Automatically Recording Manual Test Results

To avoid "no repro" issues or make dynamic bugs come alive — RECORD THEM.

Microsoft provides the easy to use, free tool, Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, to record your screen and audio commentary/narration. (Think usability lab for cheap!). You can download and install it in about 5 minutes

Note : Requires ‘Genuine Windows Advantage’ and installation from an Admin group account.

It is easy to setup a session to “capture screen”. You can do it silently, but I think audio recording of a microphone adds immensely to the recoding. Most laptops come with built in microphones. Desktop machines invariably have a microphone input on their audio card. For desktop machines you should acquire a simple microphone. Using your microphone as default audio device lets you narrate your recording as you go along.

Once Encoder is installed and a microphone present, you should experiment a little to determine what fidelity level works for you. For my Toshiba Portege M200, I concluded that recording at the “medium” fidelity level worked best. When I recorded at the “high” fidelity level on the M200, the experience was much worse and the recording far jerkier. If you have a high power, multi-cpu, desktop machine then maybe record with high fidelity.

Remember the Encoder is recording video, not computer screens. Lower screen resolutions will provide cleaner, better video.

I recommend setting resolution to something low like 768 x 1024.

It takes less than 1MB/Minute at medium. So a 4 hour non-stop test session would be < ¼ GB. 


Typically capture specific browser window (unless multiple windows needed to demo problem. Check "Capture audio from the default audio device" if you have a microphone. I like flash border to remind me (but it can get annoying).

  1. Choose a filename for your recording session.
  2. Medium (for low power, low res machine) or high (for high power, high res machine)
  3. Throw in a title and author — YOU!
  4. I usually click "begin capturing screens when I click Finish". Alternative do the "start encoding" on the main Encoder window.


  1. Click on Media Encoder in the bar on the bottom
  2. Clock stop encoding (Picture 2 below)
  3. I usually don’t bother saving sessions, but you might.
  4. Use Movie Maker to edit into clips as needed (Start button All programs Accessories Windows Movie Maker)


About testmuse

Software Test Architect in distributed computing.
This entry was posted in software testing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Automatically Recording Manual Test Results

  1. Anutthara says:

    Of course, you know about it, Keith; but for your blog readers: try MTR : – We’ve got the windows media encoder integrated into the runner with auto bug filing thrown in.
    Devs can never "no repro" a bug ever again. 😀

  2. NICK says:

    I don’t really agree with the statement that you’ll NEVER get a bug resolved "no repro".. sometimes bugs just wont repro. if it won’t repro, what good is a video of it reproing, you still dont get to see the same behavior when you follow the same steps….
    other than that, the videos are definitely a good idea.

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