After mixed results from the Windows Speech Recognition tool, I decided to try Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home version 12.0 from Nuance. It was highly recommended by a few friends of mine and seems to be about the most recognized software of its kind, so it should have been a no-brainer. Unfortunately, I was unable to get it installed. After the software went through its installation routine it would completely freeze my computer every single time. No stop error, no blue screen, just the whole thing completely frozen. Mouse wouldn't respond and the hard drive light on my case (it's a desktop - not a big fan of laptops for personal use but that's a whole different subject) would just go solid. Didn't blink or turn off; it was a full computer freeze with a solid hard drive LED. That's not very nice.
I contacted Nuance support about the issue and they sent me through the usual hoops. Turn off the anti-virus, turn off all non-Microsoft Windows Services, all common tech support stuff. Thankfully they never requested that I defrag the drive so it seems computer tech support has finally moved past that. So I humored the guy, tried everything he said and that lead to a few other freezes on my PC. Now, anyone that knows a thing about computers would tell you that a dead freeze is not a good thing, so I wasn't too pleased that everything I tried lead to that. I was disappointed that the tech support person never requested the installation log or paid attention to any of the error messages I gave him (some of the efforts would pop up some cryptic error messages that he never bothered to understand) so after trying six of his suggestions I simply gave up. I already requested Amazon for a refund and though it's easy on the money front as I'll just get refunded as soon as the return package reaches Amazon, I'm left disappointed as I expected to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking as an aid for my writing when the hands would start to become uncomfortable.