Written by: Michael Nolte, Application Engineer
I know the word ‘Crash’ is a bad word when it comes to software, but sometimes things happen, and you must document the issue to get some assistance in resolving it. Whether it’s that SOLIDWORKS Guru at the office or your SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller (VAR) HelpDesk is involved, that would be us here at the DASI Solutions HelpDesk. Items that you may need assistance with could be as simple as making a change to a model that you have never done before; a graphics glitch and your video card driver needs update, or it could be a full-on repeatable SOLIDWORKS closing up shop on you.
Well, for the 2019 release of SOLIDWORKS, the process of documenting your issue as gotten a little bit easier with a laundry list of improvements for the SOLIDWORKS Rx Problem Capture. The SOLIDWORKS Rx program has been included with SOLIDWORKS for many releases. I know I’ve been reviewing Rx Problem Capture files sinse before the 2007 release.
Let’s talk about where you get to the SOLIDWORKS Rx Problem Captures form. To Open the SOLIDWORKS Rx program, go to your Windows Start menu > SOLIDWORKS Tools > SOLIDWORKS Rx. Or you can also open it right from inside SOLIDWORKS in the SOLIDWORKS Resources tab of the Task pane.
Once inside of the SOLIDWORKS Rx program, we’ll head over to the Problem Capture tab.
For more information on what the ‘Record Extended Logging Data’ check mark does, see this what’s new for 2016: http://help.solidworks.com/2016/english/whatsnew/pbc1450372763082.htm
When you first click on to the Problem Capture tab, you may get a ‘Refreshing System Information’ window; this is normal. We recommend letting it run is course before proceeding.
Here’s where we start getting into the improvements that 2019 SOLIDWORKS brings to the table.
Select What to Record
The first improvement is that you’ll notice that you can capture just SOLIDWORKS or just one of your monitors. In the past, we had to start a Problem Capture and leave SOLIDWORKS open in the background and then recreate the issue in front of it. This new feature is great if you’re having an issue that isn’t in SOLIDWORKS itself but one of the sister products. I.e. SOLIDWORKS PDM, SOLIDWORKS Composer, SOLIDWORKS Inspection, SOLIDWORKS Visualize, etc… Now we can pick which monitor we want to record on and click the ”Start Capture” button.
When we click the ”Start Capture” button and have the option to Record SOLIDWORKS set, then SOLIDWORKS will open and the “Capturing Problem” window will appear over the top of SOLIDWORKS. If SOLIDWORKS is already open, it will ask if you want to use the existing session or start a new session. In most case using the existing session is preferred, unless your issue is at the start of SOLIDWORKS.
If the option to Record is set to a specific monitor, then the Capture Problem window will open, and you can start recording without starting SOLIDWORKS. Again, great for capturing the issue in a sister product. In this mode you can capture the entire monitor, including the Windows Start menu and the Windows Taskbar. There will be a red box that shows around the area that you are recording.
Let’s just start listing off a bunch of the other 2019 improvements to the SOLIDWORKS Rx Problem Capture. Here’s the laundry list:
We can record longer now. See the ”Time Elapsed” on the image above. In 2019 we can now record up to 10 minutes where before we were limited to only the last 5 minutes of the recording. Great for issues that don’t happen right away.
Recordings can be restarted without shutting down SOLIDWORKS. This is great for when your item or process of interest cannot either be recreated at the start of SOLIDWORKS or you didn’t get the process steps correct the first time around; you can have a second go of it. Or third or forth, etc…
Pausing of the recording is now possible. What a great addition. There are many times that you/me/everyone can’t just show what we want to show, right from the get go. Pause, test your workflow, then resume. This also helps whomever is reviewing the video because then your recording can be more specific to the exact issue and not extra ‘dead air’ of just watching picks and clicks that may not pertain to the issue at hand.
Finish Video Capture
This is a big one for me, so let’s make it bold. SOLIDWORKS no longer shuts down when you Finish a video capture. Some issues don’t need SOLIDWORKS to close after the issue is recorded. In the past, this was the only way to finish the Problem Capture and if you have an assembly that takes a long time to open/save/close then the forced close of SOLIDWORKS was a bit of a pain and time consuming.
The Rest of the Problem Capture Process
The rest of the process of creating a SOLIDWORKS Rx Problem Capture is pretty much the same as it has been in prior releases.
Under Step 2 > Package files, the “Add More Files to Zip” still allows you to grab the files that were open in SOLIDWORKS and add more files that might be needed to troubleshoot the issue. The “Package Files Now…” button still wants to create a zip file in your \Documents\SW Log Files\ folder. The zip file name still contains your SOLIDWORKS serial number and a date/time stamp of when the files was created.
The “Continue” button under Step 3 takes us to the ”Problem Capture Details” window. Filling in the details has never been simpler.
There isn’t an Area field or Sub-Area field that need to be selected, like it was in the prior versions. Gone are the days of needing to put your contact information in here either. That went away in 2018.
Type in a Summary, Description or process steps. Then select an impact level, most of the time I don’t suggest setting this higher than a ‘Medium’ level, this allows the issue to be elevated at a future time if needed. If you start off at ‘Critical’ there isn’t anywhere for it to go up if the issue become worse.
Default location is ‘\Documents\SW Log Files\’
That’s it! Show your co-workers the issue or open a ticket with your SOLIDWORKS VAR asking for assistance in troubleshooting, providing a fix or simply have them explain what you are experiencing.
Just as a word of advice: the Rx Problem Capture recordings are only recorded at 2 frames per second, compared to a lot videos or movies that we watch are at 24 frames per second or more. So, take your time, slow down, stop over items that you want to bring someone’s attention to. This way the end viewer of the sldrx.wmv, that is in the problem capture zip file, can easily to see what is happening.