Microsoft is killing off Windows Vista-era Speech Recognition on Windows 11

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Microsoft is ending support for the Speech Recognition feature in Windows with an upcoming release of Windows 11. With Speech Recognition, you could teach the operating system to understand the sound of your voice and open apps or dictate commands, but it’s time to say goodbye to the legacy feature.

Microsoft believes the future is in the new Voice access feature of Windows 11, which supports multiple languages and is powered by AI.

With the release of Windows 11, Microsoft added many new features to the OS—a new Start menu, widgets, redesigned File Explorer and many more. While many feature additions were welcomed, users were also notified about feature deprecations. The latest addition to the deprecation list is Windows Speech Recognition.

We have now spotted that the feature is getting deprecated in Windows 11. The news comes straight from Microsoft from their Deprecated features list. Notably, WordPad and Cortana were two of the most prominent features to get axed. Other features going away include Mail & Calendar, Tips app, and Steps Recorder.

Introduced with Windows Vista, Windows Speech Recognition is an important functionality built into the OS. It allows you to interact with Windows using voice commands. It also served as an important tool for those with accessibility issues.

Windows Speech Recognition
Windows Speech Recognition in Windows 11

The feature can be set by launching the Set up Speech Recognition wizard and pressing the Windows + Ctrl + S keys on your keyboard together. Users should enable their Microphone by heading to Settings -> Time & language -> Microphone and clicking Get Started.

According to Microsoft, the feature will be replaced by Voice Access.

In Windows 11, you can launch Voice Access by searching for it from the Search Bar or Settings.

Voice Access
Voice Access in Windows 11

After turning on the Voice Access toggle, you will need download the Language packs if they are not installed. Voice Access is only available in English in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Voice Access supports most of the features available in Windows Speech Recognition, which is currently being developed. More supported regions are to be added in future Windows updates.

Microsoft mentions that Speech Recognition will be discontinued starting December 2023 and will no longer receive updates.

While still present, we wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft completely removes Speech Recognition in a future Windows update. If you use the feature, we recommend switching to Voice Access.

It is also worth noting that Voice access is available only for Windows 11, version 22H2, or later versions.

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