Today a customer wrote in and asked: "I was wondering if you knew if Vista stores its data files of a users speech pattern in such a way so it can be transferred to other computers; in particular if I was to re-install my operating system."

Good question!

The good news is that not only does Windows Speech Recognition (WSR) store the data files in just such a way, if you can actually use a feature in Windows Vista to do it for you automatically. The feature: the Windows Easy Transfer wizard. This wizard allows you to specify exactly what data you want to copy from one machine to another.

To use the Windows Easy Transfer Wizard:
1. Click Start
2. Type "Easy Transfer" into the search box
3. Click on "Windows Easy Transfer"
4. Click "Next"
5. Click "Start a new transfer"
6. Click "My old computer"
7. Pick a way to transfer the files (transfer cable, using a network, or removable media)
8. Answer the specific questions about that mode of transfer
9. Click "Advanced options" on the "What do you want to transfer" page
10. Uncheck all the items in the list
11. Expand the node in the tree that corresponds to your log on user name
12. Expand the "Windows Settings" node
13. Expand the "Sound and Speech Recognition" node
14. Check the "Speech Recognition" node
15. Click "Next"

That's it... All your WSR profiles will be backed up/moved.

Now, this isn't as easy as I'd like it to be for WSR users, and that's why I hope to update a tool on microsoft.com/downloads in the near future to make this 2-3 steps, instead of 15 steps... Stay tuned for more info!