the system tray. To exit the program, click the “Exit” or “Finish” button from the context menu of the program icon in the system tray.
After starting the program, a window opens in which the ASTER is configured. Controls like icons, buttons, lists, etc. are provided with hints in the style of “What is it?”. You can call this prompt in the following ways, in case there is any doubt about the purpose of this or that element:
- Press Shift and F1 keys on the keyboard simultaneously (the simplest option);
- Open the context menu (right mouse click) and select the “What is it?” option;
- If the title of the window contains the “?” icon, click on this icon, and then on the required element.
On the “Work Places” tab a graphical view of workplaces and devices are represented.
Each workplace is shown in the form of a window filled with devices. The “System” area contains a list of available devices that can be distributed among the workplaces. The context menu of the system unit icons contains menu items for various system-wide settings. Then, there are three buttons “Spare parts”, “General”, and “Inventory” :
- The “Spare parts” panel contains all free devices, i.e. those that are not currently assigned to any workplace.
- The “General” panel contains all the shared devices, i.e. which are used by all workplaces and do not appear in the windows of workplaces, so as to not clutter them.
- The “Inventory” panel contains all PC devices that can be redistributed between workplaces.
The scale of the image can be changed by standard keyboard combinations:- Simultaneous pressing of the Ctrl keys and the ‘+’ (plus) keys enlarge the images and pressing Ctrl and ‘-‘ – reduces the size. In this case, the area that is scaled depends on the current position of the mouse pointer, if the pointer is in the “System” area, the images in the “Spare parts”, “General” and “Inventory” panels are scaled. Otherwise, the work area is scaled.
The “Inventory” button (and its corresponding panel) is hidden by default. In order for it to show them, you need to select the item “Customize the Workplaces panel” from the context menu, and in the dialog that opens, check the “Inventory” item check box:
In the “Workplaces” tab, you can choose which windows to display and hide (can not be hidden if the workplaces have devices assigned). Also, pay attention to the checkmark next to the item “Displays without monitors” in this dialog, as well as to translucent (“off”) images of displays.
The images of the displays represent the video outputs of the video cards, which can be connected to monitors. The translucence of the display image reflects, that a monitor is not connected to the video output.
The item “Displays without monitors” determines whether such outputs are displayed or not. By default, this checkbox is not checked, and translucent displays are not displayed.
The display can be semi-transparent even if the monitor is physically connected to the video output and connected to the network, but not included in the Windows desktop (in extended mode).
This way, the number of translucent (“off”) displays can be minimized and more monitors are listed to distribute between workplaces in a simple visual way.
You can expand the desktop and set the operating modes of the monitors by using the “Screen” item in the Windows Control Panel (Control Panel “Display” Adjusting Screen Settings). This control panel element can be opened directly from the ASTER by selecting the “Desktop settings” item from the context menu of the system unit. There are also other options you can use from.
Some devices are displayed specially: – in an image behind the bars. These are so-called “devices on an inaccessible workplace” – devices assigned to workplaces that are currently unavailable because the number of the workplace exceeds the number of your licenses. This situation can occur, for example, after the end of the trial period, when all 12 jobs were available. The number of the workstation to which the device is assigned (shown in parentheses after the device name) can be seen by pointing the mouse at it. You can leave the device in this “unavailable” state in order to keep a binding to the workplace in the future or assign it to the available workplace.
Assigning Devices and Running Workplaces
When assigning monitors to workplaces, the following options are possible:
- With only one graphic card, all monitors connected to it can only be used separately to run additional workstations. Thus, several jobs can be run on monitors connected to a single graphic card.
- If there are several graphics cards, you can assign workplaces to individual graphic cards with all their monitors. Thus, each workstation can use its own separate graphic card (this scheme is recommended to achieve better performance for graphic applications, including games).
- If there are several graphic cards with the ability to connect two or more monitors to separate graphic cards. All connected monitors can be used individually or in groups to run additional workplaces, provided that workplaces with multiple monitors are assigned their own separate graphic cards (in other words, a workplace with multiple monitors cannot share any of its graphic cards with another workplace).
When you first run the “ASTER Control Panel”, all monitors are assigned to the first workplace. Assignment of a monitor (and any other equipment) to a workplace is easy, just Drag & Drop the monitor icon to the desired workplace. Do not forget that you can expand the “System” panel to see all the devices.
Not all devices can be assigned to the workplaces since there are conflicting configurations that will prevent them from being assigned. In the simplest cases, the restriction is illustrated when you try to drag a device by a change in the mouse pointer (a prohibiting sign will appear, a crossed circle).
In the case of monitors, it is very easy to get a conflict and it is not easy to avoid or resolve it. Therefore, for monitors, the conflicts are resolved automatically.
When dragging a monitor to the workplace area, the configuration is validated, and if conflicts are found, the situation will be transformed into a conflict-free one according to certain rules set in the program. In this case, monitors that are removed from the workplace in order to resolve the conflict are placed in the Spare parts panel (and this panel will be opened if it was closed).
In addition to the drag and drop method, the device can be assigned through its context menu, namely from the window “Appointment to the workplace”. A dialog will appear, the appearance of which depends on whether the device allows sharing or not: