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Microsoft Can Record Your Every Action. If You Want.

Microsoft Can Record Your Every Action. If You Want.

Microsoft likes giving us freebies…

… Some of these are hidden gems that most users have no idea exist. One of these is the Microsoft Steps Recorder.

This is a small application that allows you to save a recording of every click and every action you take on your computer.

Don’t Worry This Isn’t PRISM

I know that at first glance this sounds like Microsoft wants you to run a key-logger or something worse but you run the application and it records what you choose.

To run it: –

  • Windows 7: Start > Run > PS [enter] PSR [enter] With thanks to Jim Hazen and Fellow tweep @Srinivasskc for each correcting this in a gentlemanly manner.
  • Windows 8: Charms sidebar > Search > Steps Recorder > select

Windows Step Recorder

  • The application will open a small hovering toolbar on top of all open windows.

Windows Step Recorder App

  • Hit the record button to begin recording and the stop button when you have captured the activity you wanted to capture.

What Has The Steps Recorder Captured?

The HTML file contains a series of screen captures showing each step the user took: each window you interacted with and each click therein.

Windows Step Recorder Results 1

After this there is a text list of the application name and the UI element interacted with.

Windows Step Recorder Results 2

What’s the point of it? The use cases are basically this:

  • If you have a problem that you can’t quite explain to your tech support this is a nice, easy way to record how the problem occurs and send the steps involved to Support so they fully understand your problem. This also makes it easier on Support not having to translate what you are telling them.
  • This is a great testing tool for running test cases and saving the recorded scenario attached to a bug the tester reports.
  • If you need screen captures for a PowerPoint / Training Session / Technical Document this is how to capture the process you want to describe from end to end.

The Warptest POV

This is a great little tool and a freebie from Microsoft. The only major downside of it is the longer the scenario you record, the bigger the file can get. My advice is to work out what you need to record and don’t include redundancy.

What if you need something more though? Microsoft has you covered again. If you need to capture actual video of desktop activity then you can install Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. This is the free version and it works nicely.

Expression Encoder

Expression Encoder allows you to record video of a selected region of the screen or the whole screen, it can also just record voice or video from your webcam. Any post processing / editing you’ll have to do in another tool but plan your capture right and you shouldn’t need to do any of that.

Expression Encoder Walkthrough

In a nutshell, there something for everyone here. If you need help with this then contact me via Warptest here. Happy capturing.

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