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

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