Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) and Snipping Tool – Record problem reproduction steps for future reference


Today I move away from SQL Server for one day, and instead share with you a productivity enhancement that you can use in your day-to-day work.

Some time ago, we were working on fixing a defect, but were unable to reproduce it. The QA team who had found the defect was sitting at a different building on the other side of the city, so moving over for a quick stop-over was not quite feasible. It turned out that while the end result was the same, the two teams were using slightly different steps to reach to a particular window. That day, we wished to have some sort of a built-in (i.e. “free”) recorder that the QA can use to record the steps they follow and then share it with us so that we could follow exactly the same steps and attempt to reproduce the defect.

Well, Windows 7 does come with such a feature/utility built-in. It’s called the Problem Steps Recorder – PSR.

To get an overview of the PSR, you can visit the Microsoft site: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/How-do-I-use-Problem-Steps-Recorder

There is also a very thorough, quick demo (just 3 minutes long) on TechNet at: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd320286

The immediate uses that I see of the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) are:

  1. Helps generate workflow-related documentation
  2. Helps in exchanging information between geographically remote teams
  3. In a Quality Assurance setting, using the PSR eliminates the need and resources to review the “steps to reproduce” a particular bug because these would be automatically generated by the PSR
  4. PSR allows saving to universally acceptable document formats – allowing easier exchange

In addition to the PSR, there is often the need to snap a portion of the desktop screen and send it over in an E-mail. This can very easily be done using the Snipping Tool (available since Windows Vista), a demo for which can be found here – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/snipping-tool

So, these are the two productivity enhancements that my team & I use at the workplace. I trust that they would help you exchange information across multiple teams at your workplace as well.

Until we meet next time,

Be courteous. Drive responsibly.

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