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Windows 7 Features: Speech Recognition VS. Dragon Naturally Speaking

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Windows 7 Features: Speech Recognition VS. Dragon Naturally Speaking


IT-Solutions, Dragon, Windows-7

UPDATE: Head on over to Part 2 of this epic battle!

Over the weekend I had an opportunity to perform a Windows 7 Upgrade on my Vista Home Premium 64 bit laptop; which was a longtime coming! I had had my fill of "Blue Screens" and finally decided to do something about it. While I was updating drivers and settings I came across the "Speech Recognition" configuration. I had just bought and installed a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking, version 10 Standard a few days prior to performing the Windows 7 Upgrade. So, I decided to install and go through the "Speech Recognition" tutorial that is built into Windows 7 and compare the two.

Setup - Tutorial

The profile setup/tutorial took about the same amount of time to perform in each software; about 20-30 minutes. The key difference between the two was that in Dragon Speak you created a profile and had to read specific passages and phrases to help train it to your voice. The Windows 7 application does not have this feature, but it is profile based upon the current user logged onto the PC. The tutorials in each application were good with showing sample commands and exercises that helped to train you to the basics.

Tool Bar - Ease of Use

The Windows 7 application automatically launches upon logging in and the toolbar remains in the top center of the screen whereas the Dragon toolbar has to be launched from a shortcut or program files from the start menu. The basic commands are very similar and both programs allow you the ability to run your PC by voice command. You can open applications, browse and open files, surf the web and dictate into Microsoft Word, WordPad or notepad as well as other Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Outlook, Access, etc)

Windows 7 Speech Recognition is included in all versions of Windows 7 and is definitely worth setting up and using if you have a need for a speech to text software. I would have to say though that Dragon does a better job at interpreting what is being said into dictation and that would have to be due to the additional steps taken for the software to learn your speaking voice when setting up the profile for the application, but considering that Speech Recognition is now built into the operating system you really can't go wrong! I am still in my early testing of both of these applications and will report further findings once I have had more time to use them.



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I am not so sure that you are correct about Windows 7. I had to read several passages to train the Windows Speech recognition to improve its performance.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 11, 2010 11:31 AM by Vic
You are most certainly mistaken about windows 7. There is a portion of the setup devoted to reading passages in order to improve recognition of the individuals voice. each time you run the program, it gives new passages to read in order to further improve ease of use. after only an hour of playing with it, i have windows 7 down to only 1 mistake every other paragraph.
Posted @ Monday, May 17, 2010 10:09 PM by challenger bounds
I don't believe he was saying you dont have to train windows 7 i think he was saying that you can't establish a specific profile... that with windows 7 the profile is based on the user who is currently logged in to windows as apposed to the user using dragon at the moment... thats all
Posted @ Monday, June 14, 2010 7:42 AM by benjaminschran
I have had RSI for some time now, and thought Windows 7 speech recognition would be the solution for my tendinitis. 
However, the Windows 7 speech recognition has some serious limitations, specially if you want to click anywhere on the screen. 
I settled upon an extension for Win 7 called Voice Finger ( ), that somehow fill the gaps in Win 7 recognition. 
I guess this software is not targeted to people who use speech recognition like an alternative from time to time, but if you want (or needs) to reduce computer contact to zero, this software is great. 
Posted @ Monday, June 21, 2010 12:27 PM by Robert Lamb
Robert Lamb is mistaken. You can click anywhere on the screen in Windows Speech Recognition by calling out the command "Mousegrid". Then you can narrow down the screen to the exact place you want to click with pinpoint percision.
Posted @ Thursday, June 24, 2010 5:00 PM by Samuel Moser
I used Vista's and was pretty happy about how well it worked. 
I'm running Win 7 Professional, 64 bit. Despite going through training, etc, I get a dreaded error message that is posted all over the internet.  
The program refuses to start with an error saying the Language Configuration is bad... the recognizer language doesn't match the language of the user interface. 
I've spent hours on the problem, trying all of the potential solutions posted. I have yet to see a post that says "here's the solution! mine works now". It's very frustrating to get it trained, know the engine works, etc, but the launching is stopped because of some 1-byte value being incorrect (or even more likely a bug). 
Has anyone else managed to get speech recognition running on 64 bit, perhaps specifically 64 bit Professional? 
I really want to use the Windows version as I really disliked Dragon 10 and doubt I will ever use it again. 
PLEASE, if you have had this startup problem and fixed it, post a comment as many other people out there would benefit. 
Posted @ Wednesday, July 07, 2010 8:41 AM by Mike B
Windows seven voice recognition software works like a charm ! 
For some reason when I use it on my desk top machine, Intel I7, I feel the recognition is very good. 
Even on my Sony Z computer (Intel Core 2 Duo) recognition works quite well. 
I feel windows seven speech recognition by itself is fully worth paying for the operating system. This message was created using windows seven voice recognition software. 
I have not checked out dragon naturallyspeaking. I plan to do that and compare. However windows seven voice recognition comes bundled together. 
Posted @ Saturday, August 28, 2010 8:43 AM by Llavan Fernando
I am currently using the windows seven version. In fact in posting this blog I'm using the windows seven version. I found it definitely has some issues but Its workable. I will be buying the dragon 10 with the hopes that it will work better than the windows seven version if if there's a misspelling in this blog you'll know why.
Posted @ Saturday, August 28, 2010 8:53 PM by arizona glass repair
I have used both, Dragon is far far far superior in dictation, i am french and i trained Dragon with my English accent, I can speak using my worst lazy talk and it will not make a mistake, but window 7 even with all the training, i get three errors in the first sentence. The thing i like in window 7 is the "show numbers" which create a grid of all the commands in a screen, command you can't activate with your voice, that function is cool, i haven't found the same yet on Dragon, but Dragon use "Click command" and it works, so so far it doesn't need the grid, but i liked it. Professionally speaking i can't use window 7, it is to flaky, and do not think my English is terrible,i speak with a very weak accent, Window 7 could be fun with it's functionality but if it can't write once sentence without an error, even the french, english or spanish version, then it is beside the purpose. Yes you can hate it write a paragraph or three if you train it much much much and talking 1/8" from the microphone yelling and talking each syllable very distinctly and talking slow. With dragron you just forget and talk whatever way you talk and it will write exactly what you said. Thanks, Jean Marie
Posted @ Friday, November 26, 2010 4:09 AM by jean duhmal
windows 7 vr works fine. why would i want to spend more $$$ on another software to do the same job.
Posted @ Friday, December 17, 2010 3:44 AM by reefman
I have windows 7 professional 64 bit and the speech software is working very well I will have to train it I know but it is doing things I didnt think it would like runing coding softwae commands
Posted @ Saturday, December 18, 2010 3:25 AM by steve
I must decide (fast!)between Dragon 11 and Microsoft. I'm using Office XP on Windows 7 (I refuse to upgrade to cr*p newer version of Word)and speak with a mild South African accent (almost but not quite neutral international Brit)I suspect Dragon would be preferable. Any suggestions?
Posted @ Monday, December 20, 2010 4:26 PM by Sam van den Berg
I am using Windows 7 32 bit and have Dragon Home 11. I am working with Dragon and W7 speech recognition switching between to two for comparison. 
So far, the jury is out. I find both do a good job. Dragon seems to be a bit more cranky though. 
I would say W7 is easier to learn while Dragon is much harder to learn. 
Both have trouble with pull down menus on third party apps. 
The only advantage, if you can call it an advantage, that Dragon has is some customization options and the ability to purchase command sets for specific applications. 
My final thought, to date, use W7 version. If you feel limited you could invest in Dragon for some advanced features, but there is the cost to consider! 
Posted @ Tuesday, January 18, 2011 8:37 AM by Chewy
I've used both systems. I would have to say that the windows system is much better at understanding what I'm saying. 
Dragon does have a few advanced features that windows doesn't but I don't think it justifies dragons cost.
Posted @ Thursday, January 27, 2011 5:15 PM by bull
I've tried to use Windows 7 voice recognition and it makes a lot of errors. It usually makes one error every sentence. I speak clearly and I've trained it two times. I'm not exactly impressed. I hope to try Dragon soon.
Posted @ Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:51 PM by dynamometer for sale
i use windows 7 64 bit voice recognition you may have a virus if you are having problems or your computer may not have enough ram
Posted @ Thursday, March 03, 2011 8:14 AM by steve
Dragon is only $75 and worth it.
Posted @ Friday, March 11, 2011 12:55 PM by Ashley Eastman
I find that the Windows 7 speech recognition works fine, as long as you are using a Microsoft program. It doesn't seem to support dictation in Abiword,, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari, to name a few. M$ monopoly tactics again.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 05, 2011 11:12 PM by Terry
I've trying to train W7 to recognise my voice but must say as many things Microsoft, there are much more frustration and in the end I find myself typing as it is faster than trying to teach W7 to understand me. Have done the training 3 times and still find it frustrating to use. Don't know how real handicapped people would be able to communicate with a computer
Posted @ Tuesday, April 19, 2011 2:48 PM by Tinus Roux
I forgot to mention that I run an Acer E730G, i3-330M with 4GB RAM configuration. So Ram is not an issue as well as processor speed. I do speak English as a second language but this is my business language and I am quite proficient in speaking English. Although I have a South African accent it is probable not as bad as some of the Irish, Scottish, and some English accents I have heard and not remotely as bad as the French and German or Russian accents. (Sorry guys not trying to start a WW III). The point that I would like to make is that if W7 can’t pick up small accent differentiations how on earth will it be able to pick-up great differences as mentioned from different countries and even zones. I do try and articulate my words. W7 can’t even pick up a simple phrase like: “I would like to invite” nor “Could you please”. I also had a suggestion that it might be a virus. I run Iolo System Mechanic Professional as a standard anti-virus package and in 5 years didn't have any virusses causing havoc on any of my computers.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 20, 2011 6:32 AM by Tinus Roux
I've been stugglng with Dragon 10 now on and off for a long time. It works some days but other days it comes out with lots of rubbish. I must say though Dragon support is good - they answer questions very quickly, but can't seem to find the solution either on my PC or Laptop - both on different operating system. I'd love Speech recognition that works!
Posted @ Tuesday, May 10, 2011 11:08 AM by Gina
a Posibly advantage to the Voice Reconition software of Dragon,is that you can purchase a hand held recorder which will allow you to dictate anywhere you may later on (if you Dragon software has been trained for Portable recorders) plug the portable into your computer and download your dictations. I've have an eirlier version of Dragon, Dragon 9 since 2006 and it been working for me pretty well. Hope this helps, thanks. Scott
Posted @ Monday, August 22, 2011 9:11 PM by Scott
I have used several voice recognition programs over the years. Dont forget that a good mic. makes a jusge difference as well as your sound card. To eliminate issues with poor sound cards try a good USB mic. with your program. Regardless of the software used you should notice a difference.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:55 AM by Dale
Windows 7 speech recognition does have different profiles: Control Panel -> Speech Recognition -> Advanced Speech Options (on the top left of screen) -> Recognition Profiles
Posted @ Sunday, September 18, 2011 3:23 PM by Kevin
I used Dragon 10 with no problems, but now even though my sound card sees me speaking the speech recognition on Windows 7 won't recognise the microphone? So can't even try Win7. Any ideas anyone?
Posted @ Monday, September 26, 2011 4:02 AM by Paul McKenzie
Win7 speech recognition works flawlessly for me. And I'm not a native English speaker.  
I like it a lot! ;)
Posted @ Wednesday, October 19, 2011 4:18 AM by Atrax
I used the dragon program in MS Word some years back and found it frustratingly inefficient. I speak American English and have good diction. I spent alot of time training it to my voice using their suggested prose. I finally gave up in disgust. I didn't realize that Windows 7 had a speech recognition feature built in but will check it out and report back in a day or two. Thanks for starting this blog.
Posted @ Thursday, November 03, 2011 1:15 PM by Max Heller
The installation of speech recognition program was simple. Just a couple or three clicks in Control Panel and I was up and running. I spent about half an hour reading some canned text so it could build a voice profile for me. I then used it in MS Word 2003 and it worked like gang busters. It made 1 or 2 errors which I was able to correct using its features in very little time. This program is a winner - and to think Bill Gates gave it to me for free.
Posted @ Saturday, November 05, 2011 3:12 PM by Max Heller
win 7 64 built in .. The program refuses to start with an error saying the Language Configuration is bad... the recognizer language doesn't match the language of the user interface. I do not have a virus, I have 2 GB ram, so far no cure. 
Dragon, ( I paid too much), naturally, ( yeah right), speaking, did the training every time I start, called Nuance and did exactly what they said, Installed the supposed fix, ( that was a waste of time), still will not start Win 7 64 HP 2730 p, 2 gb ram. Frankly I am tired of people saying they have it running, I doubt very much they do, and when I used DNS in XP it sucked badly, had to retrain it every day, loud noises, ( in a warehouse), interfered greatly with execution. 
If you really have a fix. POST IT HERE and stop with the fan boy comments. Truth is Neither MS or NUance care if it works. they are too busy with the next ver. ( why do we continue to upgrade? the first one still does not work well.
Posted @ Sunday, November 27, 2011 9:32 AM by Pat S
I have an earlier version of Dragon. It always works well for a few days, but then starts to mess up for no apparent reason - ultimately leading to system crashes! 
I don't have W7 yet, but I hope it will be viable for this function
Posted @ Friday, December 09, 2011 4:58 AM by NM
@ Pat S ( in no way is this meant as an insult)Your biggest problem is that you are running(HP 2730 p) windows 7 64 bit with only 2GB (which I think can be upgraded to 8GB max.) of ram and an entry level dual core cpu. The 64bit version needs a min. of 4GB to run as intended. I am surprised it runs anything at all with those specs. I hate to say it but it's not the program it's the PC. I am havinng a great time playing around with windows speech recognition. It's fun and easy to use. I have yet to try dragon. My PC specs are: High end MOBO from ASUS 3.2 quad core cpu and 16 GB ram. It runs smoothly with no hang ups.
Posted @ Friday, February 17, 2012 3:24 PM by DW
@ Pat S ( in no way is this meant as an insult)Your biggest problem is that you are running(HP 2730 p) windows 7 64 bit with only 2GB (which I think can be upgraded to 8GB max.) of ram and an entry level dual core cpu. The 64bit version needs a min. of 4GB to run as intended. I am surprised it runs anything at all with those specs. I hate to say it but it's not the program it's the PC. I am havinng a great time playing around with windows speech recognition. It's fun and easy to use. I have yet to try dragon. My PC specs are: High end MOBO from ASUS 3.2 quad core cpu and 16 GB ram. It runs smoothly with no hang ups.
Posted @ Friday, February 17, 2012 3:26 PM by DW
I am so sorry for the multiple post, mouse batteries were low and went glitchy.
Posted @ Friday, February 17, 2012 3:34 PM by DW
I live with a husband who has recently become completely deaf and this is making our lives very complicated. He lip-reads if it is simple, but anything complicated I have to write him a note. My question is: could voice recognition software help us to communicate? I have a 10 inch portable computer with Windows 7 installed, in addition to a 15 inch lap-top with Windows Vista and a desk-top running Windows XP. 
Any observations would be welcome.
Posted @ Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:48 PM by Sylvia Page
Sylvia, you could use a tablet PC running Windows7 to dictate your voice so your husband can read what you say like what this instructor did for deaf students: 
Tablet PCs have always had a pretty good voice recognition. In addition, it has an awesome handwriting recognition system that can voice what you scribble down in digital ink!
Posted @ Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:24 AM by bluscarab
As a teacher I commend those who are developing assistive technology with computers. It has opened doors for students and adults alike in the learning process.  
I use Windows 7, 64 bit - works fine but I would like to see it go further for use on other applications like Photoshop.  
Posted @ Friday, May 18, 2012 12:18 PM by dolores
Does this Dragon Natural Speaking support Chinese language too?
Posted @ Friday, June 29, 2012 3:12 AM by Acapulsky
The woman whose husband has recently become deaf mioght want to contact Vocational rehabilitation for information on resorces on hand held communication devices. They have been around for years through various vendors. THey range from about $100 for one the shape of a pen and others the size of a very small book that could fit in his back pocket.You might try to locate an organization in your state.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 17, 2012 6:16 PM by Deb
I am inquiring about voice regonition tools for Windows 7.
Posted @ Monday, July 30, 2012 12:39 AM by Stephen Hart
Hello, i bough a Dragon 11 Premium for students and trying to teach it to understand me... I made a profile, read a lot of texts, tried to correct mistakes by repeating/typing words.. but Dragon still does a lot of mistakes :(( English is my 2nd language my native is Russian.. Dragon doesn't have a russian accent in it profile so I can't use it...Any sugestions which can help me with dragon? or should I try W7 speech recognition? Does W7 have a russian accent to make a profile? P.S. I have Toshiba Qosmio laptop,i7,2Ghz Win7 64bit, 8Gb RAM Thank you for any sugestions if you have it for me.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 21, 2012 3:08 PM by BuKa
Poster Pat S , you hit the nail on the head. Most Sys7 users are finding out the hard way, how expensive this new OS Sys7 is really costing them.  
<bold>To Condense and Simplify:  
System 7 is a very poor, unstable and incompatible Operating System.</bold>  
Solutions: (1.) Upgrade to XP. (2.) Install the maximum amount of System RAM that will fit, but not less than 8gb, or you will continue to have software problems. See item 1 for reason. 
Sorry to be blunt, but that is the bottom line.
Posted @ Saturday, September 01, 2012 1:17 PM by MaximusIPChief
Thank you all for your posts. It has been very informative in making my decision. I am going with Dragon, as I am not that computer savy and I want the least amount of frustration for my on-site dictation at work.
Posted @ Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:33 PM by Shannon Kasallis
thanks for all the comments, I'm writing a manuscript and since college when I had to type many, many papers I developed arthritis in my pinky fingers and it's painful to type! I almost bought Dragon but read some negative comments on Amazon and that was when I discovered Windows 7 speech recognition. It works ok but horrible accuracy and I've been debating about buying Dragon because I think it may be more accurate. Now I think it may be my headset, it's a year old and sat on a shelf for the better part of the year, so I'll try a new headset before I buy Dragon (even though I may spend as much money, Dragon 11 is only $29 on Amazon). I'd like to stick with the Windows version because I don't need it to navigate my computer, I just need it to type 1000+ words at a time - but it needs to be as close to accurate as possible or it's useless. When I go back and read over what I've dictated the past few days, the accuracy is so bad that I can't even make out what I was talking about, several words at a time are wrong and there's errors in every sentence. So, I hope the new microphone helps, I'll comment back with the results.
Posted @ Friday, September 14, 2012 1:30 PM by Maggie
I have recently used both windows seven speech recognition and dragon naturally speaking, so can post comment on both. I tried using the windows program first, but after seeing DNS version 11.5 on sale at Amazon for only $27.00 thought that might be a more functional program as well as being more accurate. 
Dragon worked really well for about the first week, but then it suddenly started developing some weird problems. I use Microsoft word quite a bit and I noticed that when I tried to correct a word, although the correction box would select the proper word, it would not replace the wrong word but instead simply added correct one immediately preceding it. That meant that I had to manually remove the first (incorrect) word, which quickly became a royal pain in the butt. The only program in which this weird problem did not occur was the software's own "dragon pad" - it even happened when trying to dictate into website dialog boxes. 
Dragons next problem to appear was in using my e-mail client, Thunderbird. It was nice to be able to type directly in the e-mail composition window, but in addition to the odd correction problem DNS began suddenly becoming non responsive or flat out crashed. While all of these problems were happening I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling the program several times but it never failed: after a couple of days the same problems began all over again. The last straw was when the program started getting equally twitchy when using Firefox. At that point I gave up, removed DNS, and went back to using the windows speech recognition which is what I am using at the moment. 
One thing I really disliked about DNS was that there is no reliable method to select specific areas on a webpage. The program says that you can simply say commands such as " click OK" or "click sign in" but the reality is that it's a total shot in the dark as to whether that will work on any given web page. It does have a feature called "mouse grid" but it is much more time consuming than the simple "show numbers" command in the windows utility which allows the user to directly select a particular part of the webpage without having to narrow it down with the grid command. 
As for accuracy, in my opinion DNS is more accurate when it works properly… Which in my case was very infrequently! I find that I do have to correct more words when using the windows program, but on the plus side when I do have to make a correction it does it properly-not like DNS did. 
My main complaint about the windows program is that when I am using it in other programs such as my e-mail client or on web pages, it types things into the little popup dialog box and I find that it is much much less accurate in responding to a command than it is when dictating directly into wordpad. For instance when I am composing an e-mail with the windows program I cannot type directly into the e-mail composition window; my dictation goes into the little speech recognition dialogue box and when I am finished I have to say "insert" in order to have that text inserted into the body of the e-mail message. About 50% of the time, the program treats the commands " insert" as an additional word and puts it into the box as text instead of performing the function. So then I have to manually delete that word and either try the command again or simply manually click the box. My work around to this issue has been too dictate my e-mail messages into wordpad, in which at least I know the correction feature works properly every time, and then copy paste that text into the body of an e-mail message. Yes it is an extra step which it would be nice not to have to take, but it is much less annoying that having the program constantly crash the way that DNS did. I do the same thing when I need to compose something in word, in which I find it responds less accurately in the windows program than if I dictate into wordpad instead. 
In closing, I would like to mention that in typing this post I'd estimate that I probably had to correct about two dozen words.
Posted @ Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:05 AM by chatsworth
But now I want to know how they both compare to Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 speech recognition!
Posted @ Saturday, January 19, 2013 3:05 AM by S66
Maggie, which one worked better for you? I have hours of interviews I have to do and then have to transcribe and I was told the best solution was to record and then repeat what I hear while listening to the playback, using either W7 or DNS. I have been trying out W7 by taking quotes from a book into Word using the W7 voice utility for the past two days and it is painful. It took many hours to come up with just a few clean pages, so I'm wondering if DNS is any better? I am a native English speaker and I really worked at articulating, but it still messed up every other sentence. It is academic writing, but surprisingly it had as much or more problem with the easy stuff as some of the longer words or personal names. It must be able to look on one's hard drive for clues, because it correctly spelled proper names like Nesbitt, but also kept spelling the word "page" as Paige. I have a relative with that name and so there are undoubtedly files on my computer with that name. At least that is my explanation for it. I wish it had a little artificial intelligence to know context or usage, that if I am saying "on page two", I probably don't want my relative's name, Paige there. It kept doing that error over and over. Does anyone else have advice?
Posted @ Wednesday, January 23, 2013 2:24 AM by Debbie
In response to the following post by S66: 
"But now I want to know how they both compare to Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 speech recognition!" 
We will address this blog topic in the next month. Please check back with us and thank you for the suggestion! 
Mike McLaughlin 
Trigon Technology
Posted @ Wednesday, January 23, 2013 5:31 AM by Trigon
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