Use Windows' Inbuilt Tool to Capture your Screens with Comments


Helping out friends or family with computer problems isn’t the most enjoyable thing to do.

This is how it usually goes: First, they explain the problem in the most unconvincing manner possible, and you narrate a step by step procedure on solving the issue. However, they end up doing the exact opposite and you resort to saving your own sanity by showing up in person in front of the computer to fix it.

An easy way for you to get the problem resolved faster is to ask the person with the computer problem to install Teamviewer, and you could control their computer from yours.

However, this would also require a lot of your time and honestly, you’d rather get it done as quick as possible.

If you use a Windows 7 or 8, there is an inbuilt tool which helps you create screenshots of each step you take and generates a file which you can send it and ask the person facing the problem to follow the same procedure.

This inbuilt tool, aptly named “Problem Steps Recorder”, is almost like a screen recording software - except, it produces images with captions instead of a video output.

problem_step_recorder

All you have to do is to press “Start Record” and the tool will automatically capture your screens every time you perform an action and also describes what action the user performed in the notes.

For instance, if you drag your mouse across the screen, the caption to that particular screenshot would be something like “_User mouse drag start in _" and "_User mouse drag end in <Title of="" your="" current="" window="">_" along with the relevant time and date.

problem_steps_output

PSR doesn’t record any of the keystrokes you make, but it does record any special function keys or shortcuts you make.

The output file is a zip,which contains a file with the extension .mht. You can send the zip file to your friend and all he has to do is to open the file with Internet Explorer. And this is where the limitations start.

Limitations:

1) You cannot save these screenshots individually to another file or as a separate image file.

2) You cannot edit the mht file and make the necessary CSS/HTML code changes to change anything. You cannot even change the description of the file without breaking the whole file.

3) The mht file can only be opened in Internet Explorer. Not that I personally hate IE, but being able to choose isn’t a bad thing.

4) As mentioned earlier, this works only with Windows 7 and 8.

Though this isn’t exactly an all round replacement to trust VNC or Teamviewer, this does serve the purpose.


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