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Use Problem Steps Recorder for troubleshooting in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1

How to user Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 for troubleshooting

By . Last modified: 2013-08-12.

While a picture is worth thousand words, it is even better to record all steps to problem with pictures and even comments. This helps a lot when you are trying to describe your problem to an IT-specialist. Smile There is a new troubleshooting tool in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, called Problem Steps Recorder, or PSR for short. This small program records everything you do until you tell it to stop recording. Problem Steps Recorder then creates a compressed (zipped) MHT file that in essence is just a web page with screenshots of your actions, your comments and basic system information. You can send the compressed file to your IT support.

Using Problem Steps Recorder

To start Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7, open Start Menu by clicking the Start button or by using keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Esc, type "psr" into Search Box and then click either psr.exe or Record steps to reproduce a problem.
In Windows 8 and 8.1, use keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W to open Settings Search, type "psr" into Search box and then click Record steps to reproduce a problem.
Windows 7 Start Menu, to open Problem Steps Recorder, type 'psr' into Start menu Search Box and then click psr.exe. Windows 8 Start screen, Settings search. To open Problem Steps Recorder, type 'psr' into Search Box and then click 'Record steps to reproduce a problem'. Windows 8.1, Settings search. To open Problem Steps Recorder, type 'psr' into Search Box and then click 'Record steps to reproduce a problem'.

To start recording, click Start Record button or use keyboard shortcut Alt+A. Please note that PSR window will remain on top of all other windows while recording, but you can move Problem Steps Recorder window with your mouse. Also, "Recording Now" will flash in PSR Title Bar during recording session.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To start reproducing your problem, click Start Record.

If you have a program running or a window open with administrator rights in Windows 7, you will see a warning window. Click OK and restart your recording session as an administrator to make sure that all steps get recorded properly.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. If you have a program running as an administrator, you will see a warning message. Click OK and restart your recording session with administrative rights.

Click the yellow-blue shield button in Problem Steps Recorder window (or press Alt+M on your keyboard) to restart your session with administrative rights in Windows 7.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To restart your recording session with administrative rights, click the shield button.

This will cancel your current session, click Yes in the warning window.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. After clicking shield button, your current session will be cancelled. Click Yes.

Windows 7 will pop up a User Account Control warning window about running Problem Steps Recorder as an administrator. Click Yes.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. After restarting Problem Steps Recorder as an administrator, Windows 7 User Account Control warning pops up. Click Yes.

Now press Alt+A on your keyboard or click Start Record button again.
Please note that the shield button will be replaced with a blue question mark button. This will open PSR settings, but I really do not recommend fiddling with those.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. After clicking shield button and starting PSR as an administrator, the shield will be replaced with a blue button with white question mark. This button open Problem Steps Recorder settings, but do not fool around with those!

Adding comments while recording

Use comments for detailing your problem. Press Alt+C on your keyboard or click Add Comment button in Problem Steps Recorder window while a condition you need to describe is active.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To add comments for detailing your problem, click Add Comment button.

Highlight Problem and Comment window opens. Use your mouse to highlight the part you want to comment on - hold down left button of your mouse and drag a rectangle around the problematic area, then release mouse button. This creates a red rectangle like this:
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To add comments to some area of program window, first draw a rectangle around that area with your mouse.

Then type in your comments or questions in Highlight Problem and Comment window. To finish adding a comment, click OK.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To type comments to some area of program window, first draw a rectangle around that area with your mouse. Then type your comments into Highlight Problem and Comment window. Finish commenting by clicking OK.

Pausing and resuming problem steps recording

If you need to pause recording for a while for whatever reason, click Pause Record or press Alt+U on your keyboard.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To pause recording, click Pause Record button.

When you're done doing other things, click Resume Record or use keyboard shortcut Alt+S.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To continue recording, click Resume Record button.

Stopping recording and saving the session to a compressed file

After you've recorded all steps to your problem (including the problem itself), click Stop Record button or press Alt+O on your keyboard.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. To stop recording problem steps, click Stop Record button.

Windows Save As window will pop up with your Desktop as a destination folder. This folder is typically fine, but you can select some other folder if you need to.
Type some descriptive name into File name: box and click Save.
Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder. After clicking Stop Record button, a Save As dialog will open. Type a descriptive name into File name box. Then click Save button.

Please note that Problem Steps Recorder will not open the Save As window if you have not done anything before clicking Stop Record button. The reason is self-explanatory. Wink

This will create a compressed (.zip) file on your Desktop (or the folder you selected for destination). Send that file to your IT support.

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