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What is the Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7?

Whether you provide technical support as a profession or just help your family members when they have computer problems, you will find the Problem Steps Recorder to be a wonder tool. It takes the pain out of trying to discern what a user experienced when they encountered a problem with Windows itself or some application that they are running on Windows. It makes it easier on the user as well, as they no longer have to try and describe what happened. The Problem Steps Recorder is a simple tool that provides advanced documentation and screen captures of what took place on the users screen from the time they begin recording until the time they stop.

To open the Problem Steps Recorder, click the Start Orb, and type psr into the Search box (or open a Run box and input psr.exe). Select the file that appears in the search results. Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) is very simple looking. It has 3 buttons, Start Record, Stop Record and Add Comment.

To begin creating their documentation, the user would press the Start Record button.

They would then begin going through the steps that took them towards their question or problem. At any point during this process, they can press the Add Comment button to highlight a problem area and add comments. Once they are done, they click the Stop Record button. Once they stop recording, a Save As window appears letting them browse to the location they want to save the documentation. A zip file is created and saved to that location. Inside the zip file is a mht file containing the documentation. You will need to use Internet Explorer to view the mht file.

Opening the documentation will present the help desk, admin, or family tech guy with a step-by-step walkthrough of what the user did, complete with screenshots and any comments made by the user.

You can also view the recorded problem as a slideshow and even view the additional details that provide an even more indepth description of the steps taken by the user, including x,y coordinates of the mouse cursor, UI Elements, and the application that is being used.

Here’s an example of a generated mht file.

Without a doubt, this is a gem for anybody having to provide technical support.

Rob Rogers
Rob Rogers
Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.


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