No matter which side of the help-desk you may be sitting at, communication is critical to resolving issues.  The obstacles to understanding a specific problem may be any number of things:  a difference in terminology between customer and support, a language barrier, or even in the simple coordination of an actual conversation when a lengthy email trail just isn’t enough.

Of course, there are new ways every day to share your session remotely to work through the issue in real time, but not when both sides are either working in different time zones or simply don’t have accommodating schedules.

Screen shots?  Sure, you can use the Snipping Tool to capture windows and paste them into an email, but it’s pretty cumbersome when there are several steps to illustrate.  You wind up creating a Word document with multiple windows with highlights and circles and arrows to explain why you sent that image.

When all else fails, for a step-by-step account, there’s the Problem Step Recorder, a little-known utility which is available in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.  Simply type “PSR” in the command window and this application will appear on your desktop.

Problem Steps Recorder

After recording the steps, the output file is saved in a ZIP file, containing an MHTML-format file which can be viewed in Internet Explorer (version 5 and later) or emailed to a troubleshooter.

Depending on the number of steps in your process, this file can be pretty large, so below is a very simple example:

Working in Microsoft Dynamics, a customer emails a question to the support department regarding her “Weekly Receivables Inquiry”.  In preparation to assist the customer, support searches the various menus and cannot locate the appropriate window.  The attached document may have saved some time by illustrating that this is a custom program, accessible only on the Shortcut Bar.  The PSR output not only highlights the section of each window being affected by the user, but also annotates each step in text so that each step may be exactly duplicated during troubleshooting.

Problem Step 1: User left click on “Shortcuts (outline button)” in “Microsoft Dynamics GP”

Problem Step 1

Problem Step 2:  User left click on “Shortcuts (outline button)” in “Microsoft Dynamics GP”

Problem Step 2

Problem Step 3: User left click on “Tree (outline)” in “Microsoft Dynamics GP”

Problem Step 3

Problem Step 4: User keyboard input in “Weekly Receivables Inquiry” [… Tab]

Problem Step 4

Problem Step 5:  User left click in “Weekly Receivables Inquiry”

Problem step 5

Problem Step 6: User left click in “Weekly Receivables Inquiry”

Problem Step 6If you are experienced technical issues, we can help! Contact us today