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JAWS Tandem Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What version of JAWS must the controller and target system have?

Answer: JAWS 2020 or later. An authorized license is needed if you are going to be a controller. To use 2020 or 2021 as a target or controller, you must be running the November 2021 updates for these versions. Visit the JAWS Previous Versions page to install the latest 2021 or 2020 updates.

Question: How responsive is the JAWS Tandem session?

Answer: You'll be amazed! It's very much like Remote Desktop or Citrix.

Question: Can JAWS Demo or JAWS 40-Minute mode be used with JAWS Tandem on either the controller or target system?

Answer: Yes, you can use JAWS as a Demo for a target system during Tandem sessions.

Question: During a Tandem session, which keyboard layout, laptop or desktop, is used?

Answer: The layout used on the controller side of the session is the primary keyboard layout used by both the controller and target systems.

Question: Can a sighted user who is using a mouse on the controller computer work with the target computer or is it limited to keyboard use only?

Answer: The mouse is also active when running JAWS Tandem provided that you turn on the video output on controller side.

Question: What are the main uses of this outside of AT training and tech support? For example, can it be used to work with Web developers for usability testing?

Answer: Yes. It can also be used by consultants to help with scripting and debugging issues from a distance.

Question: Can JAWS Tandem be used by a JAWS user to remote into computers of sighted colleagues that don't necessarily use JAWS?

Answer: Yes, if the sighted colleagues install JAWS as a demo on their computers.

Question: What is the difference between JAWS Tandem and Remote Desktop, Citrix, or terminal services?

Answer: JAWS Tandem lets you, the controller, run in the target's user session while the target user is on the computer at the same time. Remote Desktop/Terminal/Citrix is running on your own desktop on the remote machine, and no one on the other side can see or hear it. For support purposes, JAWS Tandem is perfect.

Question: While in a JAWS Tandem session, can the controller use the Task Manager on the target computer?

Answer: Yes. To launch Task Manager on the target side, you must use the keystroke CTRL+SHIFT+ESCAPE, or press WINDOWS Key+R to open the Run dialog box, and then type taskmgr and press ENTER. Note that if you try to use CTRL+ALT+DELETE to open the Task Manager, this command will be executed on the controller's machine.

Question: From the controller system, can I hear the target system's audio?

Answer: Yes. During a JAWS Tandem session, events that generate sounds on the target system, such as a Windows program error, entry and exit of Auto Forms Mode, or other JAWS sounds associated with the Speech and Sounds Manager, can be heard on the controller system. This means that when an event occurs on the target system, a notification is sent to the controller system so that the controller computer plays the same or a similar WAV file. This is very helpful to support personnel and trainers running the JAWS Tandem session.

Question: Can I change my synthesizer during a session?

Answer: No. After a session is established, you can only change the pitch or volume of your synthesizer.

Question: Can my English United States (ENU) computer use JAWS Tandem to connect to an English United Kingdom (ENG) or Australian (ENA) computer?

Answer: Yes. Systems with different minor languages (dialects) will work in JAWS Tandem.

Question: Can my English computer use JAWS Tandem to connect to a computer with a different major language such as French or Spanish?

Answer: No. You would first need to switch one of the computers to match the others' major language before starting the JAWS Tandem session.

Question: Can a controller temporarily turn off any JAWS user settings on the target computer, in order to troubleshoot a problem that the target computer is having?

Answer: Yes. Use the Manage Application Settings dialog box located in the Options menu of the JAWS application window. In this dialog, you can choose to disable all settings, default settings, or selective applications without having to restart JAWS. A restart would end the JAWS Tandem session. This is a great way to troubleshoot a problem by ruling out any user modifications or third party scripts.

Question: If either the controller or target computer needs to be restarted, what will happen to the JAWS Tandem session?

Answer: You would need to start a JAWS Tandem session again with a new meeting ID after the computer restarts. It is suggested that the controller or target end the JAWS Tandem session with INSERT+ALT+T before rebooting the computer.

Question: How many computers can join a JAWS Tandem session?

Answer: There can only be two. One controller and one target.

Question: If you are using an app such as Teams or Skype to talk between two different computers, can you also use JAWS Tandem without ending the call?

Answer: Yes, this can be very useful as well. The controller can explain what is being done and the target user can ask questions during the entire session consequently avoiding a phone call.

Question: What if either computer receives a call over Teams or Skype during a JAWS Tandem Session? Can it be answered?

Answer: If the call is on the target computer, then either the target user, or controller for that matter, can answer. If the call is on the controller side, then the controller can answer it by toggling back to his or her own desktop by using INSERT+ALT+TAB without having to end the JAWS Tandem session.

Question: What is the role of the Tandem Center?

Answer: The Tandem Center allows two arbitrary JAWS users anywhere on the Internet to connect to each other. The Tandem Center gets data from one user and passes it to the other user.

Question: Who runs the Tandem Center?

Answer: The Tandem Center is hosted by Freedom Scientific.

Question: How does JAWS Tandem communication work?

Answer: JAWS Tandem uses a proprietary protocol to establish a connection and transport data between two computers. To achieve security, it uses the TLS 1.2 cryptographic protocol.

Question: Does Freedom Scientific know about what I am doing if all data travels through the Tandem Center?

Answer: Freedom Scientific does not record the contents of any session. The session infrastructure is set up so that once a session begins; the data is encrypted so that the Tandem Center server cannot decipher the information.

Question: Can the target user disconnect the session if they do not like the controller user's actions?

Answer: Yes. Any user can disconnect at any time by pressing INSERT+ALT+T.

Question: My Firewall is blocking the connection to the Tandem Center. What do I do?

Answer: The Tandem Center runs at a well-known Internet address and port. The Tandem Center address is The port is 443. If Tandem Center is being blocked, configure your firewall to allow access to this address and port.

Question: For a Tandem Direct session, what port does the target system listen to for a connection to the controller system? Can I change the port?

Answer: For a Tandem Direct session, the target system listens on port 3000 by default. If you need to change the port setting, choose the Options button in the Allow Access to my Computer dialog box, and type a new port number in the Port edit box. Remember to tell the user on the controller side so that JAWS Tandem on the controller system can be configured for the same port. The Options button is in the Get Access to a Computer on the controller system.

Question: I use the DECtalk hardware synthesizer. My friend wants to connect to me and help me configure email. He does not have DECtalk and uses Vocalizer Expressive. Can we have a JAWS Tandem session?

Answer: Yes, JAWS Tandem will detect that you and your friend have different synthesizers. It will offer to switch both of you to Eloquence for the length of the sessions. You both will connect and work for the length of the session using Eloquence. After the JAWS Tandem session ends, both you and your friend will go back to your synthesizers automatically.

Question: My Tandem Direct connection fails and JAWS announces the following message: A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or the established connection failed because the connected host has failed to respond. What happened?

Answer: On the target system, you must add an exception to the JTTarget program in the Windows Firewall dialog box. To do this, open Control Panel and choose Windows Firewall. Next, press CTRL+TAB to switch to the Exceptions page. In the Programs and Services list, use the ARROW keys to move to JTTarget. Press SPACEBAR to select the check box. Press TAB to move to the OK button and press SPACEBAR to save the change and close Windows Firewall. Make a Tandem Direct connection again. If this still does not work, restart JAWS and try to connect again.