I warn readers that my post here is a bit long, but for those of you who want to help things improve with JAWS, I urge you to take the time to consider my observations and opinions described below.
Back early on with JAWS 17, I reported to Freedom Scientific the sluggishness I was experiencing. I also reported that on this list. At the time, nobody else seemed to be having the problem, and FS said they had not heard of anyone but me having the problems. Maybe I was the first, but now it seems obvious the problem is steadily affecting more and more of us.
I tried every update of JAWS 17, hoping it would fix the problems, but the sluggishness became worse. I tried all beta test versions of JAWS 18, and although it seemed a bit better, eventually J 18 was impacted to the point that I quit using it.
I completely uninstalled every piece of FS software, other than Open Book, and did a new install of JAWS 16 from the installation CD. I have not had any of the sluggishness, now going on about 3 weeks.
It thus seems clear there is a fundamental problem with J 17 and 18, that it affects different computers at different rates of onset, like a disease that started slowly, and is now gathering steam as it spreads.
My machine is an HP laptop running Windows 7 Pro, 32 bit, with 6 GB of ram. It is a state government agency machine, with Semantic encryption and anti-virus, and Office 2013. Somewhere in our experiences are the clues towards a solution, and I hope FS figures it out soon.
For now, I will stay with J 16. If I decide that JAWS is not worth the problems, I will go to NVDA, but not beat myself up any longer dealing with the performance problems JAWS 17-18 have. My current license is good only up to version 17, and I just wont' pay for any more worthless upgrades.
From my vague recollection, to find good JAWS stability, we would have to go back to something like JAWS 7, maybe up to 10, but after that, FS was focusing too much on developing new features, in order to justify us continuing to work with them.
That said, I also appreciate that Windows and web design has become vastly more complicated, to come up with all those nifty visual features, and it has been a constant battle for screen readers to keep up. JAWS is losing the battle.
My humble suggestion is that Freedom Scientific should accept that JAWS basic stability and features have now become too unstable for most of us. JAWS created the new "feature" of having an automatic reboot of JAWS when the system senses a lockup. That "feature" is a complete acknowledgement of how unstable JAWS has become.
In order for a private vendor such as FS to be motivated to quit trying new features for a while, and concentrate on stability of what JAWS already has, JAWS users need to send a clear message to FS, that we will be willing to accept less new glitz, in exchange for stability.
Maybe us JAWS users have to share some of the blame for allowing ourselves to get excited about new JAWS versions, but we never were asked whether we valued new features over stability. I suggest that it is now time for us to make that clear, that glitz is fine, but not at the expense of stable performance for our day in and day out use of computers.
Thank you for considering my long rant.,