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Configuring aspell on Windows 2003 Server

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Moodle 1.5

This section may also work with Windows 2000 Server and/or Moodle 1.6. It was created on Moodle 1.5.4 and Windows 2003 Server Web edition.

To add aspell functionality to the HTML editor:

  1. Install aspell and dictionary using Win32 install directions. I preferred using c:\progra~1\aspell as the path instead of c:\aspell. Leaving spaces in the path will probably not work.
  2. In Windows (i.e. lusrmgr.msc) create a Moodle user account and remove User privileges.
  3. Set permissions on the c:\progra~1\aspell folder (files and subfolders) to allow the Moodle account read and execute.
  4. Add read and execute privileges to CMD.EXE in the system32 folder for the Moodle user.
  5. Using IIS's Internet Service Manager, locate your site and the Moodle folders, change the security authentication from anonymous user to the Moodle user and set its password for the following folders:
    1. moodle\Admin
    2. moodle\Spelling
  6. In Moodle's Configuration, Editor settings, change the aspellpath to C:\progra~1\aspell\bin\aspell.exe and set editorspelling to Yes and set your language.
  7. Test using an editable page on your site. If you have used the editor before, you may need to press Ctrl-F5 (in firefox and IE) to completely reload the editor. (Or restart your browser)

I've written these instructions after the fact so there may be a step or two missing, but the ideas are there. It is a bit of a trade off for security in that anonymous users cannot access CMD.EXE and the only folders the Moodle user can access are the spelling related folders (except for \Admin). There may be ways to further tighten the security and I welcome any feedback on that.

Before adding read/execute privileges to CMD.EXE I was seeing the 'Couldn't create handle!' error on the Editor settings page. I did not have to add anything to the system path or change any registry settings.

Please see thread for comments/edits.

Changes for Moodle 1.7+ and 1.8+

Warning: This method be neither secure nor robust

To configure path to aspell.exe:

  • Site Administration-->
    • Server-->
      • System Paths-->
        • Path to aspell: c:\Aspell\bin\aspell.exe (for example)

To turn on spelling tool:

  • Site Administration-->
    • Appearence-->
      • HTML Editor-->
        • Use HTML Editor: Check
        • If access permissions to the aspell directories or to cmd.exe are not correct, the following items will not be visible:
          • Editor Spelling: Check
          • Editor Dictionary: Choose a dictionary
        • Uncheck the spelling tool icon in the hidden icons list.

See Also

Spell Check