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   ► KBIT Water-Coo...Industry Downloads  Print This     
  From the February 2016 Issue of Prestwood eMag
 
Industry IT Water-Cooler for Power-Users:
Now It's Easy To Get End-User Problem Reports
 
Posted 6 years ago on 1/29/2014
Take Away:

In the past it's been a pain to get end-users to give developers an accurate and complete list of the steps they took to get to a problem - especially if screen-shots are desirable.

Now Microsoft has provided a tool that makes the entire process ridiculously easy.

 A file from our File Library ► Industry Downloads

KB102545

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In the past it's been a pain to get end-users to give us developers an accurate and complete list of the steps they took to get to a problem - especially if screen-shots were desirable.

Now Microsoft has provided a tool that makes the entire process ridiculously easy.

It's called the "Problem Steps Recorder," or "PSR," but it's tucked away where I never knew about it until another IT pro told me.

Here's how to bring it up in Windows 7:

1: Click the Start button

2: In the search box, type "PSR", press Enter, and this powerful, little recorder appears.

It's a deceptively small window with just a couple buttons.

To start recording, click the "Start Record" button.  It'll track everything you do and will included screen-shots where applicable.

When you're finished, click "Stop Record."

When you stop, you'll be presented with a Save File dialog. It wants to save a zip file for you.  That's what you'll want customers to send to you.

When you unzip the file, you'll get a single MHTML file. Double-click on it to see the recorded session.

I was blown away by the results. Nothing was missed. Everything was clear.

Now there's no need to ask users to write down and email you the steps they took to encounter a problem. There's no need, either, to ask them to take screen-shots. As you know, with many end users, you'll have to train them how to use the Windows Snipping tool or other screen-capture program. No more!

This too is also a fast way for you to show somebody how to accomplish something in Windows or in any particular program they're using.  Say your correspondent is using MS Outlook and and doesn't know how to create a Signature.

All you have to do is fire up PSR, Start Outlook, then tell PSR to start recording. You go through the steps to create a new Signature, stop recording, save the zip file that PSR wants to save - and you're all set.  All you have to do is send that zip to your correspondent.

I've attached exactly that zip to this article.  It's a little messy because PSR isn't perfect. It captures the full screen and, in my case, the full scree happens to be two monitors. But you'll get the idea.

I'm sure this tool is also in Windows 8, but haven't hunted it up yet.

In the future, when we get into the testing phases of client projects, you can bet I'll be sending them instructions for PSR!  My life will be a lot easier.

Download Link:

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Article Contributed By Wes Peterson:

Wes Peterson is a Senior Programmer Analyst with Prestwood IT Solutions where he develops custom Windows software and custom websites using .Net and Delphi. When Wes is not coding for clients, he participates in this online community. Prior to his 10-year love-affair with Delphi, he worked with several other tools and databases. Currently he specializes in VS.Net using C# and VB.Net. To Wes, the .NET revolution is as exciting as the birth of Delphi.

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