Call for testing: UI Automation in Windows Console

Bill Dengler

Hi nvda-devel,

Microsoft has been doing a lot of really great work on UI Automation (UIA) in Windows Console (command prompt, PowerShell, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux). UIA vastly improves performance and stability in console, but some issues prevented it from becoming default in NVDA 2019.3.

Many of the bugs in UIA have been fixed, and I’m hoping it’ll be good enough to be default for the Windows 10 21H1 update to be released in the first half of 2021! However, it’s important that all serious bugs are resolved before UIA becomes the default. The deadline for fixes to make it into the next Windows update is 30 October 2020.

I’d really appreciate it if people tested this build (extract the zip and run OpenConsole.exe) of the Windows Console with “use UI Automation to access Windows Console” enabled in NVDA’s advanced settings and reported any issues to me. Alternatively, you can file issues on the microsoft/terminal GitHub repo (which also is used for Windows Console). If you file issues with Microsoft, please provide a test case for them to run in the NVDA Python console (see this issue as an example) and CC @carlos-zamora. If you need help generating a test case, please let me know.

To aid in testing, you can replace the Windows default console with OpenConsole. Change the owner of %systemroot%\system32\conhost.exe to yourself (in security properties), then grant you or the administrators group full control of the file. Rename conhost.exe to conhost.exe.orig, paste in OpenConsole.exe into the folder, and rename it to conhost.exe. If you’ve done it correctly, running nav.is21H1Plus in the Python console (NVDA+control+z) started from cmd should return True! To switch back to your original console, just rename conhost.exe to something else, and rename conhost.exe.orig back to conhost.exe.




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