Windows

Cut through IT/end-user confusion with Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder

Bill Detwiler shows you how Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder can show you exactly what was happening when a computer problem occurred.

How many times has a user struggled to explain over the phone exactly what they were doing when their computer crashed?

Although tools like Windows Remote Assistance, LogMeIn, CrossLoop, and VNC are probably the best way to see exactly what's happening with a remote system, there are times when connecting directly to a machine just isn't possible or practical. In these situations, the end user is often left trying to explain the events that led up to their problem over the phone. And depending on how tech savvy they are, these conversations can be extremely frustrating for both the user and IT.

During this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how the Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder can show you exactly what was happening when a problem occurred.

Improve IT communication

Want resources to help your IT department effectively communicate with the rest of the business? Check out these additional resources:

For those who prefer text to video, click the View Transcript link below the video player windows or check out Greg Shultz's article, "Troubleshoot Windows 7 with the built-in Problem Steps Recorder," on which this video is based.

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

11 comments
heckle
heckle

This is helpful for creating documentation/how-to's for end users. It will get you screenshots with where to click and then you can use the snipping tool to get specific sections and paint to edit.

ljohr
ljohr

Video is taking like forever to open. Can it be our internet connection?

S. Giesbrecht
S. Giesbrecht

I use this utility for creating procedures - very handy.

raul62
raul62

PSR looks useful just when a family-member has those problems the tech-savvy family-member has to solve in any way. Very good tip!

jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527
jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527

Way back when I first began working for myself, I made the grave mistake of taking just about any and all clients, both business and typical home users. One of my first calls was to an older couple's home to resolve what seemed to be a virus on the wife's computer. The husband stated he just signed in to "get on the line" to check his email, and the PC started acting funny. As I sat there, running through my normal checks of what could be the problem - with the wife standing over my should no less - I came across a TON of porn in the husband's temporary internet files. For the next half hour I sat in the couple's office, unable to extracate myself from the house without going through the living room, which had become a war zone. I had to listen to every word of a marriage-ending threats from the wife, as the husband tried desperately to convince her he'd just been caught in a "Pornado". Needless to say, when I finally was able to get out of there, I didn't even bother to bill them. The next day I made the decision to stop supporting home users.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

At least in this situation you had the option of not supporting them further. What if you HAD to support them? In one of her "What would you do?" columns, Becky Roberts tells the story of Aaron--a support tech who was asked to help a wife open pictures that her husband had sent her. (They all work for the same company.) To Aaron's surprise (not the wife's), the pictures were pornographic. Check out the full story here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/talking-shop-should-a-tech-support-pornographic-e-mail/5034973

bignapdog
bignapdog

Can't wait to use this utility!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

In this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder can show you exactly what was happening when a computer problem occurred. This can help you troubleshoot the problem more quickly and cut down on end-use/IT confusion. It can also help you verify what a user told you they were doing when the problem occurred. Have you ever caught a user lying about what they were doing when their computer crashed? Original post and poll: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/itdojo/cut-through-itend-user-confusion-with-windows-7-problem-steps-recorder/2634