I just learned about a wonderful troubleshooting feature included in all versions of Windows 7. I can’t believe Microsoft hasn’t made a bigger deal about this tool! It’s called Problem Steps Recorder. If you encounter an issue that you can reproduce, but can’t easily show or explain to someone, this tool can help.
For example, if I found that clicking a link crashes my internet browser, I can just let the webmaster know the page address and which link caused the problem. However, if I find that only a certain combination of clicks and other actions lead to a crash, that may be more difficult to explain accurately.
Enter Problem Steps Recorder. If I click the “Start” orb, type “psr” (without quotes) and hit enter. A control bar will appear. After I click “start recording”, it will record all of the steps I take, including a text description of where I clicked and a picture of the screen during each click. The text I’m typing will not be recorded. If this information is important to the troubleshooting process, I can use the “Add Comment” feature to annotate the steps. When I stop recording, the information can be saved to a zip file and emailed to support.
As a support professional, I can attest to how important it is to be able to see the screens people are talking about. With so many possible variables on any given machine, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.
If you’d like to learn more about Problem Steps Recorder, see the dedicated Microsoft support page.