Dragon Naturally Speaking

Application Details:

Version: 7
License: Retail
Votes: Marked as obsolete
Latest Rating: Garbage
Latest Wine Version Tested: 1.3.8

Maintainers: About Maintainership

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Test Results

Old test results
The test results for this version are very old, and as such they may not represent the current state of Wine. Please consider submitting a new test report.
Selected Test Results

What works

installation , voice training, user management before training.

What does not

Nothing else.


What was not tested

Everything else.

Since the program crashes as soon as it tries to load a user profile , once training is done it is impossible to even start the program.

Hardware tested


  • GPU:
  • Driver:

Additional Comments

The installer and training now work faultlessly, platinum rating. Sadly some problem with dll loading leads to a timeout and wine dropping out to the debugger. This major regression is a show stopper. The program is worthless on more recent wine versions. (approx > 1.0)

selected in Test Results table below
Operating systemTest dateWine versionInstalls?Runs?Used
CurrentFedora 13Dec 27 20101.3.8Yes No Garbagewinebug 
ShowUbuntu 7.04 "Feisty" i386 (+ variants like Kubuntu)May 12 20081.0-rc1Yes Yes SilverSusan Cragin 
ShowGentoo LinuxSep 07 20060.9.20.Yes Yes Silverwinebug 
ShowUbuntu 6.06 "Dapper" i386 (+ variants like Kubuntu)Aug 04 20060.9.18.Yes No GarbageSusan Cragin 
ShowUbuntu 6.06 "Dapper" i386 (+ variants like Kubuntu)May 01 20060.9.12.Yes Yes Silveran anonymous user 

Known Bugs

Bug # Description Status Resolution Other apps affected

Show all bugs

HowTo / Notes

installation and setup notes

Wine versions

Wine functionality is very unstable from version to version. Close attention needs to be paid to wine versions in the notes below. 

Recent wine (eg after version 1.0) has serious bugs that makes DNS 7 useless.

Some tricks are needed to get NS7 installed and to setup the voice training. Awaiting a full howto, here are some notes that may help.

Most of the following applies to all WINE releases. See below for further notes on later , 9.x releases and some distro specifics.


Some sound cards dont have enough sensitivity. I found Hercules Muse 5.1 was (cmipci driver) was no good. However the SoundBlaster PCI cards made by Ensoniq are fine (ens1371 driver).

ALSA-1.0.10 has added mic boost to the cmipci driver so this should now also be suitable.

Wine versions before jan 2005 dont seem to work for NS.

Wine often has trouble controlling the mike volume . In particular it sometimes manages to zero it on entering the audio setup but cant adjust it back up again, so have a linux mixer handy and bring up the mike capture level if it gets stuck. Generally, a capture level of around 80% is fine. Dont confuse this with the "mik" setting which is the mike channel volume for the sound output of the card.
For example with alsamixer (from alsa-utils package) hit F4, select mike as input capture device then set capture level. Other utilities may prevent this in a different way.

You will obviously need a working sound system on linux and know how to use whatever tools are installed if you rely on a desktop window manager like KDE or Gnome. These notes are centered on setting up Naturally Speaking.


The Dragon splash screen cannot be moved. If an error dlg comes up behind it , it seems as if Wine has hung when in fact it is still fully responcive. It will usually be a yes/no, dlg so use the keyboard to give a response (enter,esc,space bar...). You may get to see the text in the terminal window that launched wine.

Always run wine from a terminal window rather than from the a menu until all is running smoothly, you will probably want to see some of the messages (there are a lot , this is not a prob in itself.)

Sometimes during voice training the buttons do not respond to the mouse. This seems to be a wine bug, again use the keyboard : tabkey , Alt+letter shortcuts etc. , NS is still working fine, it is just an interface prob.

In particular , at the begining for general voice training you will have two buttons , possible even without text. You need alt-G to access the button "Go".

INSTALLING NS Pop over to for tips on running installshield on wine.[EDIT]I now recommend using sidenet as detailed in the installation log posted below. Do not user the DLLOVERRIDE options in this case , just run sidenet to set up wine and IE6 , then h:setup.exe to install.
sidenet homepage

These comments relate to using wine-20050524 with .wine/config setup by sidenet-1.8.1 on an clean wine installation. Let sidenet install DCOM98 and IE6 then run setup off the CD.

Key things to note are it used win98 model, wineoss sound drivers on an alsa-oss enabled kernel and comdlg32.dll (freely available).

It seems some success has been attained by others using more recent wine and winecfg but things will at least be different so dont expect these notes to apply.

Wine is constantly improving but "regression" is a common phrase on the wine-dev mailing list, NS may not work better (or at all) on newer wine unless someone else posts specific notes ...

caveat emptor.

Finally to run Dragon Naturally Speaking , locate Program/natspeak.exe where you chose to install. eg:
~/.wine/c/program files/ScanSoft/...../natspeak.exe

the installer works well enough to let you choose a shorter installation directory (without spaces!) , I use:

~/.wine/c/progs/DNS/ as the install dir so my command is :
wine ~/.wine/c/progs/DNS/Program/natspeak

Never run any wine command as root
Installing Dragon on WINE-0.9.1 (or later)

Instructions for installing Dragon Naturally Speaking under WINE-0.9.1 to 0.9.25

See the end of THIS note for comments on more recent WINE versions.

Due to the ever-changing nature of the WINE project installation methods rarely port between wine releases.

Due to the landmark release of Wine-0.9 this is a new method deal with more recent vintages of wine.

What you need (what was tested)
Dragon Naturally Speaking v7 prefered (commercial licence)
IE5.5 (84MB freely available)
sidenet installer 1.9.0 (freely available)
DCOM98 (requires windows licence) [Not needed for more recent wine]
comdlg32.dll (requires windows licence - workaround possible)
DCOM98 will be fetched by sidenet
for wine-0.9.1 see your linux distro or

Before you start

The following instructions assume you have already installed wine-0.9.1 on your system and are at the command prompt in a terminalwindow under an X window manager, eg gnome , xfce, kde , etc.

neither WINE nor sidenet should be run as root, so if you are logged in as root use the su command or login again as a user.

If you have an existing wine setup , sidenet will rename and leave it untouched, then create a new wine configuration. This is non-destructive and reversible but will mean you no longer have direct access to any programs already installed on wine.

Configuring Wine

Download sidenet, extract the archive, read the readme, then run it.


Select option [3] , manual installaton
Only say "y" to DCOM98 and fonts installation

The following assumes you give ~/.wine/c as the install location, if you chose otherwise adjust where required.

Since we have not selected IE6 install this will be very quick.

cd ~/.wine

You should now have a basic working wine-0.9.1 configured to behave like win98

Run winecfg:

cd ~/.wine

On the audio tab select OSS (not ASLA)
On the graphics tab tick "Emulate a virtual desktop". 800x600 may be better than 640x480 depending on your screen.

On the devices tab check that the device you want to use for Dragon install CD is shown. It not add it.

I prefer to do this from the command line after quitting winecfg, eg:
cd ~/.wine/dosdevices
ln -s /mnt/dvd h:

Click OK to exit winecfg.

Installing IE

Dragon requires some of the functionality or IE5 or later. I found IE6 , although it installs perfectly under wine-0.9.1 did not seem to work with Dragon as it did on earlier wine releases.

I found IE5.5 the best choise. Download the installer from the above link and copy it to ~/.wine/c
run it using wine:

cd ~/.wine/c
wine ie55sp2

This will install a series of CAB files into a new directory, cd to that location.

cd IE*
wine ie5setup

chose minimal installation and deselect the help files to save clutter.

This will flash a few blank screens and finally end with a couple off errors:

Registration of c:windowssystem32StdOle2.Tlb successful.
err:wineboot:runCmd Failed to run command L"grpconv.exe -o" (2)
err:wineboot:ProcessRunKeys Error running cmd #2 (2)
they can be ignored.

Installing Naturally Speaking

Insert your Dragon Nat. Speaking CD . If your system does not auto-mount do:

mount /mnt/dvd or the appropriate command for the drive and run the installer:

wine h:setup

Enter a user name (any) and your serial number. There is a problem with the "Next" button so just hit the enter key after the serial number.

The installer works fully. You can select the options you want and browse the location you want to install the software.

Say "no thanks" for the register online and the quickstart options.

Again a couple of ignorable errors:
err:wineboot:runCmd Failed to run command L"" (2)
err:wineboot:ProcessRunKeys Error running cmd #1 (2)
err:rundll32:main Unable to load L"-s"

Making the most of Wine

To miminise the number of native dlls and make the most of wine's capabilities, let's configure wine for natspeak.exe


"add application" ... browse to where you installed the software and find Programs/natspeak.exe
Now switch to the libraries tab while natspeak is still selected.

add a new override: enter * and hit Add button.
it will show as * (native,builtin) , use Edit to swap this to (builtin,native)
now add the following DLLs and leave them as native,builtin...


exit winecfg

Dragon stupidly tests for the presence of the file comdlg32.dll rather than using the API to load it, so even though the wine one works fine, Dragon refuses to start. This is an MS licenced file so you may wish to avoid it.

touch ~/.wine/c/windows/system32/comdlg32.dll

this creates a zero length file of that name that fools a startup check of the program.
After that it will work fine off the built-in wine version.

Warning: this will stop winecfg and other software from running so set this to build-in only in the default profile of winecfg first. Alternatively, use the real one if you have it.

Putting the real native dll in system32 will also work around the DNS start up issue, it is not needed by the program.

Voice Training and Dictation

The program should now run and take you straight into voice training for the user name entered during installation.

There are a couple of tricks to get around minor issues here.

The program thinks it can control the mike volume but does not affect it. You will need to set it with alsamixer or some other linux tool before starting.

It is the Mike CAPTURE level that needs setting. Do not confuse with the mike output control

If you have problems with sound you can test by copying sndrec32.exe from a real windows system (98 or win2k tested) and try to do a quick voice recording with that.

Once the mike is set (usually somewhere 70-80% is good) you will move on to the voice training .

At this point you need to click on a button maked GO, but you dont see it (bug). So use Alt-G on the keyboard and you're off.

You should now be able to complete the training session and go straight into dictation.

Find DragonPad on the tools menu. This is the best place to dictate text to.

Dictating to other programs

Running another program under wine at the same time should allow dictating into text areas of the other program although this sometimes stalls the voice rec. if the mouse wanders elsewhere.

None of the voice control of menus and buttons seems to work at this stage.

You can now use cut and paste to copy you text to any X-based linux programs.

Running the prog with wine

open a terminal window, change to the directory where you installed the prog and run

wine natspeak.exe

if you cant remember where you installed it use :

find / -iname "natspeak.exe"

Backing up

Once you have gone through all that setup and training and made it work nicely it may be a good idea to take a snapshot of it in case it gets messed up.

cd ~
tar cjf dragon-ball.bz2 .wine

Have fun.

Appendix for WINE 0.9.8 - 0.9.20

As always there has been progress and regression in WINE. The good news is that WINE can run Dragon NS with virtually no native dlls now. The downside is the installer will not work the most recent releases so you need an earlier wine to install it.

Current installation recommendation (possibly not the only way but if you want help try this.)

recommended version:
wine-0.9.12 ; sidenet-1.9.2-test2 ; IE5.5SP2

follow above notes but ignore any reference to DCOM. Use sidenet to setup Wine and leave it as win98 to run both the IE5 and DNS installers. This should go with out any problems . There are some error about menu installer , Direct, DirectDraw, etc. but these can be ignored.

You can also let sidenet download IE6 if you prefer but it's a long download and you will need to redo it if you run sidenet again. I recommend the lighter ie5 as a separate download unless there is a specific need for IE6.

Once the installer has completed you should change to a more recent wine version (eg 0.9.20 does not run the installer but is stable with DNS).

I have tested 0.9.12 and 0.9.20 and the following relates to these version , >=0.9.18 will brobably come close.

Running DNS with 0.9.12 works well but some voice commands like "scratch that" cause a comerr 00005 that ends by crashing Dragon. It may be usable if that is avoided.

copy comdlg32.dll from win2k to ~/.wine/c/windows/system32 (see above for non MS workaround)
run winecfg as above notes to set the libraries as follows and windows version for natspeak to win2000 (if this fails try win98, little difference here).

add a new override: enter * and hit Add button.
it will show as * (native,builtin) , use Edit to swap this to (builtin,native)
now add the following DLLs and leave as native,builtin...



Now run Dragon for the first time and run the audio setup for your user, refering to the rest of the notes above.

As above you will need to use alt-G to actuate the "Go" button to start training. For some reason they do not respond to the mouse.

Appendix for WINE 0.9.21 - 0.9.25

More progress/regression : all these version seem to fail badly. Serious regression from 0.9.20

however >=0.9.24 does manage to install running 100% WINE without IE5 and run the voice training before crashing, so some good progress there.

This file , attached to comment #7 of bug 6737, pretends that IE5 is installed and satisfies the IE test in the DNS installer. Save it as a .reg file in use regedit to install it.


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