Window-Eyes: Performance, Reliability, and Stability
"Unleashing the power of your mind's eye."
©1995-2007 GW Micro, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Phone: 260-489-3671
Released: 4/11/2007

[Please note: The following information can also be found in the Window-Eyes Readme option, under the Help menu in the Window-Eyes Voice Control Panel.]

Welcome to Window-Eyes 6.1


You are about to experience the cutting edge leader in screen access technology: Window-Eyes 6.1.

GW Micro is proud to offer Window-Eyes 6.1, the most powerful screen reader to support Microsoft’s newest operating system: Windows Vista. Window-Eyes 6.1 provides the familiar and expected stability, performance, and reliability under Microsoft’s newest operating system, along with Windows 2000, XP, and 2003. Some exciting changes have happened in Window-Eyes 6.0 and Window-Eyes 6.1. Read on to learn more.

Keeping In Touch

Now that you have the power of Window-Eyes at your fingertips, why not join up with other Window-Eyes users on the GW-Info e-mail list? To subscribe, visit, enter your email address in the email edit box, and select the Subscribe GW-Info button. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail message to Leave the subject blank, and type "join gw-info, your email address" in the body (without the quotes, but note that the comma is required). For example, "join gw-info,"

Regardless of the method you choose, you will receive a confirmation. Reply to that confirmation (with no modification) and you will become a member of the largest public network of Window-Eyes users, always eager and willing to answer any questions you may have. Although we encourage all users to help each other with questions and problems, you can take comfort in knowing that the GW-Info list is constantly monitored by GW Micro employees.

You may also contact us directly by using the contact information listed above.

Thank You!

Window-Eyes is developed with you in mind. Please feel free to contact us regarding any questions, comments, or suggestions that you may have; we are anxious to hear from you. Now read on to learn more about your latest investment, and thank you for choosing Window-Eyes!


When installing Window-Eyes 6.1, you will be asked if you want to make a backup of your existing set files. If you choose yes, the Window-Eyes installation will default the Path edit box to a location of x:webackup (where x: is the drive letter where Window-Eyes is currently installed). You may, however, enter a path in the Path edit box manually, or select a different location using the Directories tree view provided. Note that you should not choose your Window-Eyes directory as a location for backing up your set files, as that directory will be removed if Window-Eyes is ever uninstalled. If you choose no to the backup prompt, no backup of your existing set files will be created.

New Features in Window-Eyes 6.1

The following section provides detailed information about the new features of Window-Eyes 6.1. Please read through this documentation carefully so that you can use the new features of Window-Eyes successfully.

Windows Vista

Window-Eyes 6.1 provides complete access to all versions of Microsoft’s newest operating system: Windows Vista. Windows Vista is similar to Windows XP in terms of layout: there’s a start menu, task bar, system tray, and desktop, all of which you can tab between. Windows Explorer still lets you browse your file system, the Internet and Email are still accessible through Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Mail (formerly known as Outlook Express), and all other third party applications will still sound and feel the same. Window-Eyes 6.1 provides additional access to some of Vista’s new features, including:

* Start Menu
- Integrated desktop search – Just enter the name of an application you want to run (for example, Word), and press ENTER. If multiple search results are found, just arrow up and down through the options, and press ENTER on the one you want to launch. Window-Eyes will also automatically read the selected item as it changes. All of this functionality is contained completely within the start menu.
- All Programs tree view – Instead of using multiple expanding menus, the All Programs menu now resolves to a tree view listing all installed applications. The standard method of opening and closing the various folders and files works similar to other tree views. This feature is also contained completely in the start menu.
- Tab between various portions – Common folders and shutdown/power tasks are also included in the start menu. Simply press the TAB key to move between each start menu group. After pressing TAB, use your arrow keys to move through the items in that group. Press ENTER on the selected item to open it.

* Windows Explorer
- Address – The address area in Windows Explorer is similar to the breadcrumb feature found on some web pages: it contains items that show you how to get back to where you started. For example, opening up the Window-Eyes program folder causes the command bar to display “Program Files -> GW Micro -> Window-Eyes,” with each of the options linked to their respective folders. Once you select one of the items in the command bar, you can either press ENTER to open that selected folder, or press the DOWN ARROW to open a list of folders contained in the selected folder.
- Search – Much like the search feature of the start menu, each Windows Explorer window also contains a search edit box.
- Navigation pane – The navigation pane provides links to common folders, as well as a tree view containing all of the drives, folders, and files on your computer.
- Command Bar – The command bar displays tasks that are relevant to the files displayed in the Explorer window. For example, a folder containing music files will have command bar buttons that are relative to music tasks, such as a Burn command for burning music to a CD. A list of documents might bring up other command bar actions, such as emailing or sharing the selected file.
- List View Headers – When you’re in a list of files or folders, pressing TAB once takes you to the current folder’s list view headers. List view headers function differently under Windows Vista than they do under XP. First, the headers are always present, regardless of which view your folder is in. Second, you can actually TAB to the headers, and arrow through them. Once you have selected a header, you can press the DOWN ARROW to open a menu containing various options for the selected header.
- Additional Views – Windows Vista introduces new methods of sorting files in Windows Explorer, including Group by, and Stack By. For example, using Group By Name, Explorer will group folders and files into alphabetical groups A-H, I-P, Q-Z. Names like Internet Explorer would show up in the I-P group. Window-Eyes would show up in the Q-Z group. Groups can also be expanded (to display all contained files and folders) or collapsed (to hide all contained files and folders).

* Security Features
- User Account Control – When issuing a command in Windows Vista that requires special permission to run (such as opening the Device Manager, or running an Administrator tool), a User Account Control dialog will pop up, asking you for your permission to continue with the task. Window-Eyes provides full access to all UAC prompts.

* Login Screen – As with Windows XP, the Windows Vista login screen is fully accessible. One special note about the login screen is that you may hear a different voice from what you have selected as a normal user. This is due to the fact that Window-Eyes is using the settings provided during the initial installation rather than your current user settings.

* Switching Users – Unlike Windows XP, Window-Eyes fully supports switching users under Windows Vista. Multiple users are able to stay logged in at the same time. Each of those users could even be running Window-Eyes, and any changes made to Window-Eyes would only affect the user currently logged in.

* Common Applications
- Internet Explorer – Windows Vista ships with Internet Explorer 7. If you’re familiar with IE7 under Windows XP, you’ll be right at home with IE7 under Windows Vista.
- Windows Mail – Formerly known as Outlook Express, Windows Mail provides an easy, familiar way to access email under Windows Vista.
- Windows Media Player – Windows Vista ships with Windows Media Player 11. If you’re familiar with WMP11 under Windows XP, you’ll be right at home with WMP11 under Windows Vista.
- Windows Games – Microsoft enhanced the functionality of Windows Games (such as Minesweeper, Solitaire, Mahjong, etc.), and Window-Eyes takes full advantage of the games that have been enhanced.
- Remote Desktop – Just like under Windows XP, Window-Eyes works seamlessly with Windows Vista Remote Desktop. Window-Eyes also fully supports Citrix and Terminal Services under Windows Vista.

NOTE: There are several versions of Windows Vista. Some versions may not contain some features listed above (such as support for Remote Desktop). For more information on the differences between various versions of Windows Vista, please visit

Video Drivers

GW Micro has worked very closely with Microsoft to incorporate mirror driver technology in Window-Eyes, a significant enhancement over DCM used in previous versions of Windows. The Window-Eyes mirror driver technology makes working with video adapters (such as updating drivers, or installing new video cards) a seamless task.

Regardless of whether you’re using the latest high end video card with the latest Vista drivers, using a lower end card running only XP drivers, or a high end video card with XP drivers, Window-Eyes will function the same, ensuring full access regardless of video adapter.

Automatic Changes

Although customization is possible, it is not necessary for Window-Eyes to function under Windows Vista. In other words, you don’t have to change resolutions, schemes, or the like for Window-Eyes to read. Graphic labels do require the default theme, but there is no need to set Vista to use the “Classic” view, as was often suggested (although also not required) under Windows XP.

Microsoft mirror driver technology automatically disables many visual affects, thereby increasing performance and accuracy for adaptive technology using mirror drivers (such as Window-Eyes). Some of the changes made automatically include:

* Disabling Aero/Glass (if enabled)
* Disabling ClearType
* Disabling Window and Menu animation
* Disabling Menu and Mouse Shadows

Locations of Files

Due to security restrictions, installing under the root of your default hard drive isn’t a simple task under Windows Vista. To conform to the Microsoft installation standards, the Window-Eyes program files will be installed (by default) to C:Program FilesGW MicroWindow-Eyes. Under previous operating systems, set files were stored in a usersdefault folder under the Window-Eyes program data folder. This is no longer possible under Windows Vista, so set files are stored (by default) in C:UsersAppDataRoamingGW MicroWindow-Eyesusersdefault (where is the name of the currently logged in user).

To maintain consistency, new installations of Window-Eyes, regardless of operating system, will conform to this new directory structure. If you upgrade a previous version of Window-Eyes (pre 6.1) under Windows 2000/XP/2003, however, your directory structure will be maintained, and will not be altered. The new directory structure is only used for new installations of Window-Eyes 6.1.

Ease of Access Center

Windows Vista contains a new control panel called Ease of Access Center, which contains all of the default accessibility tools that ship with the new operating system, including Narrator. Similar to Windows XP, the hot key WINDOWS-U will open the Ease of Access Center control panel. Unlike Windows XP, Narrator will not start speaking automatically. Once the Ease of Access Center control panel is open, press ALT-N to start Narrator.

Another caveat of the Ease of Access Center control panel is that it cannot be launched via the WINDOWS-U hot key while Window-Eyes is running. This is, according to Microsoft, by design. The Ease of Access control panel can still be accessed through the normal control panel window.

The Ease of Access Center control panel lets you choose which accessibility tools will launch automatically when Windows starts. Although Window-Eyes is listed in the Ease of Access Center control panel, its startup behavior should be controlled with the Startup Options in the Window-Eyes file menu.

Additional Features Between Window-Eyes 6.0 and Window-Eyes 6.1

Startup Options

The Window-Eyes startup options have been dramatically improved for all supported operating systems. The Startup Type option in the File menu has been renamed to Startup Options, and the startup dialog has been redesigned, and includes the following controls:

Administrative Options group box:
* L = Run Window-Eyes at the Login Screen - Check Box - Default: Checked - This system wide option allows administrator to control whether or not Window-Eyes will launch at the Windows login screen.
* R = Run Window-Eyes after login for all users - Check Box - Default: Checked - This system wide option allows administrators to control whether or not Window-Eyes will launch at the desktop after a user logs in.

Note: The previous check boxes will not be disabled under user accounts that do not have administrative privileges so that they can still be read. Changing them when not administrator, however, will result in an error message stating that you don't have permission to modify the settings in a non-administrator account.

After Login for Current User, Run Window-Eyes group box:
* U = Using Above Configuration - Radio Button - Default: Checked, A = Always - Radio Button - Default: Unchecked, N = Never - Radio Button - Default: Unchecked - This option allows the currently logged in user to control how Window-Eyes starts after logging in. If Using Above Configuration is selected, Window-Eyes will launch after login for the current user based on the administrators settings specified in the previous check boxes. If Always is selected, Window-Eyes will always launch for the current user after login for the current user, regardless of the second administrative option check box described above. If Never is selected, Window-Eyes will never launch for the current user after login, regardless of the second administrative option check box described above.

These options provide administrators control for all system users, and provide each individual user control for themselves.

* S = Set Admin Options - Button - Note: This button is only available under Windows Vista, and will only be enabled if Window-Eyes is not already running as an elevated process. - This option will bring up the User Account Control dialog, providing true Vista administrator privileges for modifying administrative Window-Eyes Startup options. The administrator check boxes described above will not be active under Vista until the Set Admin Options button has been selected, and the UAC dialog has been successfully confirmed.

The Startup options in the Window-Eyes install have also changed to reflect these new settings. Both administrative check boxes (described above) are enabled for both the Quick Install and Custom Install

List View Grouping

Window-Eyes now fully supports listview grouping under both Windows XP and Windows Vista. Listview groups allow you to group folder items in related sets. Listview groups are separated visually with a horizontal group header that describes the items in the group. You can group listview items alphabetically, by date, or any other logical grouping. For example, a folder of files could be grouped by date, putting files into categories like Last Week, Last Month, Two Months Ago, Yesterday, Today, and so on. Under Windows Vista, the group headers are focusable making navigation between groups quick and easy. Groups under Vista can also be collapsed and expanded, much like a tree view.

User Profiles

Window-Eyes Multi-User information has been changed to User Profiles. Window-Eyes now controls speech environments for individual operating system users automatically. Multiple user profiles can be created to support various speech environments for the currently logged in user.

Talking About Security

Along with stability and performance, Window-Eyes leads the way in security by taking advantage of Windows Vista security enhancements, such as User Account Control. Not only does Window-Eyes provide access to UAC dialog, it takes advantage of them when modifying administrative options, such as the new Window-Eyes Startup Options. Instead of requiring security options to be disabled, Window-Eyes strives to ensure all security enhancements are supported and encouraged, making your computing experience a safe and reliable one.

Enhancements between Window-Eyes 6.0 and Window-Eyes 6.1

The following section provides detailed information about the enhancements between Window-Eyes 6.0 and Window-Eyes 6.1.

Microsoft Office

Window-Eyes would re-speak message list information, or the title bar, when opening a message in Outlook. This problem has been resolved.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes would not read message context menus.

We fixed a problem where the attachment list was not reading correctly in Outlook 2007.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes was not reading the Outlook 2007 ribbon correctly.

Window-Eyes was not reading selected text, or the word "Selected" when selecting text in all versions of PowerPoint. This problem has been resolved.

The ribbon items in Word 2007 were not visible in Braille. This problem has been resolved. Now all ribbon items, including gallery controls, are available in Braille.

We fixed a problem in Word 2007 where Window-Eyes was not reading the first line of a document if it began with auto-corrected text.

We fixed a problem where line numbers (if visible) where not being read when using the mouse keys in Word.

We fixed a problem where the initial Outlook 2007 dialog regarding privacy and customer improvement was not being read correctly.

Window-Eyes was not reading all Office 2007 installation screens correctly under Vista. This problem has been resolved.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes was not reading numbering or bullet options on Word context menus.

We fixed a problem where INS-TAB would bring up on empty links list in Outlook Today.
We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes was not picking up the To field when composing a message in Outlook 2007.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes was not reading the manual filter option in Excel Auto Filters.

Link text in INS-TAB would be clipped in some Outlook 2007 messages. This problem has been resolved.

Window-Eyes now provides useful information when navigating through the Office 2007 Help treeview.

We have beefed up auto complete support for Outlook 2007.

We fixed a problem where the Office attribute command was not working in Outlook 2007.

Window-Eyes now reads group names more accurately when navigating in the Office 2007 ribbon.

Window-Eyes now read the checked/unchecked status of calendars in the Outlook 2007 calendar view.

We fixed a problem where tri-state checkboxes were not speaking in Office 2003.

Window-Eyes would sometimes double speak information in PowerPoint 2007 slide shows. This problem has been resolved.

Office 2007 help now works in Browse Mode.

We fixed a problem where the text in the PowerPoint notes pane was not showing up in our OSM.

Window-Eyes now correctly indicates checked items in gallery-like pulldown menus in the Office 2007 ribbon.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes had issues with non-printable strings in the Insert Form dialog in Office 2007 applications.

Browse Mode

We fixed a problem where Browse Mode would come back on after selecting items in combo boxes in Internet Explorer 7.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes would incorrectly read list box entries on web pages with multiple list boxes when using Internet Explorer 7.

We fixed a problem where combo box items were not being shown in Braille on some web pages when using Internet Explorer 7.

We fixed a problem where checking check boxes or radio buttons on a web page would cause the page to reload when using Internet Explorer 7.

In Firefox, if a password dialog popped up, Window-Eyes would re-read the entire dialog each time a key was pressed when typing a username or password. This problem has been resolved.

We have made some speed enhancements for Browse mode, regardless of browser choice.


Window-Eyes now includes updated support for the Handytech Braille displays. Note: this may require new Handytech drivers.

We have added support for the BrailleConnect, VarioConnect, Conny Braille displays, and the Papenmeier Braillex Trio.

We fixed a problem where Braille translation tables were not staying selected.

We fixed a sluggishness problem when using bluetooth with the Braillenote.

We fixed a problem where dates in Vista were presented with question mark characters in Braille.

We fixed a problem where some Braille settings, such as translation table languages, were not being saved correctly.

The Window-Eyes 6.1 installation will now install Braille drivers automatically if needed. Note: this only applies to all Handy Tech, Focus, and PacMate displays.


We fixed a problem where the Windows Media Player library list was not reading column titles.

When an autoplay dialog popped up, the list view text was being clipped. This problem has been resolved.

We now force punctuation off for key labels.

We fixed a problem where set files were not keeping their associations.

We fixed a problem where the Time/Date function would report incorrectly after the time zone was changed.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes was looking in the wrong place for set files under Windows Vista.

We fixed a problem where winks and emoticons were not reading in Windows Live Messenger.

Window-Eyes would not read correctly when inviting a contact to join a conversation in Windows Live Messenger. This problem has been resolved.

We have modified the Beginner menu level to include the Keyboard and Mouse voice options, as well as Keyboard Layout.

We fixed a problem where individual set files were not being listed in the Set File Manager for set files that were outdated.

We have made several changes in the Window-Eyes user interface in order to be more consistent, and logical. The list of changes is as follows:
* The window information dialog previously said, "Module, Window and Class Information." Now it says, "Window Information."
* The active files dialog previously said, "Active Files." Now it says, "Active File List."
* The select synthesizer dialog previously said, "Synthesizer Selection." Now it says, "Select Synthesizer."
* The dictionary selection dialog included the word "dialog." Now it does not.
* The error reporting dialog now says, "Window-Eyes Error Reporting."
* The attribute search selection dialog width was increased.
* The include user window with box dialog width was increased.
* "Line Filter Column" now says, "Line Filter Position."
* "Select Line Filter Status" now says, "Line Filter Status."
* "Select Keyboard Capital Mode" now says, "Keyboard Capital Mode."
* "Select Keyboard Voice Mode" now says, "Keyboard Voice."
* "Select Mouse Voice Mode" now says, "Mouse Voice."
* "Select Highlight Track" now says, "Highlight Track."
* "Select Capital Mode" now says, "Capital Mode."
* The Mouse menu item "Specify Mouse Highlight Window" has been changed to "Specify Highlight Window."
* The General menu item "Auto Speak Tooltips" has been changed to "Speak Tooltips."
* The controls in the Active File dialog have been rearranged to match the dictionary menus.

Window-Eyes was not reading any of the controls or menus in AIM 6.0. This problem has been resolved.

Window-Eyes would occasionally encounter problems when the Startup Type was set to Before Startup. This problem has been resolved. This should also fix problems when a user was logged in before Window-Eyes was fully loaded.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes could, under very specific circumstances, use more memory than necessary when launched.

We fixed an intermittent problem where Browse mode would not engage properly after logging in when Window-Eyes loaded at the login screen..

The Window-Eyes Voice Control Panel is now completely disabled on secure desktops (such as the login screen) for maximum security.

We fixed a problem where not all individual set files were being displayed in the Set File Manager.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes would triple speak entries in the Control Panel when set to use a list view.

The mouse pointer would often become visually sluggish when pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL, or locking the machine. This problem has been resolved.

We fixed a problem where the Window-Eyes system tray hot key (INS-S) would respond with "System Tray Unavailable" in Windows 2000.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes would quick speaking when creating lists in Lotus Notes 6.5.3.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes was incorrectly reading list view items in common open/save as dialogs.

We fixed a problem where Window-Eyes would say, "Custom Control" when opening bookmarks or the history windows were opened in Firefox.

We fixed a problem where list boxes were sluggish.

Sometimes, when an application opened, such as the Duxburry Braille Translator, focus would not go to the active window. This problem has been resolved.

We fixed some problems with Nero list boxes.

The Window-Eyes 6.1 installation now provides a silent install method. In order to do the silent install you need to run the setup.exe located in the wineyes dir from the Window-Eyes install CD. The following command line options available:

/vs - this option signals the install to be silent
/vn"name" - this option specifies the user name.
/vc"company" - this option specifies the company name.

Note the same checks are used with the /vn and /vc commands as would be done in the actual username/company dialog. Also note the name and company MUST be enclosed in quotes. If the name and/or company do not pass the same test used at the actual dialog, the install will run as if the silent parameter were not specified.

The silent install acts like the quick install except the startup options for at the logon screen and after logon are both disabled. The normal quick install has them both enabled. However you can use the following two parameters to force one or both startup options on:

/vb - forces before logon on
/va - forces after logon on

Set File Enhancements:

The following set files have been added or updated:
* Firefox
* Goldwave
* K1000
* Office XP/2003/2007
* Skype
* Outlook Express
* All InPlay
* Skype
* Window-Eyes Defaults
* Windows Explorer
* Libera
* Microsoft Outlook Express/Windows Mail
* All set files have been updated to include all Browse Mode hot keys, and to set the Mouse Voice to On with Pointer Identification Delayed (Dictionary Only)

You will need to use the Set File Manager to update any set file package for the applications that you use, including the Window-Eyes default sets. Once you have updated the Window-Eyes default set file package, you will need to restart Window-Eyes.

Performance and Stability Enhancements:

Thanks to the Window-Eyes error reporting utility, we have been able to track down and resolve over 20 elusive GPFs. Thank you to everyone who continues to report problems when they exist. Because of you, Window-Eyes continues to offer unprecedented stability.