Q. What is the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) in Windows 7?

A. It's very common when trying to help someone that they give vague information about their problem, such as what actions they're performing, making it very hard to help.

Windows 7 introduces the Problem Steps Recorder, which helps track the steps that are being performed then saves them into a format that can be sent to someone else. This second party can see exactly what a user is doing and the symptoms they receive.

  1. To launch, run PSR.exe (Start, Run, psr.exe).
  2. The Problem Steps Recorder bar will open. Click Start Record.

  3. Perform the actions that caused your problem, adding comments where required. When you add a comment, you can select the area of the screen related to the comment, as shown.

    Click to expand.

  4. Click Stop Record once you're done. You'll be prompted for the name of a zip file to save the data.

This zip file can be sent from the user to a helpdesk using email, instant messenger program, or other methods. Within the zip file is a MIME HTML file (.mht)—a single file containing all the data and images related to the recorded problem—as shown below. This gives whoever is helping rich data to make troubleshooting more effective.

Click to expand.

Related Reading:

Check out hundreds more useful Q&As like this in John Savill's FAQ for Windows. Also, watch instructional videos made by John at ITTV.net.
TAGS: Windows 7
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