Guidance on when to create a new user file

My dictation accuracy has become... well... annoying. At least, from time to time. Although I never ran a analysis of the actual accuracy of my dictation, I did feel that it was better, overall, than what it is now. I'm using DNS Pro 11, with a Sennheiser MD 431 II (but occasionally also use the Standard 2-in-1 TableMike with the same user file) in Windows 7 on an i7 desktop and laptop.

1. How does one decide when the dictation accuracy is bad enough to warrant the creation of a new user file?
2. Anything I should check before resorting to creating a new user file? (I've used the play back feature and I don't hear any static or interference. The text plays back clearly but from time to time, and seemingly more often than what I remember before, DNS is misunderstanding things that I say. I dictate in a quiet environment. I've been using correction procedure the way it's outlined in VoicePower. The Speed vrs Accuracy slider is all the way to the right for accuracy.)
3. What am I losing, if anything, by creating a new user file if I export my custom vocabulary words and phrases (that I created by adding words/phrases via the "Add new word or phrase" option under Vocabulary) and custom commands (via the "Add new command" option under Tools - they are all just "commands" where I say the name of the "command" and it just inserts various bits of text) and then import the same back into my new user file?
4. If I create a new user file, when I eventually run the Accuracy Tuning, does DNS utilize the previously created DRA files as well as new DRA files created by the new user profile or does DNS just use the DRA files created with the new user profile?
Thanking you in advance,

Oh… Forgot to mention… that my system “froze” on me while I had DNS up and running (this happened twice) and I had no other choice but to shut the computer down and reboot. Unfortunately, I kept “plowing on” and using the same user profile (and saving it) when I should have probably gone to my backup. I guess soon after that, I started noticing that the accuracy was starting to drop. Corrupted user file perhaps?


DNS 11 does a pretty good job of protecting your user profile from corruption even if you accidentally or necessarily have to reboot your system. The only time a user profile can actually become corrupted in DNS 10.1-11 is if the computer shutdown occurs during Windows attempts to write information to your user profile and that I/O operation fails leaving your user profiles open (i.e. fails to write an EOF (End Of File) marker – F6) such that you get an Access Violation because DNS quo Windows when you try to open your user profile.

Simply assuming that your user profile has become corrupted because you start seeing some misrecognition issues does not mean that your user profile has become corrupted. If you play back a couple of your most recent paragraphs, you will probably be appalled by the lack of proper dictation style (i.e., slurring words, running words together, dictating in short choppy phrases, not clearly enunciating words, etc.). Over the course of a dictation session, your dictation style changes, your voice changes, and even the environmental conditions in which you are dictating can change. Running the Check Microphone, adjusting your dictation style, and dictating and longer more natural phrases will often return your accuracy to what you expect. Nevertheless, in my experience with most clients the reason that dictation accuracy declines either in a given session or overtime is because of USER issues. That is, what you’re doing vs. what DNS is doing.

Before you throw the baby out with the bathwater and create a new user, examined what you are doing because more often than not it is what you are doing that is causing the problem and not a corrupted user profile.

However, with the professional versions one of the ways of easily creating a new user profile without having to Export custom words or custom commands, is to use the Managed Vocabularies… on the one hand, if you really feel the strong need to retain your property settings in your vocabulary, or use the Data Distribution Tool. The Data Distribution Tool allows you to save custom word lists, base vocabularies, and custom commands in a specific location such that if you need to create a new user profile, these are automatically added to it. This is a very effective tool that most users don’t even take advantage of and end up wrapping their legs around their necks creating new user profiles when DNS can do it for you automatically by simply creating a new user and letting the entries in the Data Distribution Tool location automatically include these in your new user profile. Obviously you have to update these from time to time just as you have to update your exporting of your user profile, but this is a very effective tool that can save you a significant amount of time when creating a new user. Also, don’t delete your previous user in case you need to get information from such, such as copying the mycmds.dat from your previous user to your new user. However, if you maintain everything current in the Data Distribution Tool location, you won’t ever need to do this when creating a new user because everything will be up to date. Bottom line is learn how to use the Data Distribution Tool and understand how it works.

My point is simply this, never assume that because your accuracy is falling off that it’s because your profile is corrupt. In most cases the problem lies with you and the way that you are dictating, correcting misrecognitions, yada yada yada. Also, this is one of the reasons why running the Acoustic and Language Model Optimizer is so important. Again, most users don’t realize that the key word is “Optimizer”. That is the Acoustic and Language Model Optimizer gets rid of redundancies, evaluates and adds the appropriate corrections giving them priority over anything previously existing in your user profile, while removing contradictory or incorrect entries, and optimizes your user profile the same way that a Registry Optimizer or a disk defragger does. In short, learn to recognize those features and functions that work to improve accuracy and use them correctly. On the other hand, it isn’t just your user profile that you have to maintain, it’s your own tendency to slip into poor dictation habits.

As always, many thanks for your most helpful feedback. My accuracy is coming back now after following your sage advise. It was me, not the user file! :-(

With regard to the Data Distribution Tool:
It is asking for the location of my base vocabulary. Where would I find that on a Win 7 setup? (I didn't specify a location so it would be the default location.)
Likewise, it is asking for the location of the commands. Where is the default location of that on a Win 7 setup?
And finally, it is asking me to import a list of files containing words to add to all vocabularies. Is there already a list someplace if I added words to the Vocabulary through the Vocabulary Editor and if so, is there a default location for that as well? Do I have to create a list manually?
The Data Distribution Tools sounds really exciting and I hope I can learn enough about it to use it effectively from here on out.

Oh, forgot to ask in the first post… Although I am using DNS 11 Pro, I work with several handicapped students who are using DNS 11 Premium. Is there a Data Distribution Tool in Premium version or is it limited to the Pro (and similar versions)?



The Data Distribution Tool is only available in the professional versions. Anyone using DNS 11 Premium has to create new users and transfer custom words and/or custom commands using the manual procedures.