One of the features of Windows 7 that consistently gets rave reviews from the IT Pros I demonstrate it to is the Problem Steps Recorder. But as I look at it, you have a rather strange set of requirements, involving walking users through how to start the thing, where to save it to, and how to send what it collects back to you.

What if you could automate some of that?

It was at this point that I noticed a tool that already did that – the Send Feedback link on my desktop. It lets you fire up the Problem Step Recorder when filing a new issue! So, I naturally got curious – what is it doing?

“When in doubt, use Process Monitor.”

And it turns out you only have to look at the very first entry (the one for process creation) – psr.exe accepts command line arguments! Here’s what our bug reporting tool uses:

"C:\Windows\system32\psr.exe" /output "C:\Users\cjacks\AppData\Local\Temp\WER130B.tmp.ft\IssueSteps.zip" /maxsc 25 /exitonsave 1

So, it looks like I can fire up the tool from my own app, system32 is in the path so I don’t need to hard code, and I can store my zip file someplace my launching tool can find, and grab it later on.

I can think of all kinds of uses for this…