Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Installing Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10.1 on Multiple Computers

Note: This research was performed when Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10.1 was the latest version.


You are permitted to install Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) on multiple computers under certain conditions.
This is what the January 2010 newsletter says:
  • "Q: Can I install Dragon on more than one computer or do I need to buy another license?
  • A: YES! Dragon is licensed per user, not per computer. So if you have more than one PC or laptop, you can install Dragon on multiple computers (up to five machines total) for regular usage. Your customized user profile can be stored on one machine or transferred from machine to machine so that you can maintain a consistent dictation experience across machines. A separate license is only required when additional speakers use the software."
This is what the DNS User Guide (page 6) says: "Multiple users on one computer Dragon is licensed on a "per individual" basis. You are permitted to install the software on more than one computer (such as on a desktop and a laptop computer, or on a work and a home computer), but you cannot use the software concurrently on more than one computer. You are permitted to create multiple voice profiles, so long as each voice profile is for you. If someone else wants to create a voice profile, that person must purchase a separate Dragon license. Volume license agreements are available."
I was unable to find anything about installing DNS on more than one computer in the End User License Agreement (EULA); it only talks about creating multiple User Profiles. Note that the only time you have access to the EULA is during the installation process (I confirmed this with Nuance Customer Service).

Product Deactivation

Prior to reading the January 2010 newsletter, I thought that a DNS installation was restricted to one computer. This is because when researching the ability to reinstall DNS on a new or upgraded computer, I discovered that it is important to deactivate DNS by uninstalling it from the old computer when connected to the Internet, prior to installing it on the new/upgraded one. The product activation FAQ says: "Will the product ever need to be deactivated? Yes. If you want to move your license onto another computer, or are planning to upgrade any hardware or the operating system (since activation may see this as a new computer), you should deactivate your software. For the product to be correctly deactivated your computer must be connected to the internet during the uninstall process in order to free up an activation so it can be reused when you reinstall the software with the new hardware."
Note that deactivation is important to do even if you make a change to the computer hardware. A web page that explains how product activation works says: "The software creates a a unique "machine fingerprint" based upon your system hardware and operating system. The unique machine fingerprint and serial number combination are passed over the internet to the Nuance activation server, either through automatic or manual activation.The activation server tracks the number of fingerprints per serial number. If the number of fingerprints for each serial number has not been exceeded, the server sends back an activation code to unlock the software. Each product's End User License Agreement indicates the number of systems or users that can legally use the software. If a computer's hardware or operating systems are changed, a new machine fingerprint may be created, one more activation will be consumed and the remaining number of activations will decrease. Uninstalling the software from your system will notify the activation server and will remove the corresponding fingerprint and serial number combination from the server, freeing up an activation and increasing the remaining number of activations."
So, to summarize, for DNS, Nuance will permit you to activate it on up to 5 computers but if you are upgrading your existing computer or wanting to install DNS on a new one, ensure that you follow the deactivation process to decrement the activations count.

Synchronizing User Profiles

When using DNS on multiple computers keep in mind that you'll have to go to extra work to synchronize the user profiles. According to a DNS document, "Each user has a unique profile which is created and updated by Dragon. This profile contains things such as the user’s macros and customized vocabulary as well as learned information about the way the person speaks (says certain words, vocal accent, the acoustics of the recording devices they use, etc.)." From a vocabulary point-of-view, this may not be important to you e.g. if you have a home versus work computer and what you dictate is vastly different on each. You'll also have to decide whether the acoustic training is important to share e.g. do you perform a lot of corrections because DNS misrecognizes what you say?
There are 3 methods for synchronizing user profiles:
  1. Periodically export the User profile from the original computer, then import it to the recipient computer. This is done through the Manage Users dialog box—available through the NaturallySpeaking menu or by saying manage users.
  2. Change the location of the user files to a network directory or portable storage device, such as a flash drive. You can then carry the storage device to a different computer running DNS and start the program with that user. This is done through the Manage Users dialog box—click Browse and then use the Browse For Folder dialog box to locate where you want Dragon to save the user files.
  3. If you have the Professional, Legal or Medical version, you can use the Roaming User feature which "allows users to dictate with Dragon NaturallySpeaking from different network locations using a variety of computing devices without having to create and train individual user files at each location." You would use this feature if you're part of a large organization where the network administrator can configure Dragon to allow your profile to reside on the network. The major advantage is that you wouldn't need to store your profile on a flash drive. And if you, for example, take your laptop home from the office and use DNS while not connected to the office network, when you reconnect your laptop to the network back at the office, DNS will reconcile the changes you made to your local profile with the network profile.

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