This is something that I came across earlier this week that I think could be used a lot more, I’ve only tested it myself in Windows 7 – but the functionality may exist in Windows 8 also.
I deal with a lot of system issues both at work and at home with friends and family, one thing I’m rarely told is what they did to get there. This doesn’t apply for all but many people will moan/complain when you ask them for further details.
This small application in Windows 7 should make the process easier – they launch the tool and run through the process again and it’ll capture every application and click (With screenshots) that they do. Once done, they simply send you the single compressed file which, as a technical analyst, has everything you need.
The quickest way to launch the tool is to simply bring up the Start menu and type “Record”, select the option for “Record steps to reproduce a problem”. (Or, start an instance of “psr” from the run dialog)
So, once the individual has launched the Problem Steps Recorder ask them to click on the “Start Record” button and work through the steps they did to reproduce the problem.
They’ll not know as they do this that the system is capturing each and every action that they do and gathers some good data in the process. The tool does have the ability for the user to add a comment at any stage if they wish.
Once they’ve got to the end and are done they can click the “Stop Record” button and will be promped to save a ZIP file – once the ZIP file is produced they should mail this to you.
So, you’ve received the ZIP file. To open this up and gather the data you’ll first extract and be presented with an MHT file, this is basically a Microsoft web page that contains all the steps and images.
I’ve provided a sample below of what the output file looks like once extracted – you can click on each image for a larger version where the user may have used a higher screen resolution. You’ll notice that each click the user made has been broken down into individual steps, at the very bottom of the file there is a text only detailed description of each step taken.
Hopefully this will help you out – I’ve used it a few times in the past few days and it’s worked well.