Windows 7 has a feature that helps you record screenshots of what’s going on when a trouble happens to your computer. This is an incredibly useful tool when you’re asking someone to help you with problem that has long been plaguing your machine.
With the Windows Problem Steps Recorder or what is also known as PSR, your computer automatically takes a recording while you are taking actions that leads to a problem and when you’re done, you can easily send the recording to the person or group that you asked for help regarding the problem.
Unlike any screenshot recording software available at present, Problem Steps Recorder not only captures screenshots; it also saves logs of what you are doing on a particular screenshot that it captures. This means that all of your actions can be detected and saved as logs attached to the corresponding screenshots that the program recorded.
Moreover, Problem Steps Recorder also allows users to add notes and comments which is very useful in describing an event/ log further making it easier for experts to diagnose and solve certain problems like error messages and a host of other system problems that could happen anytime.
Using the Problem Steps Recorder Tool is easy. The time it takes depends on how long the recording you’re making to arrive at the problem that you want to be solved. Here are steps you can follow to take advantage of this incredibly valuable tool that is offered free by your Windows 7 operating system:
1. Click the “Start” button.
2. Type “psr” on the search box and hit “Enter” on your keyboard. Problem Steps Recorder will then appear as a small rectangular box that normally pops out near the top of the screen. If you already have a window/s open, it could be easily missed. It is advised that you minimize all open windows first before starting PSR.
3. If you are not doing anything important on your computer then it is advised that you close all open Windows before you start recording the problem with Problem Steps Recorder, any program that is not related to the problem but is left open during the recording process can be distracting. PSR will take screenshots of your computer screen and save it with all the other logs of the actions you took during the process.
4. Before you make a recording, you should first think of the things you did which led you to the error message or any other trouble that you experienced. This is essential so you can easily and clearly demonstrate the problem once you start recording it.
For instance, if an error message suddenly appears when you are saving a new Microsoft Powerpoint file, you should then be prepared with an open Powerpoint presentation, type a few words or insert a small picture or icon on different slides, hover your mouse to the menu, save it and then hopefully see the error message on the screen upon saving the file.
In other words you should be sure to reproduce the same problem that you saw earlier so Problem Steps Recorder can catch it on the recorded screenshots.
5. Once you’re sure with what to do to properly demonstrate the problem, you can then click on the “Start Record” button on Problem Steps Recorder.
The program will then take some information and organize them into logs with the corresponding screenshots. PSR takes screenshots and records logs whenever you take some action like a click of the mouse, opening a program or closing it, etc.
You will know that Problem Steps Recorder is already recording your actions if the “Start Record” button becomes “Pause Record”. “Recording Now” will also start flashing on PSR’s title bar.
6. Be sure to complete all the necessary steps to clearly demonstrate the problem you have been experiencing. If you need to pause for a while due to some reasons, you can click on the “Pause Record” button. Click the “Resume Record” button once you’re ready to continue recording towards the end of the process that you want to show.
Note: While recording, you also have the choice of adding some comments to supplement the logs or to highlight the actions you’ve taken. Just click the “Add Comment” button. Doing this is also useful if you want to point out specific occurrences on the screen to the person whom you asked to help you solve the problem.
7. After recording, just click the “Stop Record” button
8. Next step is saving the file that contains the recording. A “Save As” window will appear where you can give a name to the recording. Just type the desired file name to it and then click the “Save” button. A single zip file will be created containing all the screenshots, logs and information recorded by PSR and will be saved to your the Desktop unless you choose a different location where you want to store it.
9. After saving the file to the desired location you can close Problem Steps Recorder.
10. The last thing to do is to have the recording sent to the person or the group that you want to ask some help or advise from. Sending the file depends on the person or group that you are asking help from and the problem that you are having on your computer. You can choose from the following options to get the file sent to where it should get to:
- You can attach the file to the email that you will be sending to a friend, an expert or a group who will be helping you out.
- You can also share the file through a network of computers or have it saved on a flash drive.
- Another way of having your problem sent to a lot of Windows users/ experts is by attaching it to a forum post you created. There are lots of forum which you can join to have your problem addressed by tech-savvy people over the Internet.
- If the problem that you want to capture on Problem Steps Recorder is a lengthy and complicated one (around 25 or more keyboard actions and mouse clicks) you need to adjust the number of screenshots that PSR is capable of capturing. You can easily do this by clicking the arrow that is located next to Problem Steps Recorder buttons then click on the “Settings…” option; this will lead you to an area where you can adjust the “Number of recent screen captures to store” from 25 to a higher number but not greater than 100 screenshots.
- Problem Steps Recorder is only available on Windows 7 which means Vista, XP and other Windows operating system older than the ones stated above does not have PSR.
That’s it! You can now ask for help from a great number of support communities and forums online and as well as from people you personally know by using Problem Steps Recorder. This would surely be of great help to people who are not adept with some technical stuff that are in need of urgent help.