Headset: Buy a good headset! I use the NC-181VM USB Headset headset. Use a USB headset to insure that you get the best sound connection. 

Microphone Cover:  Always make sure that you use the foam microphone cover.  These often fall off and get lost.  A missing microphone foam cover will seriously degrade voice quality and consequently, the accuracy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking.  It really makes a huge difference.  You can get extra foam microphone covers (order a few of these because when you lose yours, you will incorrectly blame Dragon for the errors and may stop using it).

Memory: Extra RAM makes a big difference for Dragon and everything else in your computer!  Dragon NaturallySpeaking will be faster and more accurate. 

Installation:  (I don’t know if this is still required) When installing Dragon NaturallySpeaking, note that the instructions tell you to close any virus checking software prior to installation.  Make sure that after closing or virus checking software, you press the “Control, Alt & Delete” keys to open Windows task manager; then click on the Processes tab and look for another file, belonging to your virus checking software and click on End Process for that file.  For instance, if you use AVG it will leave behind files with “avg” in the file name, such as avgserv.exe, after closing the virus program.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking will not load the user profile: Either 1) reboot your computer and/or if that does not work,

  1. press the “Control, Alt & Delete” keys to open Windows task manager;
  2. click on the Processes tab;
  3. under Description look for two Dragon files and click on End Process for both files (dgnuiasvr_x64.exe and dnsspserver.exe).
  4. under Description look for Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows and click on End Process for that file (natspeak.exe);
  5. Restart Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Microphone window turns red and Dragon is not working:  Turn off your microphone using the microphone button on your headset; turn off your microphone using the plus key on your keyboard; then turn the microphone on-again using both the microphone button on your headset and the plus key on your keyboard.

Backing up Dragon Naturally Speaking & Corrupted Vocabulary File:  The Dragon NaturallySpeaking vocabulary files can be corrupted and it is important to back up these files!  You should also keep some older back up copies of Dragon NaturallySpeaking’s vocabulary files in case you overwrite your backup copy with a corrupt file! 

Windows system restore may corrupt the Dragon vocabulary file. 

Dragon should have a backup button, but unfortunately it does not.  As long as you know which folder to backup and where it is, it’s not difficult.  Back up the folder named “Users” which you will find using the following path:  C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\ScanSoft\NaturallySpeaking8/Users.  If you do not see the folder “Application Data”, when in the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users folder, it is probably a hidden folder.  If your vocabulary file becomes corrupt, simply replace the “Users” file with the one you backed up. 

I use Dragon for my web sites, typing both business and personal e-mails, letters and documents.  Dragon NaturallySpeaking is no longer optional software, if you want to be competitive or simply reduce office overhead.  If you already own a previous version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, you can buy an upgrade to the latest version for very little.  Dragon is easy to install and you can learn how to use it in minutes.  Find out more about Dragon NaturallySpeaking by Nuance.  

Disclosure: Both Dragon NaturallySpeaking and the Parrott Talk Pro USB headset were provided to me at no charge.  The fact that they were given to me without charge should tell you a lot, because I requested them.  If I’m going to ask for something for free, I’ll ask for the best!