Installing SpeakOn and getting started:

System requirements, download and installation

This page contains information on system requirements, download and installation. Make sure that you read the notes especially about Windows 7 and Vista if relevant to you.


If you have been referred to this page directly, note that the SpeakOn Home page where you can find general information and all important links is here:


The SpeakOn manual which contains a comprehensive tutorial on using SpeakOn is here:


Operating Systems 


SpeakOn was tested with Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7.


Windows 95, 98 and ME are not supported although SpeakOn runs successfully on Windows 98.


There are specific instructions relevant to Windows 7 and Vista explained further down the page.




SpeakOn is small and efficient and will run at the recommended processor speed and memory specified for your operating system.


Internet Connection 


SpeakOn uses the internet extensively and a broadband connection is required. Depending on the type of operation SpeakOn is performing, internet connection is not required all the time.




In your favourite browser, type:


You can either run the installation file from the internet or save it on your hard disc and run it from there.


When the installer starts it will check your computer for components necessary for the installation before running the SpeakOn installation itself. These components are Windows Installer and the Java Runtime Environment. If these components are not found on your computer, the installer will mark these components for download. When you press 'Next' these components will be downloaded automatically and installed on your computer. During the installation of these components, it is recommended that you choose the default values.


After the installation of the above components (if required), the installation of SpeakOn itself will start. The only choice you have to make is the location for the installation which is set by default to C:\ where the SpeakOn folder will be installed. You can change this to anywhere you like but please note the location of the installation as you may need to perform simple configuration changes on the installed files later.


With 500 Kbs broadband internet connection, installation should take between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the components that are required.


Important notes on Windows 7 and Vista installations 


The author has tested SpeakOn with Windows 7 but the comments below are probably also relevant to Windows Vista.


SpeakOn stores and manipulates folders on the computer C drive which is not allowed by default in Windows Vista and 7, resulting in constant interruption by the UAC (User Account Control). You have two options, either:

- Disable the UAC altogether


- Allow SpeakOn to run in administrator mode which can be enabled by checking the 'Run as administrator' check box in the SpeakOn Icon Properties Compatibility page on the desktop. If you upgrade SpeakOn to a new version, there is no need to set this option again.


To access the property dialog of the SpeakOn icon on the desktop and enable SpeakOn to be run as administrator, do the following:


- Press Alt + Enter to open the property dialog box.

- Press Ctrl + Tab to move the focus to the Compatibility page.

- Tab a few times and check the 'Run as administrator' check box

- Tab a few times and press OK to confirm your selection


To start SpeakOn, use the icon on the desktop. When you start SpeakOn for the first time it may take slightly longer than usual to start. When SpeakOn starts, as it is self-voicing, speech will start automatically. If it does not, see the end of this page for trouble-shooting.


You can read the rest of the user manual including a 'Getting started with SpeakOn' page and a step-by-step tutorial at:


SpeakOn folders 


The SpeakOn folder which contains the software is created during installation in the folder specified.


After you run SpeakOn for the first time, two folders are created on your hard drive. These are C:\SpeakOn_User_Settings where most of the system's user-defined settings are stored, and C:\SpeakOn_User_Content where the various media files used by SpeakOn are stored. Please note that these folders are always created under the 'C' drive regardless of where you installed SpeakOn. You can change the location of these folders later.


Updating SpeakOn from a previous version:




1. Remove SpeakOn using 'Add and remove programs' in the Control Panel.


2. Delete the C:\SpeakOn folder (assuming you installed SpeakOn on the 'C:' drive).


3. If you don't intend to use SpeakOn again, delete the C:\SpeakOn_User_Settings folder which contains user-defined settings.


4. The C:\SpeakOn_User_Content folder may contain some media that you may wish to keep; if not, delete this folder as well.


Trouble-shooting if speech does not start 


SpeakOn uses Java which is installed on most computers. If Java is not installed, this should have been detected during SpeakOn's installation and, in this case, the user would have been guided to install Java first. If you suspect that Java may not be installed on your computer, check for the presence of a Java folder under:

C:\Program Files\Java


If Java is not present on your computer, check that it is installed with the 'Add/Remove Programs' in the Control Panel in Windows XP or its equivalent in Windows Vista and Windows 7.


Assuming that Java is installed, SpeakOn looks for English SAPI5 voices on your computer. Every Windows computer should have, by default, one English voice. If there are a number of these voices installed, SpeakOn will look at the first available voice and use it. (You can change the voice to your choice once SpeakOn has started and this is explained in the manual.) In a very few cases in the past, these voices were broken which meant that SpeakOn tried to use a voice that could not speak. If you suspect this problem, use your screenreader and verify that you can load and use these Microsoft SAPI5 voices and if they are broken, either remove them or reinstall them; remember at least one English Microsoft SAPI5 voice must be present for SpeakOn to start working for the first time.

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