Server Installation Documentation by Using Problem Steps Recorder

I had to laugh today when IM’ing with a client about their upcoming installation. The systems engineer that I was chatting with hates documentation. He usually pays a tech writer to sit next to him to document all of his installations and configurations for new products in the test/dev environment so that he can use the docs to perform the production installation.

Anyways, he never heard of the Problem Steps Recorder. As a quick survey, I asked 12 systems administrators in the area close by me, and only one of them had heard of PSR and he didn’t know that it was available on Windows Server 2008 R2 as well as Windows 7.

It is simple, go to a command prompt or use the Start, Run, and type psr.exe and it will start it up. The PSR will record the steps that you take during the time that you are recording. It not only captures the windows of the application or process where you are selecting options and entering information, it also records the step by step processes as text for you. You can even add in additional comments such as why you selected option 1 vs option 2 during your steps.

Once you have finished your task, you can stop the PSR and it will save the screen shots and step by step text instructions in a .zip file. Inside the .zip file, you will find a .mht file that has the steps and the images stored in it.

Guess what? You now have documentation of your installation process.

Of course, you can also use the PSR for help desk documents to show users exactly how to perform steps that you want them to run on their desktops. We can also have our users run PSR so that they can record what they are doing that causes the error that they are reporting so we can better understand their problem.

Oh, did I mention that this is free and part of the operating system?

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