In-Process 20th January 2022

Happy New Year!

Firstly, welcome to 2022! The NV Access team had a great break and are slowly making their way back into the office for the new year. We’ve been busy catching up on correspondence. If you have contacted us recently and we haven’t replied to you yet, rest assured we will soon!

Happy Birthday In-Process

And, today (20th January) marks the 5th birthday of In-Process. Back in that first edition, we introduced the audio version of Basic Training for NVDA. We also featured highlights of the then-soon-to-be-released NVDA 2017.1, including Kindle support. The team were preparing to present our first CSUN session in a few years, and looking forward to NVDACon. Dictation Bridge was new back then as well, what a busy time that was!

Chocolate cake with five candles

I better find some news for THIS edition after all that!

NVDA 2021.3.1

Just before Christmas, we released NVDA 2021.3.1. This incremental update to NVDA 2021.3 fixed a couple of critical issues. We covered the update in the last In-Process before Christmas. It’s worth a reminder, particularly if you do not have NVDA set to check for updates automatically. Read more and download manually from the NVDA 2021.3.1 Release Announcement.

Thanks Damien

The philosophy of NV Access has always been to ensure people all over the world have access to a free, high quality screen reader. To help us achieve that goal, NV Access is a registered charity. Money donated to NV Access helps cover our costs so that we can continue to distribute NVDA for free to anyone, anywhere in the world. We are extremely grateful to all our donors. Whether a one-off donation of $2, or $10,000 month (seriously, if you’d like to donate $10,000 / month, do get in touch!), every donation is appreciated. We often receive lovely messages from our donors, thanking us and outlining why contributing to NV Access is important. This month, we received such an email from Damien. He states: “I haven’t donated in a while, but got quite a bit this year in various activities so thought I’d give a large chunk of it to you. Your work is a great asset to the vision impaired community, after all. Such pure gems cannot be found often”.

Thank you so much Damien!

Windows 7 support

We’ve had a couple of questions recently about Windows 7. So, I wanted to clarify NV Access’ position on Windows 7 support.

NVDA will NOT drop support for Windows 7 in the immediate future. We have previously stated that where we need to put out a release which breaks compatibility or support, that we would (where possible) make this the first release of the year. Therefore, at this time, we anticipate supporting Windows 7 until, at least, the first release in 2023.

I would also say that we strongly recommend everyone should, where possible, use a supported version of Windows. Microsoft stopped support for Windows 7 two years ago – 14th January 2020. There are numerous reasons to upgrade. One of the biggest is that any exploits found in the operating system not only won’t be patched by Microsoft, but cyber criminals know that and will actively try to exploit them. Even an anti-virus program which can still be updated on Windows 7 may not be able to protect you from a vulnerability in the operating system itself.

As well as this, users on Windows 10 have access to more features with NVDA such as Windows OneCore Voices. The majority of NVDA users are on Windows 10. Therefore, NVDA on Windows 10 gets more testing and attention generally. It is the most well supported platform. (If you’re looking to upgrade right up to Windows 11 then NVDA 2021.3.1 supports Windows 11. More users will migrate to that platform over time so it will only continue to improve).

When Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP in April 2014, NVDA continued to support it until 2017.3, in August 2017. While we can’t guarantee how far into the future we will support Windows 7, we will do so until continuing to support it becomes problematic for supporting current features of Windows 10 / 11. Once we determine that we need to drop support, we will give the community as much notice as possible.

As always, if you have any questions, please do ask!

Reporting Dynamic Content Changes

One of our users, Gene, wrote to share a new use he found for an NVDA setting. He thought the use may be little known and suggested sharing it here. Good idea, thanks Gene! So here it is. The feature is “Report Dynamic Content Changes”. The setting is available in the Object Presentation settings (NVDA+control+o). You can also toggle it at any time with NVDA+5 (on the main number row, above R and T). The user guide states that this command “Toggles the announcement of new content in particular objects such as terminals and the history control in chat programs.”.

So, having this enabled can be really useful in a lot of places. A lot of users may simply leave it on and not think about it again. What Gene realised is that turning it off will stop announcement of unwanted material by ARIA regions, such as a stock ticker on a web page. If turned off, it may also stop unwanted speech such as forced announcement of status information in a program. One example is that Thunderbird forces some speech and turning off report dynamic content changes stops it.

As with any setting, be on the lookout for how toggling it changes how NVDA works. If changing it, be aware of how to change it back. If you get stuck, one option is NVDA+control+r will reset settings to the last saved state. Do this instead of quitting and restarting NVDA, as quitting, by default, saves the current settings.

That’s a great tip, thanks Gene!

That’s all for this 5th birthday edition In-Process. We hope you’re all staying safe and well, and enjoying NVDA 2021.3.1