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The JAWS logo

JAWS 5.0 has arrived

By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Student Computing Services Manager

Academic Computing Services has received its CD copies of JAWS 5.0 from Freedom Scientific at last. The application has been available for download from the Freedom Scientific site for several weeks prior to shipment date and has already been tested in the ACS / Adaptive General Access Lab. The new version of JAWS most notably includes several enhancements to its webpage-reading capabilities (provided that web developers have inserted the proper ADA-compliant HTML tags). Additionally, JAWS 5.0 includes again, a very important feature that was 'lost' in the 4.x version: the ability to read text in a terminal emulation window. This is especially important to persons with disabilities in areas that utilized terminal emulation of UNIX/Linux-based machines (like computer programming and Linux server management) on Windows desktops.

Where do I get JAWS?

An installation CD for JAWS 5.0 can be picked up from Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner in ISB 129. The CD packet also includes an audio manual for the application (more on the contents of the CD packet in this article below).

Unfortunately, the much-touted 'web-based license authorization process' that was to ship with JAWS 5.0 did not make it to prime time so installers of the software are still stuck with those lousy authorization diskettes. AND the company forgot to ship UNT a new batch of those authorization diskettes so network managers who still have their 3.7 authorization disks will need to use them to authorize their new JAWS 5.0 installation! (our Freedom Scientific sales rep has reported to me that 'new disks are in the mail' so keep your fingers crossed).

Before everyone gnashes their teeth too much over the authorization diskette issue, however, please read the hints below on how to easily install JAWS on all your machines with only one diskette authorization and also how you might want to take advantage of the JAWS server/client version of the product when rolling out this product.

Minimizing problems with JAWS

The easiest way to minimize your JAWS authorization woes (and actually to minimize problems with the application in general) is to include it as part of a 'base image' of your machine, launch the application and authorize it, and then ghost that base image with the authorized JAWS installation. Then when you push out your new base image onto your machines using Symantec's Ghost, the authorization sticks and the application is all ready to go for all your desktops. No more shoving of diskettes into endless numbers of floppy drives and no more having to have 10 authorization diskettes (each diskette contains 5 authorizations) for a 50-machine lab. Just remember that if you want to preserve that initial authorization, you will need to put it back onto the diskette before wiping your base image machine and starting over from scratch. (JAWS online help - included with the installation CD - gives good instructions on how to put an authorization back onto the diskette). This 'make one authorized installation onto a base image and push out that image via Ghost' is the method we use in the ACS/Adaptive General Access Lab and is the method recommended by the folks in tech support at Freedom Scientific. The tech folks also strongly advised against using Zenworks to launch and install JAWS - they have found that method to be fraught with difficulties.

Another way to distribute JAWS

A second way that some colleges and departments may want to distribute JAWS to their users who need it is to use the client/server version of the software. Each JAWS installation CD has an option: JAWS Network Setup. Select JAWS Network Setup from the JAWS CD Autorun dialog, and select JAWS Server Setup with Speech (for administrators who are visually impaired) or JAWS Server Setup without Speech (for sighted administrators who don't need the screen reader). The Setup process is very similar to a regular installation of JAWS except that the JAWS Server Setup without Speech will not then require a diskette authorization upon first launch.

Installing JAWS

It is strongly recommended that you select either Guided or Advanced install. Select all speech synthesizers and/or Braille displays that will be used on any of the client systems. Only those items that are selected during the server setup will be available to the clients. If you select JAWS Server Setup without Speech, you will need to administrate the JAWS user accounts remotely from a client system, using an account with administrative rights. All potential users of JAWS in your area will need to have Read and Filescan rights to the server directory in which you install the network copy.

The network authorization (once again you only have to use that auth diskette once) can be installed at any point after the JAWS50 folder on the server is shared and before the JAWS network client setup is installed on each client system:

Insert the JAWS Network authorization diskette into drive A. JAWS network authorization cannot be installed from drive B.

Select Start, Run and type:

A:\netauth -t\\ServerName\SharedDirectoryName -net

Substitute the appropriate server name and shared directory name, as this switch requires the UNC (Universal Naming Convention) path to the JAWS50 folder. Then make sure that every client machine for JAWS has a drive mapped to this path. Once the client version of JAWS is installed on the client machine, each time it is launched it will look to the shared server directory for its authorization. JAWS server administrators also set up user profiles and accounts using the HJAdministrator application that is part of the installation. Each JAWS user gets his or her own profile folder where he or she can set and save user preferences. By logging into JAWS on other client machines, the user can access his or her profile folder and have all preferences in place. All instructions on running HJAdministrator are included on the JAWS installation CD.

Is there a server version?

We have only begun experimenting in the ACS / Adaptive lab with the server version of JAWS. It does sound especially useful for large enterprises with a variety of JAWS users. From the labs' and ODA's perspective, it would allow a student, staff, or faculty member with a visual disability to move about and do work in a variety of areas on campus while keeping his or her particular user preferences always available. User profiles and authorizations could be accessed and shared using the UNT Student Storage system. If you are interested in our experiments with JAWS Server, please contact me, Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner and I will keep you posted.

Attn. Network Managers

It is strongly recommended that network managers using JAWS in their areas come by and pick up the installation CD even if they have already downloaded and installed the new version of the software from the company website. Additionally the contents of the CD can be found on CC2\Software in the JAWS directory. The installation CD contains extensive online documentation of the features mentioned above and also on the application in general. All documentation is found in the following directory on the CD: \JAWS50\AllFiles\Documentation\On-Line Help\ Documentation for JAWS is found in the JFW.chm file and documentation on HJAdministrator is found in the HJAdmin.chm file.

Also found on the installation CD is a complete text of the audio manual found in \Training\JAWS Audio Demos\. The actual audio CD is not on CC2\Software due to space considerations; you will have to pick that CD up from me, Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner.


In conclusion the new version of JAWS should not present endusers with any new learning issues or network managers with any unforeseen installation issues; it is pretty much the same product as always. For more information please contact me at