Updated screen reader compatibility notice for Version 1903: emoji panel, virtual desktops, Windows Sandbox #ADVISORY #WinTenOld


Hi all,


The following is an updated screen reader compatibility notice for Windows 10 Version 1903 (May 2019 Update/build 18362) based on tests done on a pre-production build and official 1903 stable build (18362.116):



  • Version 1809 features support: although screen readers do not have to support every Version 1809 feature, future versions must support at least emoji panel and cloud clipboard, including the redesigned emoji panel in Version 1903.
  • Internal UI Automation changes: due to subtle changes made to UI Automation in Version 1903 (especially virtual desktop name change routine), future screen reader releases must be prepared to deal with more recent changes, especially supporting IUIAutomation6 interface.



  • If using emoji panel, 2018 won’t quite cut it anymore: due to radical redesign of emoji panel in Version 1809, along with yet another redesign in Version 1903 in order to support kaomoji and symbols categories, JAWS 2018 won’t quite cut it for Version 1903. Proper emoji panel support is part of JAWS 2019, including foundations to support newly redesigned emoji panel including navigating kaomoji and symbols categories. Thus if you for some reason find yourself needing to consult emoji panel (Windows+period), or for that matter need to use multiple clipboard entry support in Version 1809 and later, you are hereby advised to upgrade to JAWS 2019 (depending on where you live and your situation, you can choose between a full purchase, SMA, or subscription).
  • JAWS cannot be installed inside Windows Sandbox (Pro and Enterprise 64-bit with proper hardware support): as noted a few weeks ago, JAWS cannot be installed inside Windows Sandbox (Version 1903) due to the fact that the installer will ask you to restart the system, which will cause Windows Sandbox host to report that the guest has crashed. JAWS portable won’t solve this either due to the fact that it needs to install certain driver components to function properly.



  • Virtual desktops announcement: this won’t work properly if all of the following are true: you are using NVDA 2019.1.1 or earlier, Windows 10 Version 1809 or earlier, or not using Windows 10 App Essentials add-on. This is due to bugs seen when trying to announce virtual desktop names when switching amongst them. This is now fixed in Version 1903, but proper support for it isn’t part of NVDA 2019.1.1; support for it may come with 2019.2 (Windows 10 App Essentials add-on will be modified to take advantage of this change). Thus if you need to work with virtual desktops, either use NVDA 2019.1.1 with Windows 10 App Essentials add-on, or wait until 2019.2 or whichever version that includes proper virtual desktops announcement support comes to wherever you’ve got NVDA.
  • Emoji panel opening announcement is missing: this is caused by the redesigned emoji panel in Version 1903. Yours truly have submitted a fix for this. In the meantime, Windows 10 App Essentials add-on resolves this.