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Windows 11 wrecks speech recognition for some apps

Microsoft OS stutters with Japanese and Chinese languages

If some of the applications on your Windows 11 systems are having problems with features like speech recognition and handwriting when using Japanese or Chinese languages, it's likely linked to recent updates to the operating system.

According to Microsoft, after installing KB5022913 or later updates, some apps are having "intermittent" problems with speech recognition, handwriting, and expressive input when using the languages.

In a note in the Windows Health Dashboard this week, Redmond said "affected apps might sometimes fail to recognize certain words or might be unable to receive any input from speech recognition or affected input types."

The problems, which only affect systems running Windows 11 version 2H22, tend to arise more often when the applications are using speech recognition offline.

In a note to developers, Microsoft noted that the issue only disrupts software programs using a Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS) with Windows.Media.SpeechRecognition. Other speech recognition implementations are not impacted.

SRGS is a standard created by the World Wide Web Consortium almost two decades ago to address how speech recognition grammars are specified. These specs help speech recognition engines understand what us humans have to say, and what should be recognized as meaningful input.

Microsoft said its engineers are working on a fix to the problem that will be included in a future release. Until then, the software giant outlined a seven-step workaround that needs to be followed once every time a user restarts their device.

It starts with closing the app that is having issues, opening Task Manager through the Start button, and selecting the "Processes" tab and then the "Name" column, which will bring up a list of processed that is sorted by name.

After that, find and select ctfrmon.exe, hit the "End Task" button, and confirm that a new instance of ctfmon.exe is started automatically. After that, open the affected app and start using speech recognition and other input types.

Microsoft didn't delve into possible causes of the problem, though linked it to updates that started with KB5022913 Preview, which was released February 28.

In another move, to help IT administrators keep up with the various feature and quality updates to Windows – such as KB5022913 – Microsoft this week also rolled out an email alert feature to notify BOFHs of issues outlined in the Windows health release section of the Microsoft 365 admin center.

"This enables you to easily and quickly learn about issues related to Windows updates and make informed decisions about rolling out an update across your environment," Mabel Gomes, senior program manager with Microsoft's communications and customer success team, wrote in a memo.

The emails will let admins know about issues for various versions of Windows as well as updates such as changes in the status of issues, workarounds, and issue resolutions. They are available to admins with a Windows or Windows 365 tenant, a subscription that gives access to Windows release health in the Microsoft 365 admin center, and an eligible administrator role. ®

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