How to fix speech recognition in Windows 7

What to do if speech recogntion just won't work

QUESTION Speech recognition will no longer load on my Windows 7 PC. Unless I first switch off User Account Control, I get the error message: 'C:\Windows\Speech\Common\sapisvr.exe. A referral was returned from the server'. According to my online research this is a common problem, but I can't find a solution. System Restore and a full restore from my backup temporarily fix the problem until the next reboot. Any ideas please? Harry Leeming

HELPROOM ANSWER As you say, this problem is widely reported, but solutions are few and far between, even on Microsoft's own support forums. However, a fix for a Vista PC is likely to fix a Windows 7 PC, since the two platforms are so similar.Check that your sound card and microphone drivers are correct and up to date. You can then create a batch file that contains a series of commands - you simply double-click it and the computer will proceed through each task.

Head to Start, Control Panel, Folder Options, View and disable the setting 'Hide extensions for known files types'. Right-click the desktop and select New, Text Document. Name it 'speech.txt' and double-click to open it. Type in the following commands, with each on a new line:c:cd\cd windowscd speechcd commonsapisvr -SpeechUX

Save the file as 'speech.txt', then close Notepad. Right-click the file and select Rename, then change the .txt extension to .cmd. Press Enter to confirm the change. To use the file, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'. You may find it helpful to drag the file to your Windows Taskbar for easy access.

An alternative solution is to run the Windows System File Checker. Click Start and type CMD in the search box. Press Enter. In the black command box that pops up, type sfc /checknow and press return. Windows will then check all its system files and repair any corrupt versions it finds.

If the problem keeps occurring, you may need to reinstall Windows.

See also: How to fix everything: the ultimate guide to fixing technology

Free tech support in the Helproom Forum

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftsoftware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Byers

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?