Most of us have had the frustrating experience of trying to explain some kind of problem with our computer to someone over the phone. It’s often hard to relate what the problem really is in words unless you know a whole lot about computers. There’s a simple solution that’s already available on your Windows 7 and 8 computer. It’s called Problem Steps Recorder and it could be the best-kept secret of Windows. Here’s how to use it:

In Windows 7, type psr in the search box in your start menu. Then click the icon for Problems Steps Recorder.

In Windows 8, type Steps Recorder in the search charm and click the icon.

The problem steps recorder will open. It’s just a little bar that at the top of your screen. Click or tap the record button and then go through the process that’s causing you an issue on your computer. The recorder will capture all of it.

When you’re finished, press Stop record.

A window will open giving you the option to name the file and save the recording as a ZIP file.

Once you save the file, you can click on it to open in your browser.

What you’ll see is a detailed report featuring screenshots of every action you took and the results.

Plus a full log of what was going on while this happened.

You can easily e-mail this report to tech support (or the editor of your favorite newsletter) to show step-by-step what the problem is. Just attach the file to an e-mail.

This feature can make it much easier for you to explain an issue and for tech support to understand what’s really going on.

~ Cynthia