windows dictation

Ever since I broke my wrist I found myself exploring the tools available to minimize the need for actually typing. I am using Windows dictation right now to write this article and I think this will help others find the solution to this problem.

In case you are not familiar with this if you have a newer version of Windows just press the Windows button and H at the same time and you should see a microphone with a dialog box pop up. Speech recognition has improved immensely in the past couple of years so if it’s been a while since you’ve used one last I must say these tools feel like they have finally gotten to the point where they actually are useful.

Screenshot of windows dictation

Since I have been using Windows dictation more I found that sometimes when I activate it that it gets stuck at “initializing” and doesn’t work. This happens sometimes with almost any software running on Windows. It seems the solution is usually to either reboot your computer or if you don’t want to reboot it to open up the Task Manager with Ctrl-Alt-Del. When the task manager pops up, go to Processes and find the “Microsoft Text Input Application.”

Right click this application and select “End Task” then try and restart Windows Dictation with the Windows and H key. For further details you can go here.

I would like to add that this seems to be a fix for programs Windows similar issue where opening they just hang. Hey Microsoft, if you are listening, one improvement to Windows Dictation would be to have a quick key to turn the microphone to listen again instead of having to use the mouse to toggle it on and off!

Microsoft Clip Champ screenshot

I found out Microsoft’s Clipchamp is built into Windows 11. It is a simple way to record those video tutorials that have become so prevalent and a staple for so many YouTube channels featuring experts providing guided walk-throughs and other demonstrations that require sharing the screen. Anyone can start recording not only his or her screen, but it can also show the webcam in a box simultaneously.

Microsoft’s Clipchamp is also available on Windows 10 but you have to go to the Microsoft App Store and install it. It does appear that you have to have a Microsoft account in order for it to work. The link to get Clip Champ is here.

Microsoft Clip Champ screenshot

For those looking for a free way to at least start creating web videos, Clipchamp looks promising. I only wish I had learned about it earlier! You can make walk-throughs and other useful presentations and add a personal touch by also including you or your other talent on camera at the same time. Clipchamp certainly seems to offer a lot just for owning a computer with a new version of Windows. They do also have upgrade options and there’s more information on the download page.

There is also a lot more information on Lifehacker:

I usually don’t leave notes about normal boring Windows PC issues, but if you are a company that backs up your users’ Outlook mailbox data, if you ever want to access these “.ost” files, you might be in for a surprise.  “.pst” files are easy, because in Outlook all you have to do is go into your account settings and select the new “.pst” file.  Not so for those using Outlook with Exchange.  No, thanks to Microsoft, that can’t be easy, so before I thought I had to set up a new email account on Exchange then copy the file to the appropriate /User/  folder on the Windows machine just to view these archived emails, I thought I’d look around online.

Sure enough, I found a few “Ost Viewers”, tried one, and it worked just fine.  One was free that allowed me to go in and browse the .ost as if I had already set up the mailbox in Outlook.  This took only a couple of minutes.  I don’t want to endorse any particular website but searching “ost viewers” did the trick.  I hope this helps someone save some time, it’s never pleasant when something that seems so simple turns into potentially a two hour fiasco!