Fixing problems with speech

Published by Claro Software on

The information on how to fix the problems with speech.


  • “It’s not reading anything any more!”
  • “I press Play and everything flashes really quickly in Word but no speech”
  • “I’ve installed a new piece of software and now ClaroRead/WordRead will not work”


  • Make sure you can hear non-speech sound – try Windows Media Player, or go to YouTube, and play a CD or any sound. If you can’t, then you have to fix your sound first.
  • Download and run SAPI5Test.exe – none of the voices work.
  • Open Control Panel > “Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices”> “Speech”. The panel does not appear. Try Cure Number 2 first.
  • If it does appear, switch to one of the Microsoft voices (for example, Sam, Anna, or Hazel). Click the Preview button: no sound is produced, or an error message results. Try Cure Number 3 first.
  • 32-bit Windows machines only: If a Microsoft voice works, but some or all of the Claro voices (e.g. ScanSoft Daniel_Full_22kHz or Vocalizer Daniel) do not speak, then go to Cure Number 4.
  • 64-bit Windows machines: our Claro voices will not show up in the Speech dialog in Control Panel. However you can launch the 32-bit Control Panel window by downloading and running our Speech Control Panel program. Go straight to Cure Number 4.


Cure 1 Reinstall SAPI5

You do this by running SAPI5.MSI from the Support folder on the Claro Software CD or download from the Claro Software support website. If that does not work, proceed to Number 2:

Cure 2 Re-register sapi.dll

Use the following instructions to re-register sapi.dll manually:

Re-registering sapi.dll on Windows XP

  1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Speech”. Right-click on sapi.dll, and select Open With from the drop-down menu, then select “Choose Program…” from the second menu.
  2. This will open the Open With dialog. Click the Browse button.
  3. Navigate to “C:\Windows\System32\regsvr32.exe”.
  4. Click OK and you should see “Microsoft (C) Register Server” as the selected program. Click OK.
  5. You should see this message (or something very similar): “DLLRegisterServer in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Speech\sapi.dll succeeded.”

Re-registering sapi.dll on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8

  1. Click on the Start button and type “command”. This will bring up “Command prompt” as one of the Programs you can run.
    The Vista Start menu showing Command prompt as one of the options.
  2. Right-click with the mouse on “Command prompt” to bring up the context menu. Select (left-click) the option “Run as Administrator”.
    Context menu showin Run As Administrator as one of the options
  3. You may have to OK a User Access Control (UAC) prompt. Confirm that you want to run ‘Command prompt’ as an administrator.
  4. You must now type a sequence of commands followed by the return key.
  5. First, if you are on a 64-bit machine, enter this line, pressing return at the end:
    cd syswow64

  6. Next, enter these lines, pressing return at the end of each:
    cd speech
    cd common
    regsvr32 sapi.dll
  7. You should see the message “DllRegisterServer in sapi.dll succeeded”, or something very similar. That’s it, you can now close the ‘Command prompt’ window.

Cure 3 Delete User Lexicons

This is a known Microsoft problem with speech and way to cure it, Microsoft Fix 838659.

  1. Click on Start and Run to bring up the Run box (on Vista, just click Start and start typing).
  2. Enter %appdata% into the Run box and press Return.
  3. Windows Explorer should now open in a folder called “Application Data”. Navigate by double-clicking on folders to “Application Data\Microsoft\Speech\Files\UserLexicons”. This will contain one or more files with very long filenames.
  4. Delete all the files in this UserLexicons folder. They will be recreated next time speech is used. Close Windows Explorer and restart your Claro program.

Cure 4 Repair ScanSoft RealSpeak Solo or Vocalizer Expressive voices

If you find that some or all of your ScanSoft RealSpeak Solo voices or Vocalizer Expressive voices (all from Nuance) have stopped working then it is likely that a recent installation has broken the voice system. This is most easily fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling the Claro voices: you can safely install Claro voices after any other vendor’s voices.

You can find the Claro voice installers on the Claro installation CD. Look in the Voices folder – either on the CD directly on in the Programs folder. Each of the MSI files in there starting RS (e.g. RS05_01.msi) are RealSpeak voice installers, and Vocalizer voice installers start with VA or VE. Double-click on each installer in turn, uninstall it, then double-click and install it again.

If you are technical and comfortable editing the Windows registry, then see Fixing RealSpeak Solo SAPI5 voices.

Other things to try

First check that sound is working: either start Windows Media Player and press Play or try opening a .wav file in the Media folder in your Windows folder.

It’s always worth trying to run the Microsoft SAPI5 installer, SAPI5.MSI which will fix many problems. Download SAPI5.MSI. If you have Acapela voices that are appearing in ClaroRead but not speaking this should make them speak correctly.

If you cannot hear any speech, but you highlighting works in Word with ClaroRead, and the volume slider shows that speech is working, then try Fixing speech working but no sound coming out.

If you can’t get speech to work (none of the voices, RealSpeak or Windows XP Microsoft Sam or Windows Vista Anna, say anything) and you receive an error message when opening the Speech applet in the Control Panel (for example “The requested task cannot be carried out because the necessary speech engine could not be created. Please select a different engine and/or a different audio device.”) then you can try Microsoft Fix 838659.

If you select a voice in the Speech applet in Control Panel and get the message This voice cannot be played. Please try selecting another voice or selecting a different audio output device then the voice may have been uninstalled, even though it still appears in the Speech list, or the RealSpeak voices on your machine may have been broken by another voice installer. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the affected voices: you can find them on the Claro CD.

Another thing to check: open Control Panel and the Speech Applet. Hit the Audio Output button. Make sure the first option “Use preferred audio device” is selected:

Picture of dialogue box: there is a two-option selection, and the first is selected.

If you try to open the Speech Control Panel Applet and select the Text To Speech tab and get the message “An exception occurred while trying to run “C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll,Control_runDll “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Speech\sapi.dpl”,Speech” (it has a title of “RUNDLL”) then the current system voice is broken. This can happen when incompatible voice installers clash with each other. Because the current system voice is not valid you cannot open the Speech applet, so you cannot change the current system voice. You have three options:

  1. Re-run the voice installer for the broken current system voice. This should let you open the Speech applet. Change the system voice to Microsoft Sam. Then uninstall the voices you do not need to use, then reinstall the voices you do need to use.
  2. Download and run SAPI5 Voice Remover, select the non-functioning voice from the list, and delete it from the machine. This removes the voice from Window’s list of available voices, and the Speech applet when next run notices it isn’t there and switches to another voice. The broken voice is not installed – it is still on your hard disk – but it will not work anywhere.
  3. (For the technical) You can change the default SAPI5 voice manually to Microsoft Sam (or any other working voice) by opening regedit, navigating to the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Speech\Voices and changing the value of DefaultTokenId to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Speech\Voices\Tokens\MSSam” (no quotation marks).

If one of the RealSpeak voices stops when it comes to some punctuation (e.g. a comma, semi-colon) then try uninstalling and reinstalling the voice.

Some users running Windows Vista have reported that their RealSpeak voices will not work if User Access Control is disabled. Re-enable the security feature and try again.

Speech will stop working if the output sounds for your speaks are set to any value greater than 48,000Hz. Open Control Panel, Sounds dialog, Playback tab, select your speakers and click the Properties button. Go to the Advanced tab and ensure the Default Format drop-down is set to a maximum of 48000Hz.

SAPI5 entries are all found in the registry key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Speech or HKLM\Software\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Speech for 64-bit machines. Entries in this key, especially from voices that you have uninstalled or are found in TokenEnums keys, can cause speech to not work and the Speech control panel to not run. Try deleting non-Microsoft entries, but do not touch MMAudioIn, MMAudioOut, or anything mentioning Microsoft, Anna, or Sam. Back up the SAPI5 registry key first so you can restore it if necessary.

You may find that the RealSpeak Russian Katerina voice speaks very slowly. Increase the voice speaking rate by selecting the Settings button and changing the slider to the maximum value (10). This will speak at a normal speed: higher rates are not possible with this voice.

Do contact Claro Technical Support for more help:

This page was last updated on 29th April 2021.