Using Problem Steps Recorder to Get Help

Sometimes Windows Error Reporting doesn't find a solution for a problem you're having and the troubleshooter is unable to solve it. Although Windows provides many other tools—as explained in the rest of this chapter—you might decide instead to use your "phone a friend" lifeline. Windows 7 includes a new tool that lets you capture the steps that lead to a problem so that a support technician can review your actions and suggest a solution.

The tool is called Problem Steps Recorder, and you can start it by opening Action Center, clicking Troubleshooting, clicking Get Help From A Friend, and clicking Problem Steps Recorder. (If that journey is too long, in the Start menu search box or Control Panel, simply type psr and click Record Steps To Reproduce A Problem .) Problem Steps Recorder opens in a small window, as shown below.

^^^roblem Steps Recorder

I Start Record Q Stop Record ■£ Add Comment | 00:00:00 ® -

When you're ready to reproduce the steps that demonstrate the problem, click Start Record, and then go through the problematic procedure At any time, you can highlight a particular area of the screen and add an explanatory note by clicking Add Comment When you're done, click Stop Record and save the file

Before you send the file to your friend the computer whiz, double-click the saved file (a zip archive saved, by default, on your desktop) and then double-click the file stored within the .zip archive. The file is a single-file HTML document that opens in your default web browser. You can now see exactly what the recipient will see: each step recorded as a screen capture with a highlight on the active area, along with a time stamp and a textual description. If that document accurately demonstrates the problem (and it doesn't show any onscreen information that you don't want the recipient to see), return to Problem Steps Recorder, click the arrow next to the help button, and choose Send To E-Mail Recipient. Problem Steps Recorder sends the most recently recorded steps as an e-mail attachment.

By default, Problem Steps Recorder saves its output files on your desktop . You can change the default location and also disable screen captures in the Problem Steps Recorder Settings dialog box, shown below. To open it, click the arrow next to the help button and choose Settings

For details about another "phone a friend" option, see "Connecting to Another PC with Windows Remote Assistance" on page 82 .

Reviewing Problem Reports with Reliability Monitor 823

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