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Thread: Capture Screen At Definite Intervals with PSR, the Hidden Tool in Windows

  1. #1
    Arun Kumar's Avatar
    Arun Kumar is offline MVP Alumni
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    Aug 2012

    Default Capture Screen At Definite Intervals with PSR, the Hidden Tool in Windows

    The past month, I felt the need to get more organized. I was on computer for more than 12 hours a day but then, I was not really working. At the end of day, I could not recall what all I did. I remember spending some time renovating my blogs and creating an online store but could not really keep proper track of time spent. I had the Outlook Scheduler but then, there was the Snooze button too...

    The only method I could think of was to download some screen monitoring software so that I knew what I was doing at a particular time (since the snap would include the computer time and date from taskbar). I tried to search for a free one but TightIT was not very reliable. It was not really capturing screenshots as I wanted. I needed something better. HappyAndyK gave me a link to use AutoHotkey in combination with DropBox to keep track of working. I am using that currently. But in the quest, I found something that I never knew existed in Windows 7. Probably you too do not know of Problem Step Recorder or psr.exe.

    It is basically a troubleshooting tool that captures screenshots are regular intervals and stores the files in a ZIP file. Logically, it should appear under the Troubleshoot option in Control Panel but is not visible directly. If you click on "view all", it appears as Windows 7 downloads it from the Internet. It is not the case though - psr.exe (Problem Step recorder) is available in System32 folder in Windows folder on C drive.

    It will not create a video when you click RECORD button but instead, it will take snapshots at pre-defined intervals. When you stop recording, it asks you for a file name and creates a zip file with that name. When you extract the ZIP, you can find the screenshots that help you know what was happening on your computer. I was able to record for 20 minutes as I felt it would have been temp files on my C Drive. Will give a longer duration test when I get time but for now, it is a good tool that allows you to:

    1. Monitor what is happening on your computer (remember that it is not a video capture; it records screen only when someone clicks on the screen)
    2. Save screenshots as a ZIP and send the ZIP file to Microsoft Support (the main purpose of psr.exe)

    Can anyone tell me why such an important tool has to be hidden deep inside with no visible documentation? Dear Microsoft? What are you up to?

    PS: If you cannot find PSR, type PSR in the Run command window.
    Last edited by Arun Kumar; 3rd September 2012 at 17:55. Reason: forgot to include essential info

  2. #2
    HappyAndyK's Avatar
    HappyAndyK is offline Site Administrator
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    Jun 2008


    Yes - the Problem Steps Recorder is a very useful tool in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

    I noticed a small change in its UI. The counter seems to have been dropped in PSR in Windows 8.

    PSR in Windows 8

  3. #3
    jeffcard12 is offline New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2016


    I always use acethinker screen grabber online to record my screen, It's a free web-based application. Compare with Problem Steps Recorder, which one is better?

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