TR Dojo: Let users show you with Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder
June 7, 2011, 11:21am PDT | Length: 00:04:05
Bill Detwiler shows you how Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder can show you exactly what was happening when a computer problem occurred. Once you’ve watched this TR Dojo video, you can find a link to the original TechRepublic article and print the tip from our
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Bill Detwiler: How many times has a user struggled toexplain over the phone exactly what they were doing when their computercrashed?
Well, I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo,I'll show you how the Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder can show you exactlywhat was happening when a problem occurred.
Although tools like Windows Remote Assistance, LogMeIn,CrossLoop, and VNC are probably the best way to see exactly what’s happeningwith a remote system, there are times when connecting directly to a machinejust isn’t possible or practical.
In these situations, the end user is often left trying toexplain the events that led up to their problem over the phone. And dependingon how tech savvy they are, these conversations can be extremely frustratingfor both the user and IT.
Well, this is where the Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder canhelp.
It essentially records each and every step the user takesand documents the entire operation in both screen captures and step-by-stepdetails. It saves recorded information as HTML and packages it up in a ZIPfile. Once the user sends you the file, you can see exactly what they weredoing when the problem occurred.
The easiest way to launch the Problem Steps Recorder is tohave the user type PSR in the Start menu’s Search box and pressing [Enter].
Once the tool’s control bar appears, the user can beginrecording by clicking the Start Record button. The words Recording Now willflash across the title bar and the tool’s Taskbar icon will display a flashing,red dot.
At this point, the user can begin working through the stepsthat lead up to the problem they’re experiencing.
In this example, I’m opening the Control Panel and launchingthe Power Options tool.
If we pause for a moment and look back at Problem StepsRecorder control bar, we can see that the Start Record button has been replacedby the Pause Record button, the Stop Record and Add Comment buttons are nowactive, and a time counter has been displayed.
Clicking the Pause or Stop buttons do just that, andclicking the Add Comment button, lets highlight a particular area of the screenand annotate it with a comment.
For example, here I’m asking if the Power Save plan isbetter for use on a laptop.
Once the user is finished recording, they can simply clickthe Stop Record button. The Problem Steps Recorder will present them a Save Asdialog box. And after entering an appropriate file name, they can click save togenerate the ZIP file, which they will send to you.
When you open the Zip file, you’ll see the HTML file thatcontains their actions.
Just double click the file and your browser will display thescreen shots along with the step-by-step account of the users actions.
Not only is the Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder a greattroubleshooting tool, but as several TechRepublic members pointed out, you canalso use it to create how-to material, which you can then distribute to yourend users.
Be sure to check out Greg’s post and the attached discussionthread for more information. I’ll link to them in the TR Dojo blog.
And as always, for more teachings on YOUR path to becomingan IT Ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com, sign-up for our newsletter, orfollow me on Twitter.
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