When WSR shows a window (for example, the alternates dialog, the Disambiguation Numbers UI, or the dictation scratchpad), that window does not take focus. 

These windows do not take focus because these windows could alter the state of the application that WSR is talking to.  For example, if you’re renaming a file in Windows Explorer, when the focus goes away, the file gets renamed.

Unfortunately, though, accessibility applications often have problems finding these windows, even though these windows fire the standard WinEvents (several types of windows are plain dialogs, for example).

In Windows 7, WSR fires a custom UI Automation event when it shows or hides one of its custom windows (Disambiguation Numbers, dictation scratchpad, Alternates, Spelling, Pronunciation, Switch Windows, or Launch Application).

To do this, WSR uses the IUIAutomationRegistrar interface.

IUIAutomationRegistrar::RegisterEvent defines a new event ID given a GUID and a name.  If multiple applications register an event using the same GUID and name, they all get the same event ID.  The event ID can also be used in a call to SetWinEventHook, if your application is using WinEvents.

Beware: all registrations are invalidated when you release the IUIAutomationRegistrar interface pointer!  So you must retain the interface pointer until you no longer wish to process events.  (MSDN doesn’t make this clear.)

So, if you want to find out when WSR is showing one of its custom windows, call IUIAutomationRegistrar::RegisterEvent with these two event declarations, and check for these events in your event processing code.

const GUID GUID_ShowEvent = { 
    0x3891149e, 0x7190, 0x47d0, {0xa5, 0x18, 0xca, 0x1c, 0xdb, 0x40, 0xf7, 0xe3}
  };
#define UI_SHOW      L"Microsoft.Speech.UI.Shown"

const GUID GUID_HideEvent = { 
    0x987a1c35, 0x597b, 0x4947, {0x9e, 0xf8, 0xe7, 0xa6, 0x81, 0x42, 0xfd, 0x11}
  };
#define UI_HIDDEN    L"Microsoft.Speech.UI.Hidden"