Chasing the bug? Let Windows help.

I feel that one of the hardest things to do really will is communication. Everyone communicates differently and interprets communication to them differently and for that very reason it can make something like debugging a bug, that you are unable to reproduce, extremely challenging.

Most of the clients that I work with are running at least Windows Vista. With this, built in to Vista, and up, is a program called "Record Steps to Reproduce a Problem." Lengthy name but I refer to it as "Steps Recorder."

Steps recorder isn't anything terribly robust but that's one of the things I really like about it. The quick run down is this:
  • Windows key + type "Steps recorder" (Windows understands what you're looking for)
  • Hit enter, or click "Record Steps to Reproduce a Problem"
  • Click "Start Record"
  • Perform the actions needed to reproduce what you need to illustrate
  • Once done, click "Stop Record"
  • File Dialog will show
    • Select your save destination
    • Give it an appropriate name
    • Click Save
  • Done and Done
The file will be saved to where you specified as a .zip. From here you can send the steps that you recorded to whomever might need them and get the resolution process moving.

  1. If you're using multiple monitors the steps recorder will screenshot all of the monitors displayed. I often temporarily revert to one monitor, record what I need, and then revert back to all monitors. Also all monitors will dramatically increase the file size of the saved recording.
  2. I use Steps Recorder for archiving steps to do a task as well. This way I can easily send a file to others instead of having to repeat the same training over and over.
  3. .mht files, the format the recorder saves in, (inside the .zip folder) is also mhtml file and natively opens in Internet Explorer but, with plug-ins, can be opened in most other browsers.
  4. You can also add notes to steps, and this also allows you to highlight the area on the screen and then type in your note and continue with your steps.