What is OpenAL? Should I remove OpenAL on Windows 10?

After the Windows 10 Anniversary update, Windows 10 users started to notice a new application on their Windows PC by the name OpenAL. On further drill down it was found that OpenAL was installed via Windows Update. OpenAL is a misnomer for many users, and it needs a detailed explanation to make one aware of what it is all about. Therefore, in today’s post, we will talk about OpenAL in details.

What is OpenAL?

Before we discuss why Microsoft pushed it on Windows PC via Windows Update and what are there pros and cons of having them on the computer, let’s first talk what it is?

What Is OpenAL

OpenAL (Open Audio Library) is a licensed freeware cross-platform 3D audio API. It is designed especially for gaming, some hardware devices like Creative Audio cards, Go Pro and all other audio application that works in 3D audio space.

OpenAL provides a rich set of multi-dimensional 3D audio quality which is a must requirement while playing games and other high-end audio quality tasks. It gives an impressive sound experience which is needed while playing games.

Loki Software developed OpenAL, but after closer of Loki, OpenAL was released as freeware were in many developers contributed to it to enhance this 3D audio API. After it was taken over by a company called Creative Technology, the application made tremendous progress.

Why is OpenAL used?

The primary reason for using OpenAL is to render 3D sound to produce much advanced and superior sound output.

OpenAL was primarily developed to enhance audio quality when a user is working in a sound intensive environment. For example, for video editing, a PC needs a decent graphics card and proper driver configuration to enhance display quality and the rendering of the video in a similar fashion OpenAL is designed to improve audio quality and remove missing quality to provide a perfect sound effect.

As OpenAL is used to enhance audio quality, hence this file is also added by Graphics driver manufacturer when a new graphics card is configured on the system or old card gets driver update.

Should I remove OpenAL on Windows 10?

As the primary use of OpenAL is used to enhance audio quality in multi-dimensional 3D. Hence it can be removed anytime if a user is not using any such application which is dependent on 3D audio.

Although there is no harm in keeping OpenAL background file running as it is no way going to impact system performance. Hence keeping the file on the computer would be an ideal decision. However, the final decision depends upon the user and PC on which it is installed.

As these files are either pushed by Microsoft to Windows 10 or by Graphics card manufacturer so the user must decide between keeping the application running or letting it go.  In case if the user chooses to uninstall the OpenAL executable file and wants to get it back, then they must download the file again and configure it on the computer.

What does it do on a Windows computer?

The primary reason for having OpenAL on a Windows PC is to provide enhanced 3D audio quality. It acts as an amplifier to improve the sound quality and provides a great user experience when playing games and or in any other high-end audio quality task.

If a user is using any high-end computer with a sound card and or graphics card, then having an OpenAL is a must. It is required by such hardware like sound card or graphics card to improve the audio as well as video quality exponentially. In case there is no such high-end computer configuration, then OpenAL file can be removed.

Keeping OpenAL won’t impact computer performance, hence if a user doesn’t want to uninstall it, then it can be kept safely without any issue.

Advantages and disadvantages of OpenAL on Windows:

If we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of OpenAL here are a few of them.

Advantages:

  • Free API that can be used to integrate with other applications
  • EAX style effects can be programmed in OpenAL
  • OpenAL Improves audio quality by installing on the PC
  • It provides a robust user experience by enhancing audio and video quality
  • Provides SDK’s for OpenAL integration with other cross-platform 3D audio

Disadvantages:

  • Currently, not all games and other hardware devices support OpenAL
  • OpenAL is not supported on Android
  • There is a known issue with loop sounds
  • Sometimes it plays multiple sounds at a time
  • There is an issue to control the pitch and volume of sounds

How to download and Install OpenAL?

Before we talk about the download and installation process lets first understand in what cases users are required to download OpenAL.

Scenario 1:

In case computer hardware got upgraded and you are noticing some issue related to sound. It can be while watching Netflix, YouTube and or playing games. In such a scenario, you need to upgrade the sound quality by installing OpenAL file.

Scenario 2:

In case OpenAL is already present on the computer, but the file got damaged due to malware infection or system failure. In that case, users are required to uninstall the old OpenAL setup file and reinstall a fresh copy of the file.

To download and install OpenAL, users can follow the below steps:

  • Go to OpenAL official website (Creative Labs) to download to file here
  • On the download page, there are two files, one is SDK which is mostly used by a developer to integrate OpenAL feature in their application and the second file is OpenAL Windows Installer (.zip) format
  • For the end-user, they are required to download the OpenAL Windows Installer file
  • Once the zip file is downloaded, extract and run the oalinst exe file
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the OpenAL integration in Windows.

OpenAL is the best audio enhancer currently available in the market. It provided free API and SDK for easy integration and development.

Do you have OpenAL installed on your computer? How did you like the performance of the computer after OpenAL installed on the computer? Do let us know your experience about the same in your comment section below.

Abhishek is a software engineer by profession, have worked with Fortune 50 companies globally. He holds many renowned certifications from Google, Microsoft, Adobe & many more.

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