GWKB1125 : Custom Controls and Reclassing

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Raul Gallegos
Date Added: 03/28/2011
Last Modified: 03/28/2011

Custom Controls and Reclassing


This guide describes how to fix any problems with Window-Eyes and reclassing a custom control. For this guide, it is assumed that you are comfortable with Window-Eyes concepts and commands, you are running at least Window-Eyes 7.5, and you are comfortable with manually editing text files with Notepad. For a full description of using the Reclass hot key of Window-Eyes and how to deal with Custom Controls, refer to the Window-Eyes manual.

As you interact with various programs, you may occasionally hear Window-Eyes speak the phrase, "custom control." This means that your focus has landed on some kind of control that Window-Eyes cannot readily identify. Visually, it may look like a button, check box, edit box, etc. However, the underlying way which the program implements the control differs from the standard types that Window-Eyes recognizes. If this happens, the reclass hot key, reached with Insert-R by default, allows you to tell Window-Eyes how to treat this control.

Unfortunately, not all custom controls can be reclassified and made to speak interactively, though most can. If you should encounter this situation, use the original-class item in the Reclass dialog box to set things back to the state they were before you reclassified the custom control. If for some reason you are unable to reclass the control back to the original setting using the Reclass Dialog, there are 2 ways to fix it.

Reinstalling the Factory Set to Restore a Broken Reclassification

The first way to restore a broken reclassification is easy. Especially if there are already factory sets for the program you made the change to, and if you don't mind losing any other changes you made to the sets for this program. Using this method does not require any editing of files.


  1. Close the program you are having reclass problems with.
  2. Press CONTROL-\ to open the "Window-Eyes Control Panel."
  3. Press ALT-F, F to open the "Factory Sets Dialog."
  4. When the list of factory sets displays, arrow to the one you want to restore.
  5. Press ALT-I to install the sets. Answer "Yes" and "Replace" to any of the questions. This will reinstall the factory sets for the program you chose and undo any customizations you have made to the sets.
  6. When you are returned to the list of factory sets, press escape a couple of times to close the dialog and minimize the Window-Eyes Control Panel.
  7. Launch the program you were having reclass problems with.


Manually Removing a Broken Reclassification

The second way to fix a broken reclassification is something you might do if there are no factory sets to replace, or if you have made a lot of customizations to the sets and don't want to get rid of them all. This requires being comfortable with editing a .we file with a text editor such as notepad.


  1. Close the program you are having reclass problems with.
  2. Press CONTROL-\ to open the "Window-Eyes Control Panel."
  3. Press ALT-F, E to open the profile folder for your Windows user account.
  4. To better find the recently updated .we file, from the view menu of this folder, sort the files by date modified.
  5. Arrow to the .WE file which pertains to the program you reclassified the custom control. I.E. If you made a reclass change in Wordpad, the file would be called wordpad.we. Please note that sometimes the .WE file does not have the same name as the program. For example the .WE file for Outlook Express is called msimn.we. This is why it is important to sort files by the last modified date.
  6. Press Enter to open the .we file. Windows will most likely tell you that it needs to find a program to open this .we file with. Choose notepad.
  7. Once the file has been opened, arrow to the line which contains: "[Reclass on Create]".
  8. Erase both the "[Reclass on Create]" as well as the line immediately below it.
  9. Save the file and exit notepad.
  10. Launch the program you were having reclass problems with.