JAWS problem on new HP laptop

  • From: "Greg Epley" <gregepley@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 13:42:23 -0600

Before I describe the problem I'm having with a new laptop system and JAWS, 
here is the currently working laptop system for your reference:
JAWS 5.10.383
Windows XP Home Edition, SP2
Dell Inspiron 4000
Intel Pentium III 900MHz
512Mb RAM
ATI Rage Mobility M3
ESS Maestro PCI Audio

And here is the new laptop system that the problem is occuring on:

JAWS 5.10.383
Windows XP Home Edition, SP2
HP Pavilion ZV5210US
AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3000+
512Mb RAM
NVIDIA GeForce4 440 Go 64M
SoundMAX Digital Audio

Again, the software above has all been running fine on the Dell mentioned 
above; I am also using the same speech synth on the HP as the Dell, but have 
tried using Elloquence and had the same problem.

I thought perhaps someone here on the list might know of what is causing the 
conflict as the FS support database mentions no conflicts with the exact 
hardware components on the HP system, or that perhaps someone had this same 
system and could help me troubleshoot the issue.

I haven't contacted FS yet about this problem because I have no control over 
who responds to the support request, and I need someone I can count on who can 
get to the crux of the problem and get it fixed rather than blindly grasping at 
straws, having no more idea than I do how to fix it.  I don't need that; I can 
do plenty of that without anyone's help if I want.  I want to see what sort of 
response I get from list members first and then proceed from there.

The problem:
I can be working along on the HP, when suddenly the whole system just seems to 
seize up.  JAWS stops talking; my wife reports the mouse pointer still moves 
using a regular mouse or the touchpad, however, the mouse cannot be used to 
open the start menu or anything, and neither an external full size keyboard or 
the laptop keyboard will function.  I therefore can't try to launch Microsoft 
Narrator to see if it will talk.

The above "seize up" occurs at random times.  I have kept records showing I ran 
these sessions:
1 hour 52 min.
49 min.
6 min.
10 min.
52 min.
25 min. 
58 min.
1 hour 6 min.

The last four usage sessions were run with the system being powered up from 
cold early in the morning and shut off around 6:30-7pm; so for the last two 
usage sessions for example, I ran 58 min. with no seize up, then the system 
just sat there until late afternoon/early evening, then I had a seize up after 
1 hour 6 min.; all the other times listed, I turned the system on from cold and 
used it for the time listed before it seized up.  

I have checked the system several times and compared how hot it got compared to 
the Dell, and the HP system is running far cooler, even when comparing both 
laptops just sitting there doing nothing.  So that and the random times listed 
would seem to indicate the problem isn't heat related.

There is nothing in any kind of diagnostic I have run on the HP to indicate any 
kind of hardware failure or conflict of a hardware nature or a software driver.

Personally I feel the problem is JAWS and not some flaw in the computer 
components.  Perhaps it is the processor, but as Windows XP SP2 seems to have 
no issues otherwise, and the problem only occurs with JAWS usage, that would 
seem to indicate the issue is JAWS related.  If it is the processor, FS had 
better get their act together and get this figured out and working, because 
anyone shopping for a system is going to start ending up with processors like 

Perhaps it is the SoundMax audio or the specific model NVIDIA  video card.  The 
video intercept installed fine and has reported no problems under any 
resolution or quality I've tried.  The sound has performed fine running various 
applications other than the fact that I can't hear JAWS any longer once the 
system seizes up.  Again, if the problem is due to one of these devices, FS had 
better get to fixing it as best they can; laptops aren't like desktops; you 
pretty much end up with integrated sound and video you have no choice over.

I have an investment in the JAWS software of well over $1,000 at this point, 
and while I understand FS can't test or force their software to work with 
everything, I likewise shouldn't be pinned down to only buying machines with 
certain processors or sound or video cards.

The system is going nowhere.  I am keeping the system, even if it takes FS 
several years to come up to the state of the art processor and other components 
in this HP laptop.  

I want to be very careful what I enable, disable, install or uninstall, lest I 
end up having to clean install a brand new laptop all because no one here on 
the list or at FS has any more idea than I do what is causing the problem and 
are just blindly grasping at straws to fix the problem.  I don't need the 
latter; something is causing this problem and there is some way to fix it that 
doesn't require grasping at straws to fix.

At this point I'd appreciate any constructive, positive feedback I can get on 
this seizing problem, as I'd like to begin getting full use out of my brand new 
laptop.  No one is going to change my opinion of FS products so let's just 
stick to the problem at hand and leave it at that.

Oh BTW I should add that I checked the BIOS settings and there does not appear 
to be anything in there that would seem to be something I could disable or 
change that could solve the problem.  

The problem also does not appear to occur while using any particular 
application (such as IE, Outlook Express, etc.).  I do not own any competing 
screedn reading product, and as the trial times for Dolphin's HAL and G.W. 
Micro's WindowEyes are only 30 minutes long, it would take me quite a long time 
running 30 min. sessions to try to stumble across one of the seizes that might 
occur within that short time frame.  Besides which, one of the things FS did a 
really good job on was the keyboard layout for JAWS vs. the competitors 
products.  I think this is just a matter of isolating what is causing the 
problem, and perhaps FS fixing some flaw in their product that doesn't like the 
processor, sound card or video card on this HP laptop.  

The problem also doesn't appear to occur in a reproducable manner; i.e., I've 
had it seize up when I was really typing fast, but also when I wasn't - perhaps 
when I was just hitting one key after several seconds.  There is just no 
pattern to it; it is like playing Russian roulette with my work - do something 
and save, do something and save, do something and BOOM - seize up without any 

I haven't received my JAWS 6 shipment yet, so have no idea if JAWS 6 would 
resolve the problem.

Again, please offer any constructive, positive feedback if you think you have 
any ideas as to what might be causing the problem.  I have client work I am 
trying to complete so please bear with me if I don't respond back quickly; I 
will try suggestions as soon as I can and get back to any of you as soon as 

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