Thursday, May 26, 2011

Troubleshooting Help

Not that you need another reason to upgrade your DeltaV system to version 11, but there’s a way cool app in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 to enhance troubleshooting. It’s called Problem Steps Recorder or PSR for short.

What PSR does is record your mouse clicks along with the associated screenshots to produce a complied HTML file that chronicles everything you do between the time you click Start Record until the time you click Stop Record. PSR allows you to add a comment during the session, in case what’s going on needs more explanation. Now you can share your experiences with colleagues or that tech support guy so there’s less chance for misunderstanding.

You access this nifty tool by typing PSR in the “Search programs and files” dialog box of Windows 7 (remember, once your fire it up, you can right click on its icon in the tray and select “Pin this program to taskbar” for faster access).

The UI is simple and uncluttered:

I jumped over to my DeltaV boot, fired PSR up, selected Start Record, and through DeltaV Explorer, went online with an equipment module. When I was done, I pressed Stop Record. PSR automatically packages up the session you’ve had it record into a ZIP file. Inside the ZIP is an MHT file that opens in Internet Explorer Here’s a screenshot from the PSR file of me forcing a transition of an SFC:

It’s all hyperlinked and clicking on any of the images brings up a full screen view. If you’d like to have a look at the entire file I created, you can download it here.

A big shout out to David Rehbein of Emerson in Austin for turning me on to this great tool.