Troubleshooting Tools: SQL Snaps, FiddlerCap, and More
Most errors received in Blackbaud CRM are self-explanatory and clearly state the problem/resolution. From time to time however, the verbiage isn’t as intuitive and the resolution path not clearly defined. Several valuable tools are available for Help Desk Administrators and Blackbaud Support employees to determine the root cause of these issues and bring to light the best course of action to correct. This article will showcase several of these tools Blackbaud Support may request, explain what they are used for, and how to utilize them effectively.
Oh, Snap: SQL Snapshot Utility
The SQL Snapshot Utility is a Blackbaud developed tool that tracks active requests being serviced by SQL Server. It is extremely useful in troubleshooting sporadic database problems such as performance issues and database locks. This is the most common form of diagnostic file requested by Blackbaud Support.
How to use SQL Snaps:
*** If Blackbaud hosts your database, SQL Snaps are continually running and monitored by our Database Administrators.
1. First, ensure the user running the SQL Snaps has administrative rights over the SQL server housing the database. This allows the utility to be run from any workstation.
2. From your Blackbaud CRM Start Page, click the Utilities section, and select click Blackbaud SQL Snapshot Utility under ClickOnce Utilities. SQL Snaps launches:
3. Enter your SQL Server name in the upper left.
4. Mark the Box to Auto Snap every “X” seconds.
5. Select Use rolling log file. This will allow the utility to run in perpetuity while limiting the total disk space used for the log file.
That’s it! Simply set it and forget it. I recommended running SQL Snaps at all times in order to proactively capture and analyze any issues that may arise. The utility can also be set to run as a Scheduled Task which runs at Startup. For instructions, review How to set up SQL Snap to start up automatically .
FiddlerCap: Web Server Watchdog
While SQL Snaps obtain database server activity, the third party application FiddlerCap Web Recorder provides traffic information occurring on the Web Server. When used in conjunction with SQL Snaps, a multi-layered summary of “back-end” activity is very handy to troubleshoot and identify Blackbaud CRM issues.
To use FiddlerCap:
1. Go to http://www.fiddlercap.com/FiddlerCap and click the hyperlink in step 1 to download.
2. Press Run, Run again, Install, and then Close.
3. At this point, the program opens.
4. Check the box Decrypt HTTPS traffic and click OK to the message that appears.
5. Press ‘Start Capture’ and minimize the utility.
6. Reproduce the error in Blackbaud CRM. Be sure to make note of the time the error is received and press Stop Capture.
7. Press Save Capture and email the resulting file to Blackbaud Support.
Camera, Set, Action: Jing Video and Windows Problem Step Recorder
Some errors only occur under a certain set of circumstances or after many specific steps are taken. In these instances, Blackbaud CRM Support and Product Development LOVE to know the exact steps to duplicate the issue. Screenshots to supplement the steps to duplicate are a huge help as well. Taking the time to transcribe the exact steps, take pertinent screenshots, and pull these into a single document can sometimes be a daunting task. A much easier and expeditious method to provide this information is using a video recording program. Two of my favorites are Jing Video and Windows Problem Step Recorder.
Both tools provide a video showcasing the steps you take prior to receiving the error. If you prefer to incorporate audio (in order to narrate the steps you’re taking or provide additional information) check out Jing Video. Windows Problem Step Recorder on the other hand will both capture your screen, transcribe the steps you take (‘Clicked Start, Programs, Internet Explorer’ or ‘Minimized Outlook’), and consolidate these into a single ZIP file.
How to use Jing Video:
1. Go to http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html and click Free Download on the left hand side.
2. Launch the downloaded .exe file and select Run, Install, and then Finish.
3. Launch the Program and create a free account.
4. When the program is running a small orange circle is seen at the top center of your screen.
5. Hover your mouse of the half-circle and click the +. Select the Capture Video option.
6. You will be prompted for an audio source. If a microphone is present, feel free to narrate as you highlight the steps to duplicate.
7. A timer will appear in the lower left portion of your screen. Walk through the steps to duplicate.
8. Once the steps are complete click the Stop button, save the file, and send it to Support.
How to use Windows Problem Step Recorder:
*** NOTE: This utility comes standard and is only available on Windows 7.
1. Click Start, type ‘PSR’ in the Search field, and press Enter. The utility opens.
2. Click Start Record and walk through the steps to duplicate.
3. Click Stop Record, save the file, and provide to Support.
And there you have it. A few extremely useful tools to help ensure Blackbaud Support delivers fast, exceptional service and a swift resolution.
Note: We provide links to third-party websites in an effort to help you resolve your issue. We are not responsible for the information on third-party websites, and we cannot assist in implementing the solution on these websites.
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