Windows 8 logo from www.oostdam.infoWindows 8 is a very nice product to my opinion. It is based on the previous 7 version but it can use apps instead of programs, but there is a full compatibility. Every program that runs on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8 as well. This product is amazing. Microsoft improved it in so many ways that a new set of articles will appear on this site the next couple of weeks. I love it, even more now that I'm working with the Enterprise version. This article is about the problem- or steps recorder that is build in this operating system. This program was already present in Windows 7, but not commonly known. Have you ever heard of it before than? Most trainers, teachers and professionals are using third party tools for screenshots and screen-recording. I must admit I do that too sometimes, but it is nice to have a buildin "screen" recorder, directly available from within every Windows 8 system. I personally use it as a nice tool to create manuals, procedures or guidelines. Unfortunatly this option has been "hidden" in Windows 8, the same way it was in Windows 7. Underneath I'll describe how to search and use this nice program an everyone should really try this sometimes.

How do you start this:
Press the "Windows-button (the flag) and type PSR (full name is PSR.exe, short for Problem-Steps-Recorder). his program can also be found in the Controle Panel but thats a lot of clicks and we don't want that. The "Steps Recorder" tile will appear and at this point you are also able to pin this appilication to your start-menu. Hit "Enter' and a small (tool)bar will appear a little less above the left middle of the screen. This is all very easy to use, everyone will understand the meaning of "Start & Stop record". It is possible to add a comment as well between the screens. Another point is the ability to record, by default, your second screen at the same time. There are not a lot of screen utilities which can do that... 

After stopping the recording you must provide a location and name for the ZIP file to save. Go there with the explorer and open the ZIP file. Within it you see a MHTML file. Open it, the default is internet explorer, and see all the screenshots, key-strokes an actions that has been done before. As it is in, the relatively unknown, MHTML format, you can go through the file with the use of "Next" and "Previous" options which is very handy. Until now, i have advised to use this program mainly for the next 2 purposes.

  • Mail the ZIP file as an attachment to a helpdesk or someone who can help you with a specific problem. All actions has are being recorded, as well as all the key strokes. A complete story, in which there are now doubts as everything is visible and clear.
  • Use the MHTML file for import in Microsoft Office Word, or copy/paste it into another program. This can be used as a very good basis to create a manual, guidelines or a procedure. Very handy and error reducing as every actions is allready present.

An example of the ZIP and the MHTML file can be found at this link. Take a look at it, and start using this beautifull buildin feature!

Tip 1:
 Please pay attention to it, that no personal information is recorded. This can get you in trouble and discussions afterwards. With a little extra attention, you can avoid this.

Tip 2:
 Many actions and screens can create a ZIP file that is bigger than 10 MB. At that point you will not be able to mail it as an attachment. Avoid this to stop the recording on a regular basis. You can roughly calculate that each screen and related actions, consume the amout of 100 KB in the file.

Tip 3: The steps recorder is already a member of the "All Applications Packages" security group. This group is searched by default from the tiles, and therefore the PSR.exe is rather easy to found. Note, that it is located normally in the C:\Window\System32 directory.

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I hope this article has helped you, and getting you enthusiastic for Windows 8 as much as I already am!

Ben OostdamBen Oostdam has been working with Windows systems since 1993. Worked for several companies as a system administrator, and is currently a Senior Engineer and (Freelance)Trainer for a large company in the Netherlands specialized in System Center and Messaging Solutions, ad-hoc solutions and work-arounds for major issue's.

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