Beware of Video Intercept in VMWare 4.1.1

My new year’s resolution, upgrade my VMWare to the latest version, and add a Windows 7 virtual machine…so I can test on Mac, Windows XP and Windows 7…all on my magical mac.

So, I was happily running VMWare 3.x with no issues and still on Windows XP. JAWS was working like a charm with video intercept. I assumed that the latest version of VMware 4.1.1 would also support video intercept.

The upgrade from VMWare 3.x to 4.1.1 was easy. I just inserted the disk and followed my nose. But when I went to test how JAWS was working, I got the dialogue box on Freedom Scientific Video Intercept. The default selection when this dialogue comes up is: “Intall Video Intercept and Restart System”. But do NOT do it. I tried it and consistently get a blue screen and the option to start in safe mode. I selected “Last Known Good Configuration” and breathed a sign of relief when my Windows XP VM actually started up.

So, be forewarned, if you are running VMware 4.1.1 do NOT intall Video Intercept when prompted by JAWS. JAWS is going to ask you about video intercept every time you start the software. But don’t be lured into this danger zone. Just say no!

JAWS will still work on web browsers, but I’m under the impression that without video intercept, the JAWS cursor functionality and desktop software may not work correctly with the screenreader. See more about this over on the excellent article and conversation on the WebAim blog at JAWS, Window Eyes, Parallels and Boot Camp.


  1. I would not recommend using or (especially) evaluating content without the Video Intercept installed. There are quite a few differences in how JAWS works if you don’t install it. Even with standard web content, which should not be impacted by the video intercept, JAWS does not report accurate content, tends to repeat random information, and generally functions oddly. Once the intercept is installed, it should work fine (“fine” meaning the normal level of bugginess and instability).

    I do realize this may limit the use of VMware 4, Windows 7 (it seems to work fine on XP), and JAWS until a fix comes out.

  2. Oh my word…that was soooo very painful! I decided to backdown from VMWare 4 to VMWare 3.

    I followed instructions at

    But alas…video intercept was still not working properly…and it was pretty obvious that my video display driver had been crushed in the process. My poor little XP vm was running Display Properties of 4 bit color quality and a screen resolution so small it reminded me of my old mobile phone (before smart phones).

    So, I figured that my display driver needed repair. I found a way to roll back my video display driver on Windows XP:

    1. Right click on desktop, select Properties from menu.
    2. Select Settings tab and press Advanced button.
    3. Select Adapter tab and press Properties button.
    4. Select Driver tab and press Roll Back Driver.

    I still had JAWS 11, 12 and 13 installed on that XP virtual machine. I opened up JAWS 11 and bravely clicked on the button to execute the installation of the Video Intercept. And now, all my versions of JAWS are working with video intercept on my Windows XP virtual machine.

    I’m beginning to wonder which of these steps made the difference. Was it JAWS 11? Was it rolling back the VGA display driver?

    I have a sneaking suspicion it was the rolling back of the VGA display driver that mended my problem. All I know, is I’m a very grateful accessibility expert right now. Having all 3 versions of JAWS back in my grasp on my MacBook Pro means the world to me.

    Video Intercept….you are mine once again!

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