Windows 7 is to my opinion a really fantastic en great product. Stable, safe, and good to use, for heavy as well as private users. But sometimes, it's allways possible, a problem can occur in programs, applications or some kind of plug-in. At that point, surely when it can be simulated, it is nice to have a buildin "screen" recorder, directly from Windows 7. But that is not the only benefit out of this program. It is also a very nice tool to create manuals, procedures or guidelines. Unfortunatly this option has been "hide" 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). This program can also be found in the Controle Panel but thats a lot of clicks and we don't want that. 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.

Printscreen: Not available.

(This article has been translated in the dutch language, and is available through this link.)

Ben OostdamBen Oostdam has been working with Windows systems since 1993. Started shortly with Windows NT 4, and every Windows system after that. Worked for several companies as a system administrator, and is currently a Senior Support Engineer for a large company in the Netherlands specialized in System Center and Messaging Solutions.

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Wednesday the 23rd, June 2021. All rights reserved.. // Oostdam WebDesign