I fell asleep with my laptop in front of me the other night and noticed when I woke up that everything I typed was being repeated by some computer sounding voice on my laptop called Sam. Turns out I had accidentally turned on Microsoft Narrator by hitting the Win-Key + U. This utility is one of a couple of others including Microsoft Magnifier that are managed by the Microsoft Utility Manager. Depending on the operating system these utilities run in different ways and the below article is based on Windows XP Pro though turning it off is similar on other Windows versions as well. I believe in Windows 2000 the Utility Manager actually runs as a service so the service can be disabled in the Services Manager.
To disable Microsoft Narrator in Windows XP follow the directions below.
- Launch Utility Manager: Click the Windows Key plus U (Win-Key + U) at the same time to launch the Microsoft Utility Manager as shown below in the image.
- Disable Narrator Auto Start: Now highlight “Narrator is running” and make sure all of the check boxes are not checked including “Start automatically when I log in”, “Start automatically when I lock my desktop”, and “Start automatically when Utility Manager starts”. If “Start automatically when Utility Manager starts” was checked then Microsoft Narrator would have started as shown below.
Uncheck each option as shown in the image above. To stop Microsoft Narrator click the Exit button.
The above will allow you to easily enable Microsoft Narrator in the future if you choose to do so. If you want to make sure that Narrator does not run at all then you can modify the executable file that launches Microsoft Narrator as described in more detail below. I also describe how to stop Utility Manager and Microsoft Magnifier from running.
- Utility Manager:The Utility Manager executable file is located in the C:\Windows\system32 directory and is titled utilman.exe. Rename this file to utilman.OLD to stop it from running.
- Microsoft Magnify: The Microsoft Magnify executable file is located in the C:\Windows\system32 directory and is titled magnify.exe. Rename this file to magnify.OLD to stop it from running.
- Microsoft Narrator:The Microsoft Narrator executable file is located in the C:\Windows\system32 directory and is titled narrator.exe. Rename this file to narrator.OLD to stop it from running.
If you want to simply modify the Microsoft Narrator settings then open the Narrator configuration menu by clicking the Start button in the bottom left corner of your Windows XP computer. Select Run from the pop up window and type in narrator in the box as shown below in the image. Click enter to launch the Microsoft Narrator configuration menu.
That should allow you to manipulate Microsoft Narrator however you so choose.