NVDA screen reader problems
If and when you discover a bug in NVDA, you can
create a ticket and have it looked into. For a written tutorial on
the basics of making a ticket for NVACCESS please visit the
following link The
basics of making a ticket for NVACCESS
How to get to Task Manager
On a Windows machine, you can
press the following keys to get to the Task Manager menu.
Press Windows + x, followed
by t, and t again.
You can also use Ctrl + Shift + Esc to go
straight into Task Manager.
When the task manager comes up, leave it a
couple of seconds, then either use first letter navigation
keys - or arrow down to the item you want to stop the task on.
Tab a couple of times until you hear NVDA say end task. Press
the Spacebar. Now the task will end. Use Alt + F4 to close the
NVDA remote add-on not
If you go to connect to another NVDA user's
machine (and if both of you are using the NVDA screen reader
along with the NVDA remote add-on)... when you access tools,
remote, connect... it closes and says desktop instead of the
connect options. You might have to do the following:
Bring up the Windows Run dialogue command by pressing the
following: Windows key + letter R then type in the following
%appdata%\nvda and delete remote.ini.
Then, go back and reinstall the add-on making sure you have
the latest version of it.
Locating the nvda.old log in
In some cases, you might be
surfing a website or using a program and NVDA might stop
talking. If you restart NVDA with the Alt key + Ctrl key + the
letter N an nvda.old log will be generated - hopefully
catching the cause of the problem.
The nvda.old log can be found by doing the following... Press
the Windows key + the letter R to bring up the run dialogue,
then type in %temp% then press the Enter key.
When the next screen comes up, use the letter N to get to the
log. You are looking for a file called nvda-old.log
This file can be copied and pasted to your desktop. You can
then copy and paste the contents of the file into an email and
report it to NVaccess. You can not add an attachment as part
of your email, so the contents of the log will have to be
pasted into it. It can be reported as an issue to be fixed.
When reporting an issue, please give all steps used, and how
to reproduce the bug (for example which version of Windows you
were using at the time, which programme and which version of
NVDA that you were using at the time the problem
happened). You can send any logs to firstname.lastname@example.org
(along with a description so they know what it's about) or
report it as an issue to be fixed.
The basics of making a ticket for
Some things to check if
NVDA does not start
In some cases, when you go to use either a USB
stick or a CD with NVDA on it, NVDA may not start. Here are some
things you can check:
- The autoplay menu may be disabled on the
computer you are going to use.
- There may be EXE blocking software stopping
NVDA from working. This is mainly found on public
networks or public access points.
- You may be accidentally putting the disk in
upside down if using a CD.
- You may not have followed directions
correctly and may be missing something or adding in things
that do not need to be in the file name or folder name.
- An anti virus programme may be scanning the
file before loading it.
How to completely
uninstall NVDA from your computer
Sometimes there may be
cases where you need to completely uninstall NVDA from your
computer. This may be in the case where you have tried reverting
to a saved configuration back a few steps; or reset
configuration to factory defaults and the problem is still not
You would only really do
this if NVDA was not running correctly. You would only
uninstall NVDA fully if the above steps did not fix the problem.
To completely uninstall
NVDA from your computer, you will need to do the following
You might need another
screen reader such as Narrator - which is found on all Windows
7, 8 and 10 computers - to be started and used while you remove
NVDA, as of course NVDA cannot be used to remove itself.
Older versions of Narrator
could be started with the Windows key + Enter key where much
newer versions use the Caps lock key + Windows key + the Enter
key. Narrator can also be found under the Ease of access center.
Some people might even
have a copy of NVDA (on a USB stick) that is not corrupted and
may be able to use it to completely uninstall the installed copy
of NVDA from their computer. They can then reinstall it from
that good copy of NVDA.
Press the Windows key, and
in the search box type the words “control panel”. Windows will
come up with a list of search results and one of them should be
the control panel. Press the Enter key on it, and you will be
taken into the control panel itself.
On a Windows 10 machine,
you will need to locate the program and features icon, then
press the Enter key to go into it. In older versions of Windows,
you might be looking for an add/remove programs icon. The screen
reader then should land on a list of programs on your computer.
Locate the reference to NVDA and you should hear the following
A; Publisher: NV Access; Installed On: 6/18/2018; Version:
2018.2.1. The version number of NVDA will depend on what you
Next, use the applications
key (while still on the NVDA reference) and a context menu will
come up. It will then give you the option to uninstall/change.
Press the Enter key on this menu and NVDA will be uninstalled
from your computer.
If your computer does not
have an applications key, you can use the Shift and F10 keys to
bring up this context menu.
Now, to completely
uninstall NVDA settings altogether, press the Windows key + the
letter R. When the run dialogue comes up, type in the following
%appdata% then press the Enter key. You should hear the
following when you go into this section: Roaming Window. Here it
will give you a list of folders. Locate the folder that refers
to NVDA, then delete it from that section. Use the Alt key + F4
key to close this window.
you go to reinstall NVDA to your computer, make sure that the
copy of NVDA you are using is not corrupted. It is advisable
to grab a new copy of NVDA from NVACCESS first, and download
it to your computer then install it from that copy.
There may be times when an
add on might cause problems with NVDA. It could be the last add
on you have installed that is causing the problem; or it may be
one that was passed onto you. There are a couple of ways to
troubleshoot to see if it is an add on causing it.
You could disable one add
on at a time, or do them all at once.
To disable all the add ons
at once (while NVDA is running) use the NVDA key + letter Q. A
dialogue will come up and NVDA will default to the exit option.
It is a combo box. Next, arrow down until you hear NVDA say
“Restart with add-ons disabled”,
then tab to the OK button, then press the Enter key. Now
all your add ons are disabled.
your add ons one by one, (to try and track down the add-on
causing the problem), while NVDA is running, press the NVDA key
+ letter N. Next, arrow down to the tools menu and a sub menu
will come off it. Arrow down again until you hear NVDA say
manage add ons, then press the Enter key. The add on manager
will appear and NVDA will default to the very first add on you
have there. As you arrow down this list you will hear they have
been disabled. You can then re-enable one add on at a time,
testing to see which one caused the problem.
To re-enable one add on at
a time, locate the add on, then tab to the enable add on button
and press the Enter key. After you have found the add on causing
the problem, you can then remove it. Locate the remove button
then follow the directions to remove the add on. Make sure that
after you have finished in the add on manager, that you tab to
the close button (to close the add on manager) then press the
This will restart NVDA.
Always check for the
latest add-on as it may have been fixed in an update.
Disabling sound enhancements
Sometimes when there is an update for Windows,
you may hear a buzzing sound (and other strange noises) from the
computer while using NVDA.
If this is the case, you will need to turn off sound enhancements
in Windows for your sound card. The steps to turn it off may be
similar for other Windows 10 computers.
Press the Windows key, and in the search box type sound settings.
When it comes up with this result, press the Enter key. The first
option might say Choose your output device Speakers (High
Definition Audio Device). Next, tab once to device properties,
then press the Enter key. The next screen that comes up will say
home. If you tab about 7 times you will then hear NVDA say
Additional device properties. Press the enter key.
The next screen should come up with speaker properties. Shift tab
back once or twice - until you hear NVDA say General. There are 5
tabs there. Use your right arrow key to get to the enhancements
tab, then tab a couple of times until you hear NVDA say Disable
all enhancements. This should be a check box. Please note, in some
cases, after you tab once (after the enhancements tab) you might
need to arrow down or tab to locate the disable all enhancements
checkbox. You will hear other stuff for the sound card being
spoken out, but they can be left unchecked. You will need to tab
to hear the "disable enhancements" checkbox if you arrowed down
the list of enhancements and check the checkbox with the Spacebar.
You will then need to apply and ok your changes with the Spacebar.
Now, those weird buzzing sounds etcetera should be gone!
How to access safe
mode in Windows and exit it with the NVDA screen reader by
Hareth and co
What is safe
Safe mode is a
troubleshooting option for Windows that starts your computer in
a limited state. Only the basic files and drivers necessary to
run Windows are started. Safe mode is useful for troubleshooting
problems with programs and drivers that might not start
correctly or that might prevent Windows from starting correctly.
To use NVDA in
You will need to install a
registry patch first. This file can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/jr72u3sk7p0za2r/Activate_Sound_in_Win10_Safe_Mode.zip?dl=0
After it has been installed
it will allow you to use NVDA in safe mode. This has been tested
on a Windows 7 and Windows 10 machine and with quite a few
different sound cards.
Directions to go into and out of
safe mode in Windows
You can reboot in to safe
mode by doing the following:
Press Windows plus R and
type msconfig and hit Enter
Press Ctrl plus Tab to get
to the "boot tab"
Tab to "safe boot" and check
the check mark/check box.
Tab to "base video" and
check it as well.
Tab to the apply button. Press Enter (or spacebar).
Tab to the OK button and
press it. You should get a prompt to restart the computer to
apply the changes.
If you select "restart now"
your PC should restart into safe mode.
Please note: When the
registry patch has been installed, when you go into safe mode, you will have sound and
be able to use the NVDA screen reader.
Message you will get while
in safe mode
To confirm you are in safe mode, you can use the NVDA key +
letter B. Below is the type of message you will get as an
example on a Windows 10 machine.
Safe Mode Microsoft (R)
Windows (R) (Build 16299.rs3_release.170928-1534) Safe Mode
After finishing your PC job with safe mode, do
the same steps above, but this time uncheck the two check boxes
above for both safe boot, and base video. Tab to apply and press Enter.
Tab to OK and press Enter (or spacebar) and restart. Your PC
will restart to the normal mode.
- Using Narrator to get NVDA up and running when
autoplay menus are not enabled
An audio tutorial on How to start NVDA
using Narrator in Windows 7 can be found at the following link
An audio tutorial on How to start NVDA using Narrator in Windows 8
can be found at the following link
If for some reason NVDA doesn't start from your USB stick (or run
automatically from your CD) as mentioned in the audio tutorials,
you can also try starting NVDA with narrator (which comes with
Windows Narrator can be launched when the autoplay menu (needed to
run NVDA from a CD) is not enabled in Windows. This could be from
either a CD or a USB stick. You may find it a lot easier to get
your copy of NVDA up and running this way. Even though Windows
Narrator is a very basic screen reader, it is however useful in
some cases. One of these cases is starting Windows Narrator so you
can get a copy of NVDA running from a USB stick or CD. Launching
Windows Narrator is also a good way to see what is happening on
your computer screen via audible feedback, until you get NVDA up
and running from whichever media you are using.
There are a couple of different ways to start a copy of Windows
Narrator. One of these ways is to start Windows Narrator through
the ease of access centre. The ease of access centre is found on
Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 computers. To launch the ease of access
centre in Windows (once Windows has started up fully), and the
desktop is showing; Press the Windows key and the letter U. This
will bring up the ease of access centre. Arrow down once to the
first option. This is the Windows Narrator option. Press the Enter
key and Windows Narrator will begin talking. You may like to make
some adjustments if they are needed (such as the speed of the
The other alternatives on a Windows 7 machine, are when you press
the Windows key (to bring up the start menu); in the search
box type in the word Narrator, then press the Enter key. A couple
of seconds later Windows Narrator should come up running.
You can also get Windows Narrator up and running on a Windows 8
and 8.1 machine as well. When you press the Windows key (to bring
up the Windows 8 metro screen), type in the word Narrator, then
press the Enter key. This will bring up a copy of Windows Narrator
as well. Again, if you need to make any adjustments to
Windows narrator, you can do this at this point (for example the
speed of the voice etcetera).
Next, minimize Windows Narrator (with the Windows key and the
letter M). This will minimize all windows on the computer. Next,
insert either your USB stick (with a copy of NVDA on it), or your
CD (that didn't autorun when inserted). If there are no autoplay
menus that come up, you will need to navigate to the section where
your drives are. For example C: drive D: drive and so on. The
naming of this section may vary from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1.
(For example it is called "computer" on Windows 7, and " this pc"
on Windows 8.1). On most computers, there is a shortcut to the
relevant section. The Windows key and the letter E should
quickly get you into this section on your computer as well.
Once you have located this section, arrow down to the "devices
with removable storage" section and locate your drive. (For
example the D:\ could be your CD/DVD rom if you inserted a disc,
or the E:\ , F:\ , or G:\ drive etcetera might be your USB stick.
Once it is found, press the Enter key. This will take you inside
the drive. Remember to label your USB stick or CD something
relevant, so that it is easy to find when you need it.
If for example you only had the one file on your USB stick, and it
was called NVDA 2014.3.exe, then it would be a matter of finding
it (making sure it is highlighted) and pressing the Enter key on
it to start a copy of NVDA; (where it gives you the 3 options as
follows: 1 to install to your computer, 2 to make a portable copy
or 3 to run as a temporary copy).
Depending upon which media you use, and which way you set up your
USB stick or CD, will depend on which way you start it. (For
example if only the NVDA_2014.3.exe file was used, then you would
click on that file. If a folder was used called NVDA, then it
would be the nvda.exe file you would click on). It may depend if a
start.bat file was used and so on, and how it was set up either on
your USB stick or CD.
Once NVDA is up and running , then just do a quick Alt/Tab to
bring up the Windows Narrator programme and turn it off.
Please also see my other NVDA tutorials on starting NVDA from a
USB stick or CD to discover other ways of getting NVDA to start.
- How to revert changes in NVDA
From time to time you might get yourself into
trouble. This may be something as simple as accidentally changing
your language from your preferred language to another one you
don't understand (for example changing it from English to a
foreign language). The menus may still be in English but you will
hear NVDA speak in the other language.
This tutorial will cover (using a couple of different ways) the
basics of changing the voice back to your default language (for
example back to English from the other language). It will also
cover going back a configuration or 2, as well as resetting NVDA
to the factory default (should you need to do this). To listen to
the audio tutorial please go to https://www.dropbox.com/s/u00624n22hlfxwu/How%20to%20revert%20changes%20in%20NVDA.MP3?dl=0
- How to reset your language settings in NVDA
Once in a blue moon you may accidentally change
your default language to another that you don't understand. When
this happens and the language is changed from English to another
(under the language settings in the general settings section in
NVDA) this will also change the menus from English to that
language. It is hard enough hearing another language you do not
understand, but also having the menus in that language makes it
even harder to work out what to do.
If this ever happens to you, you could always try the following.
While NVDA is running, press the Insert key + Ctrl key + the
letter G (altogether). This will bring up the general settings
section in NVDA. NVDA will default to the language combo box.
Press the letter U (until you hopefully hear the words User
defaults), and once you do, tab down to the OK button, and press
the Enter key. A dialogue box will appear. You need to tab to the
OK button, and press Enter again on this and NVDA will
restart (so that the language reverts back to your user default
If you do not hear the words "user defaults" (because they are
being spoken in a foreign language) there are only 2 other
languages starting with the letter U and user defaults makes it 3.
Press the letter U until it lands on one starting with the letter
U. One of them will be the user defaults one. You may have to
repeat the process up to 3 times before you find the user defaults
language, Tab to the OK button, and then press the Enter key to
revert it back. This may not be spoken in English when you are
doing this. NVDA will have to be restarted. Just say yes to this
(by pressing the OK button and pressing Enter) and you should be
good to go again.
This is the easiest way to do it (via the general
settings/language combo box). The same idea could be used to find
your preferred language (for example English). You would simply
press the first letter of your language (for example E for
English, F for French, D for Dutch and so on).
Please note, that once you have changed the language to another,
the user default may appear as an option in the other language
(but you may not be able to locate if you are not fluent in that
other language). To listen to the audio tutorial please go to https://www.dropbox.com/s/ldayzqv8qiqsdte/How%20to%20reset%20your%20language%20settings%20in%20NVDA.MP3?dl=0
some cases, you might ask someone to do some work on your
computer. In a lot of cases, the person helping might mute the
sound coming out of the computer. This is usually done through
the notification area under the speaker volume section (by
checking the checkbox to mute the master volume sound). Some
multimedia keyboards also have a mute button on the keyboard,
and when pressed will mute the sound. Pressing this button again
will unmute the sound, so it may be a good idea to mark the
button just in case it is also accidently hit.
- Some things to try if you have no speech from NVDA
some cases, they might simply turn off the speakers, or turn
down the volume on the speakers. Check the on/off button first
to see if they are turned off; next adjust the volume by turning
it to the right to try and get sound out of them.
also the mute button on the keyboard if you are aware of it.
for any reason NVDA starts up without speech, it may be because
a trial version of a synthesiser package has ended, and may have
put NVDA into a no speech mode. If this happens, press the NVDA
key + Ctrl key + the letter S. This will bring up the
synthesiser settings menu. Next, press the letter E, so NVDA
lands on the E speak synthesiser package. Tab twice to the ok
button, then press the Enter key and NVDA should change to that
package. You could also try toggling NVDA, just in case the
person set NVDA to speech mode off. Use the NVDA key + the
letter S to try and toggle it back until you hear NVDA say
speech mode talk. If for any reason NVDA crashes and you find
NVDA is no longer talking, press the Alt key + Ctrl key + the
letter N. This will restart NVDA from the crash.
could even ask the person helping you to just turn off NVDA
(with the NVDA key + the letter Q), so all you have to do is
start NVDA again when he/she is finished.
the steps above don’t work, then try using the step below to see
if it works.
the Windows key + the letter R to bring up the Windows run
type in sndvol, then press the Enter key.
will bring up the volume control speakers panel. For example:
Volume Mixer - Speakers (High Definition Audio Device).
will land on the volume slider. Tab once; this should land NVDA
on the mute check box. Press the space bar once, and the
checkbox should be unmuted. You should hear NVDA start speaking
the speakers in the last step worked on a Windows 7 machine, as
well as a Windows 10 machine. This might work on other versions
To listen to a brief audio tutorial on some things to try if you
have no speech from NVDA please go to the following link https://www.dropbox.com/s/uwstpzu7jjz8ygg/Some%20things%20to%20try%20if%20you%20have%20no%20speech%20from%20NVDA%20in%20Windows.MP3?dl=0
NVDA says “unknown” or “pane” in all of your browsers,
Mozilla Thunderbird email client and other places
If for some reason
you have problems with NVDA saying “unknown” or “pane” check
for the following symptoms:
In all of your
browsers, or the Mozilla Thunderbird email client, no
matter what you do, you still hear “unknown” or “pane”.
In the browser,
email client and other menus you notice you cannot get
into your menus, or you are unable to use the quick
When you have
been told the page is loaded and notice strange behaviour
Thunderbird saying unknown while you try to navigate it
applications key does not work with it being spoken out
and other strange behaviour in Windows
applications icons are not being spoken out
might be a good idea to do the following:
If you are hearing “unknown” or “pane” (as discussed above)
NVDA might seem like it is still working properly but it may
not be completely in Windows and other programmes.
You could try the
following solution which will allow you to re-register your
dll files in case they are causing the problem.
Windows key then type the following into the search box.
Type in “command prompt”. Once you have located command
prompt, in the search results, press the Applications key to
bring up the context menu. Arrow down to select “run as
administrator” and press the Enter key. This will take you
to a command prompt window. This will not be spoken out. You
may need sighted assistance for this.
Type in the
Old NVDA, Pre 2019.3
Current NVDA 2019.3 onward
re-register all components in the system32 folder.
When it is finished,
you can close the command prompt window with the Alt + F4 key.
You should notice now where NVDA was saying “unknown” as in
some examples given, NVDA should now read the icons in the
running applications area of Windows, speak the content of the
webpage and menus, and also in Mozilla Thunderbird and other
places in Windows including the Windows applications context
Run COM Registration
If you are getting any of the following problems
below - with Windows unregistering some of the files needed by
NVDA - the following tool section in NVDA will get you out of
trouble. To access this tool press the NVDA key + letter N while
NVDA is running. Arrow down to the tools menu. A submenu will come
up. Arrow down to the menu called Run COM Registration Fixing
tool... then press the Enter key. It should register the
files needed by NVDA.