Problem Steps Recorder (PSR)
Remember the bells and whistles we talked about before? Okay, this is not one of them. Microsoft has introduced a feature that IT pros are already falling in love with: The Problem Steps Recorder (PSR). This application shows your computer problem to someone, which is a better option sometimes than trying to explain it to them.. The PSR is a tiny application that looks like the small sound recorder application (Figure 3). When you start recording with it, it keeps track of every click you make and creates a log file description of the action. It's like a step–by-step account of everything you did leading up to the problem. You can then send this log to your helpdesk support.
For example, say you have an application crash at the same point every time. What you need is for someone to see exactly what you did leading up to the crash. Turn on the PSR and repeat the steps to make the application crash. Your helpdesk will get a clear picture of exactly what went wrong, no translating required.
Getting to the PSR is a breeze:
- To start the PSR, click Search and type psr. Click psr.exe to open the application.
- Nothing complicated here[md]just hit Start Record.
One thing to remember is that the PSR takes a maximum of 25 screen captures by default. You can increase this amount by clicking on the tiny down arrow to the right of the question mark and choosing Settings. (This is the most hidden place for a menu I have ever seen.) While you are there, you can also create a default Output Location so it doesn't always ask you where to save the recording. Since the PSR saves the recording as an MHTML file, it's quickly viewed in a browser (Figure 4). By default, it saves your recording in a zip file, so it's already packaged up and ready to go.
On the receiving end, the IT expert you send it to gets a load of data that he can view in different ways. Like a blog, everything is laid out with text explanations and pictures by default. For security purposes, any text you typed (such as passwords) is not recorded. I thought a great addition to this application is the ability to view the data as a slideshow. Seriously, this application has been well thought out.
You could also utilize the PSR as follows:
- Use the PSR to record a step-by-step tutorial.
- Use the PSR to record pictures you want to show someone else without sending them the actual photos.
Here's hoping Microsoft makes this a free download that's available to all previous versions of Windows.
So There You Have It…
Two great tools to ensure you receive the help you need, when you need it. We hope you never do!