Softnet Systems, Inc. Speech Recognition Specialists

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Backup

One common note: Some of the folders (directories) to be backed up are by default "hidden folders." To see these, you will need to change the settings of "My Computer" or "Explorer" to see them. In Windows-XP, go to Tools, Folder Options to make this change. In Windows Vista or Windows 7, go to Control Panel then Folder Options is in the Appearance and Personalization group.

In many cases you can type/dictate the folder name even though it is hidden.

This page primarily covers backup. Restoration can take many different directions depending on the system status, what data is available, etc.

Backup User Files

There are two basic methods for backing up user files. Some use the built-in "Export" feature, others prefer to find the files and copy them. The User files can be very large -- over 1GB is possible. In most cases, this is because ".dra" files have accumulated. Those are not necessary for backup and can be deleted prior to writing the backup to CD-ROM or other media where space is limited.

  • Alternate 1: Export of a user is done by opening NaturallySpeaking, going to:
    • Release 11/12: Profile on the DragonBar, then Manage User Profiles
    • Releases 8-10: NaturallySpeaking on the DragonBar (or File if using the Tray Icon mode), Manage User
    Click the Advanced button, then Export. Select a place for the files to go.
  • Alternate 2: Copy user files by finding the "Users" folder and then copying the folder(s) for your user(s). On a standard installation, these files are in the folders:
    • Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8: C:\ProgramData\Nuance\NaturallySpeaking9 (or 10 or 11 or 12)\Users
    • Windows-XP, Releases 9-12: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Nuance\ NaturallySpeaking9 (or 10 or 11 or 12)\Users
    • Windows-XP, Release 8: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\ScanSoft\ NaturallySpeaking8\Users

      (On Release 7.3, substitute "NaturallySpeaking" for "NaturallySpeaking8"

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Moving User Files

There are two basic methods for moving user files from one system to another. Some use the built-in "Export" feature, others prefer to find the files and copy them. The User files can be very large -- over 1GB is possible. In most cases, this is because ".dra" files have accumulated. Those are not necessary for backup and can be deleted prior to writing the backup to CD-ROM or other media where space is limited.

  • Alternate 1: On the old system, export a user by opening NaturallySpeaking. Then:
    • Releases 11/12: Profile on the DragonBar or from Tray Icon, then Manage User Profiles
    • Releases 8-10: NaturallySpeaking on the DragonBar (or File if using the Tray Icon mode), Manage User
    Click the Advanced button, then Export. Select a place for the files to go on a USB drive, network, etc. Then, on the new system, install Dragon but cancel out of creating a new user. Then:
    • Release 11/12: Profile on the DragonBar, then Manage User Profiles
    • Releases 8-10: NaturallySpeaking on the DragonBar (or File if using the Tray Icon mode), Manage User
    Click the Advanced button, then Import. Bring in your user files with the Import process. You will be asked to rerun the Audio Setup Wizard when you first Open the user on the new system.
  • Alternate 2: Copy user files by finding the "Users" folder and then copying the folder(s) for your user(s). On a standard installation, these files are in the folders:
    • Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8: C:\ProgramData\Nuance\NaturallySpeaking9|10|11|12\Users
    • Windows-XP, Releases 9-12: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data \Nuance\NaturallySpeaking9 (or 10, 11, 12)\Users
    • Release 8 on Windows-XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\ScanSoft\NaturallySpeaking8\Users
    After copying them, move the files to the new system in the corresponding folder after first installing Dragon NaturallySpeaking on the new system.

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Backup Vocabulary

The "acoustic" part of your user files can be reconstructed fairly quickly. If your machine is destroyed, you might end up with a different type of sound system, a new microphone, etc. So some people will only back up the vocabulary. This is a subset of backing up the user files, so doesn't need to be done if you have good backups of the user files. You may back up your entire vocabulary OR just your "custom words" which might be phrases. Backing up "custom words" is also useful for moving from one release to another or else one base vocabulary (e.g. Medical, Legal, General English) to another.

  • Backup of Entire Vocabulary: open NaturallySpeaking, going to NaturallySpeaking on the DragonBar (or File if using the Tray Icon mode), Manage Vocabularies, then Export. Select a place for the files to go.
  • Backup of Custom Words (including phrases): open NaturallySpeaking, then Words, Export. Select a place for the file to go. This is a tiny file -- open it with Notepad and edit it if you please. Prior to Release 6 (?) this option was not available and another program was used to save this portion of your vocabulary.

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Backup/Share/Transfer Macros

Many users of Preferred, Premium, Professional, Medical or Legal versions create macros to expedite use of NaturallySpeaking. Typically collections of these macros are small files, able to be backed up on floppy disk, sent to other machines, etc.

If your entire user is backed up, your macros are also backed up in the /current/MyCmds.dat file for each user so a separate backup is not necessary.

With the Premium (formerly Preferred) versions of the software, only the entire command file MyCmds.dat file can be transferred or shared, and only if the systems have the same version of Dragon.

With the Professional, Legal, and Medical versions, individual commands or sets of commands may be shared between users. In many cases this sharing can be done between different versions/editions of the software as the file formats have been consistent over several releases.

To save or export the commands, there are two major alternatives.

  • Alternate 1: Go to Tools, Command Browser, then the Manage tab. Select all items (or only specific ones if you choose), then click Export. Select the destination file.
    • To retrieve these on the same or another system, go to Tools, Command Browser, then Manage. Select Import. At this point you may choose specific macros/commands to import or you may choose an entire set of macros.
  • Alternate 2: In the Users directory, then <your user name>\current folder, find the MyCmds.dat file and copy it.

 

To restore or import the macros, there are more options. First, determine if there are any macros created on the "new" system or target user. If so, the first option for importing/restoring is NOT appropriate.

  • Alternate 1 for restore/import: In the Users directory, then <your user name>\current folder, find the MyCmds.dat file and copy the exported file over this file. NO COMMANDS WILL BE PRESERVED.

    In many more cases, you wish to move selected commands to a new user or a new system, possibly with slightly different software. In this case, using the Command Browser Import is more effective though it can be a non-trivial job to decide exactly what should be imported.

  • Alternate 2 for restore/import: On the "new"/destination system, go to Tools, Command Browser, then the Manage tab. Choose Import. Navigate to your saved/exported macro/command file. You should be given the option of selectively importing commands. Generally-speaking you should not import the built-in or sample Dragon commands. Beware of commands that have personal information such as signature blocks and be prepared to change commands immediately after importing them.

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General Backup Needs

Application Backup

There are many more complete sources of information on backup of data. The key point is to do it! Backup may be done to another hard drive, CD-ROM, DVD, tape, USB disk drives (so-called keychain drives can be very handy for this), etc.

Key files to back up for Speech Recognition Users include:

  • DragonPad Documents: If they are saved by default in a specific folder (as is suggested) then save that folder.
  • Word Documents and Associated Files
    • Documents -- save the folder where you save documents.
    • Templates -- if you use Word templates, they are kept in one or more folders. Most persons will use the default User Template folder. To find it, open Word, go to Tools, Options, and then click the File Locations tab. Highlight the "Users Templates" item and if needed, click the Modify button just to find where these are stored, then Cancel after you verify the location. They will commonly be at C:\Documents and Settings\<your Windows User Name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates.
    • Word Macros, Toolbars, AutoText Entries -- if you use any of these, a common method allows saving them. Open a blank document. Go to Word Tools, Macro, Macros. Then click the Organizer button. Then, Copy your macros, Toolbars, and AutoText entries into your new document. Save the document, and all of these items are saved. You may temporarily see duplicate toolbars when doing this, but they will disappear after you close this new document. Some of this information is commonly in the normal.dot template which is saved if you backup the directory listed above.
  • Other Application Data: you are on your own -- each product you use should have a means of preserving data if it saves non-trivial data. If it doesn't, then quit using the product!

One key point: SAVE YOUR BACKUP WHERE IT IS UNLIKELY TO GET STOLEN, DAMAGED, OR LOST IN THE SAME INCIDENT WHEN YOUR ORIGINAL DATA IS LOST.

An effective way to evaluate backup is to go to a place away from your computer, and then pretend that the computer is gone along with the entire room contents. Then walk through what you need to have to recover. That includes your program CD's, serial numbers and passwords, contact lists, insurance contacts, important contracts (though these are often available from the other party, think Katrina where entire sections of a city are wiped out), home phone numbers for employees, and contact information for your Speech Recognition Specialist.

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Recovery from Checkpoint

(Release 11, 12, Dragon Medical Practice Edition, or later)

In Release 11, Nuance introduced another set of files that can be useful for backup. There is now a checkpoint directory, chkpt, in your user folder. Within the chkpt folder, you may find folders with the names chkpt01, chkpt02, ... which will have copies of key parts of your user files.

Within each of these folders, the checkpoint.ini file has some information about the purpose of the checkpoint that may be useful in determining which is the last valid set of files.

To use these, with Dragon closed, make a copy of your "current" folder. Then copy the contents EXCEPT FOR THE CHECKPOINT.INI FILE of one of the chkptnn folders into the corresponding files in your "current" folder in the affected user file.

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