Blog Post

Ritelink Blog > News > Windows > Microsoft is retiring a tool from Windows 11 that you may have never used

Microsoft is retiring a tool from Windows 11 that you may have never used

Microsoft plans to remove several long-standing apps from its Windows 11 operating system. Besides Wordpad, a dedicated RTF editor, it has picked the Steps Recorder for removal.

Steps Recorder started out as Problem Steps Recorder when Microsoft launched Windows 7 in 2009. It is a simple recording tool that captures the user’s actions on the screen.

The main idea behind the tool was to create captures of issues automatically to provide them to support or evidence.

All recent versions of Windows support the Steps Recorder. While that is the case, it has not received any functional updates in a long time. You may still start the application by typing Steps Recorder in Start or Search.

The interface is basic and there are only a few options. You may change the output file directory and the number of screen captures that you want the application to store.

Steps Recorder saves recordings as ZIP files. These contain an MHT file, which opens in Microsoft Edge. Each Step includes a screenshot and also information added automatically. Information may include window names and other user actions. There is an option to add a comment to further explain an action.

Microsoft turned Steps Recorder into an optional feature when it released Windows 10 version 20H1. It joined WordPad, Paint, Microsoft Quick Assist and Microsoft Windows User Experience back then.

While Paint and Quick Assist have received a second chance, the same can not be said for WordPad and Steps Recorder. These tools remain deprecated and their removal is imminent.

Steps Recorder deprecation and removal

Steps Recorder Phased Out

A support article on Microsoft’s website confirms that Steps Recorder is deprecated. Microsoft plans to update Steps Recorder one more time in early 2024 to include a banner that informs users of the tool about its end.

The banner reads: “This tool is being phased out. Click here to explorer alternatives”. The link opens the support page.

Microsoft explains that the removal is part of its “ongoing commitment to enhance and innovate the Windows experience”; marketing speak that will hardly convince anyone. It is unclear why the tool is removed. Potential explanations may be lack of use, the unwillingness to maintain the program, or the idea to push users to alternative products that Microsoft favors. Microsoft in fact highlights that the deprecation is part of a plan to “streamline” its offerings and “Focus on producing more advanced and integrated tools” to Windows users.

Steps Recorder will show a banner in early 2024 to inform users about the deprecation. Microsoft has yet to announce when it is removing the program from Windows.

Older versions of Windows will continue to support Steps Recorder according to Microsoft.

Steps Recorder Alternatives that Microsoft suggests

Microsoft suggests three in-house alternatives for using the Steps Recorder.

  • Snipping Tool, which is a screen capture and recording tool. The program’s screen recorder is the option that Microsoft suggests to use to capture issues on the system.
  • Xbox Game Bar, which includes screen recording functionality as well.
  • ClipChamp, a video editing tool that can also be used to record the screen.

While all three tools offer screen recording functionality, none add automatic information about the user’s actions to the recordings. There is also no direct option to add comments. While it may be possible to record voice to add the missing information, or use video editing tools to show comments, it is not as elegant and definitely time-consuming to do so.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *