Building a Microsoft Speech Server using a VPC

Research is often investigating existing products for your company or school work.  For the students that joined the Imagine Cup Software Design Invitational, you can email me directly.  As a science, technology, engineering or math student, it is likely you have access to most of the software that Microsoft makes.  For a complete list see my colleague’s blog at:

All of the products that I discuss in this blog are available through the MSDNAA program at your school.  If not, let me know, I will tell you who the administrator is at your school.

  1. Get the Microsoft Virtual PC (VPC) and install it on either a XP or Vista machine, Windows 7 will work, but I didn’t test it
  2. On the VPC, load a copy of Windows 2008, you can get that through the MSDNAA Program, I would use the Windows 2008 Standard or Enterprise without the R2 as the R2 is in beta
  3. You may need to ask your MSDNAA Administrator at your school for access to the speech server as well as to the Windows 2008 server

It is a good idea to have the VPC on a separate harddrive then your client machine, this will speed up access to the VPC.  I use a USB or Serial ATA and the response is impressive, one of the reasons is that the virtual image is a clean build every time I use it.

Another reason: You will want to build a series of virtual hard drives, first one with only Windows 2008, make a copy of it and then build an image with SQL Server on it, and so forth.  Here are the images I would recommend:

1. Windows 2008 Standard or Enterprise

2. Windows 2008 you built in step 1 and then copy it, add SQL Server Standard and SQL Server Express with the management tools for Express

3. Windows 2008 you built in step 2 (with SQL server) and then add Sharepoint

4. Windows 2008 you built in step 3 (with SQL server) and then add Speech Server

  • Once you build your Windows 2008 (I used Enterprise) you need to make a copy and then copy it on a separate hard drive if you have one.  One copy is to be kept as a back up or if you want to build a different image.  The other one you use to add SQL server 2005 Enterprise and server 2008 Enterprise, also add SQL Express while you are at it.
  • Then add the “build” image with Windows 2008 and the SQL Servers, make a copy, one on your build machine and then the other copy on your storage hard drive.
  • Do the same for Visual Studio 2008 Visual Studio Team System, making a copy (although by now you might have run out of room, with the SQL server and Windows 2008 are plenty of backup)


Expect this to take awhile to complete, especially if you are downloading the various products from a DSL line.

Next: Implementing the Demos for Speech Server