How to fix the Windows XP speech recognition SAPISVR crash problem

Got the message “SAPISVR 5 has encountered a problem and needs to close” and found that neither Windows speech recognition nor your Office programs will work? The problem is caused by your speech recognition user profile having become corrupt. You need to switch to the default profile or another users’ profile to restore system stability. Your profile contains all of your speech training data, so having the file corrupt itself is a bit of a pain.

Here is how to switch away from the corrupt profile:

  1. Go to the Windows Control Panel (Start/Control Panel) and double-click on the Speech icon
  2. In the middle of the window is a box listing the speech user profiles, each of which has a tick box next to it
  3. Select another profile (often the default profile is the only option) and click the ‘Apply’ button at the bottom of the window

You should now find that windows speech recognition is working again, although the computer may need a reboot before it is happy again. You should now go back to Control Panel/Speech, delete the old profile, create a new one and re-train the system to your voice.