Editing ShoreTel System Prompts or WTF is a PHR file?

October 22nd, 2014

“Welcome to the ShoreTel Conferencing” sounds like a commercial announcement and many system owners want it changed! After all they just paid a big whack of money to own a brand new brilliantly simple phone system! Now when they have a client conference, they sound like they transferred the call to an outside third party service!  Though it is a smart move for ShoreTel marketing efforts, it is hardly the image a system owner wants to convey to their clients!  For this reason, we are often asked to change the prompt to something that sounds more like “Welcome to mycompany conferencing”. This seems like a reasonable enough request and something that should be easy to implement, right? Yet ShoreTel professional services gets about $600-$1000 for a custom prompt!  Is there a way around this?

The fact is, that it is not very easy to modify these prompts at all! Most ShoreTel vendors can’t even find the application to play the file let alone edit it as it is not a normal wav file! The file is actually a “phrase” file and is usually found with a .phr file extension.  On the ShoreTel SA-100, for example, you will find this in ftproot directory of the HQ server in the path \Inetpub\ftproot\tsu\phr\UCB. The UCB folder contains all the .phr  files for all the languages supported by the system. When the conference appliance boots up, these files are loaded onto the sever. (For you Unix heads, the appliance is a Linux platform, and you can find the files in the ShoreTel/Lib folder by entering ls -lt *.phr after changing the directory to the ShoreTel/Lib folder).  Remember, if you edit the prompts,  you will have to recreate this change  every time you upgrade the phone system and on all servers that use the conference appliance!

In the United States the correct file is the “en-us.phr” file.  If you play this file, you will understand very quickly that this is not going to be easy! The file is actually a “library” and actually contains all the “phrases” used by the system to prompt callers with audio help. The application software has to be able to set  pointers to the correct location in the .PHR phrase file.   This is similar to a format used by Dialogic back in the 80’s that set the standard for “indexed play mode” for all telephone applications.  This indicates that a phrase file must contain a unique id for each phrase in the library, so the .PHR file is more than an audio file!  Here is a list of the phrases in the .PHR file:

thank you for calling ShoreTel conferencing goodbye
a duplicate conference has been detected you will now be transferred
a duplicate conference has been detected please try again later or contact the conference host.
you will now be disconnected
sorry the key sequence entered is invalid
The conference has ended goodbye.
sorry all resources are busy please try again later or contact the conference administrator
ringsound welcome to ShoreTel conferencing, please enter an access code then press pound.
sorry that access code is invalid please try again
the conference is currently locked, please try again later or contact the conference host
you are the only person on this conference please stay on the line
the conference host has not joined the conference please stay on the line
to turn off the music please press one
please wait while your call is connected
sorry that access code is invalid good bye
at the tone please say your name and then press pound
please wait while your call is placed into the conference
has joined the conference
has left the conference
ringsound please enter the conference hosts voice mail password then press pound
if you are the conference host then you may enter the host access code followed by pound at any time
invalid password please try again or press star to join as a participant
this scheduled conference can not be started at this time as it is to early. please start it at its scheduled start time.
this scheduled conference can not be started as it is past the scheduled start time.
to start or stop recording
press pound for
this call is being recorded
the recording has been stopped
the recording can not be stopped because desktop sharing has been enabled
the recording can not start because of insufficient disk space
the recording can not start at this time
to unmute your line press pound one
to mute or unmute all lines press pound two
your line has been muted
your line has been unmuted
all lines have been muted
all lines have been unmuted
the conference has been locked
the conference has been unlocked
to lock or unlock the conference press pound five
to raise or lower your hand press pound six
your hand has been raised
your hand has been lowered
the participant names are not available
to list the participant press pound three
to return to the conference please press star
to join the conference as a participant please press star
you have been requested to join a conference please press one to be placed into the conference
to end the conference press pound 99
this scheduled conference will end in the next five minutes
this scheduled conference is starting
the conference has not yet started
please wait

It is possible to play the file using an editor like Audacity,  which will NOT recognize the file format if you double click it.   To overcome this you must  import the file as “raw data” by setting the file attributes on the import menu.  Set encoding to to ulaw and sampling to 8000 hz.   This will enable you to play the file.   That is the simple part, the trick here is to edit the audio prompts without destroying the index which is used by the application software to know how to pull the correct prompt from the phr file!   That is why professional services gets big bucks to change the prompt and why your average ShoreTel partner will not be able to help you!  Remember ShoreTel is also going to make the voice artist used is the same as the rest of the ShoreTel prompts (though some of the files in the existing en_us.phr file are clearly male voices left over from the development team).   All in all, this is a lot of work for somebody and worth every penny you pay for it!


2 responses to “Editing ShoreTel System Prompts or WTF is a PHR file?”

  1. DrVoIP says:

    Another related and often requested ShoreTel conference server modification is the ability to change the email meeting notice sent by the conference server that includes the line “a ShoreTel Conference Call has been created” or to have the company’s 800 number displayed rather than the DID that ShoreTel will put in the email notice. You would think you would find the html or txt file, edit it and be done, but no.

    The conference server is implemented using a WindRiver version of Linux with a SELinux security kernel and even use a php encryption technology. The file structure is standard LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, Php/Perl) and I was hopeful when I found a directory under root. You would think finding a simple HTML file or TXT file and modifying it would be simple enough, but not the case here.

    The Conference Server is implemented in a Linux. The particular Linux used appears to be from WindRiver embedded systems and contains elements of the Yocto project.

    I was excited to find /ShoreTel/wc2_deploy contained mostly php files, with one directory entitled email_templates (for joy). You can not cat or vi the php files, and the templates where filled with macro definitions and contained no useful text to modify.

    If someone out there has additional input, please share it here!

  2. John Fries says:

    That’s not what I wanted to hear…

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