- P. Torpey
A number of people have reported experiencing sluggishness when using JAWS with Reaper and some other programs such as Sound Forge. Below is a brief description of the cause of the problem followed by instructions for resolving the problem.
Many under the hood changes have been made to Windows in the past few years. This has necessitated a change in how screen readers capture text that is displayed on the screen. To facilitate this transition JAWS currently enables the user to choose between two methods of capturing text written to the screen. When the “Use Accessibility Driver” option is selected in the JAWS Settings Center for the Default configuration, JAWS uses the legacy method of capturing text. This method has become less and less effective as modifications have been made to Windows but remains as an option to ensure compatibility with older programs. When the “Use Accessibility Driver” option is not checked, JAWS uses the new high level hooking or (GDI Hooking)method of capturing text. This will be the approach JAWS will use in the future as support for the legacy approach is dropped.
Currently, even when the “Use Accessibility Driver” option in the JAWS Settings Center is not checked, parts of the legacy driver are still being used. The sluggishness with JAWS and Reaper that people have reported is due to components of the legacy driver that are eating up too many CPU cycles. Thus, the resolution of the sluggishness problem is to either uninstall the legacy driver or disable the legacy driver. Most programs should work fine when using the newer driver and, in fact, will perform better than when the legacy driver is being used. Eventually the legacy driver will be dropped all together.
Currently users have the choice of whether to use the legacy driver or new GDI Hooking method. This option can be changed by following the steps below:
There are two ways of fixing the problem. The first method of resolving the problem is to completely uninstalled the Freedom Scientific Video Accessibility driver. This can be done by following the steps below:
The alternate method for resolving the problem is to disable the Freedom Scientific Video Accessibility driver rather than uninstalling the driver. Although this method is equally effective, the user may receive and error message about a missing component each time that JAWS restarts. This message can safely be ignored. To disable the Freedom Scientific Video Accessibility driver follow the steps below:
In summary, users may want to use the first approach of completely removing the accessibility driver rather than disabling it in the Device Manager. This is because with JAWS 2021 and beyond, people won’t get an error message whenever JAWS loads. If one completely removes the accessibility driver it will likely get reinstalled whenever someone installs an update, but 2021 won’t be getting many more updates, and older versions will get even fewer. Either method of fixing the problem will probably work as far back as JAWS 2019, but the further back someone goes, the less refined is the high-level hooking solution, so that will not be as functional for those areas where the legacy driver is needed. So with older versions of JAWS, use your own judgement!