I typically run a 64-bit OS, so I occasionally see an issue with the Web Test Recorder explorer bar. For example, the Web Test Recorder explorer bar wasn’t coming up during a test. When I added the explorer bar manually, it wasn’t capturing any of the web interactions.
It turns out, I wasn’t running Visual Studio 2008 in “elevated” mode (e.g. I wasn’t running it as an administrator). Running as administrator fixed my issues, and I started recording.
There is a list of fixes posted over at Michael Taute's Blog : Diagnosing and fixing Web Test recorder bar issues. I’ve used this to bail me out a couple of times. The registry key entries are a big help (although I’ve fixed them with “regedit.exe”, not “regedt32.exe”).
It is a little easier to get to that web test recorder now—you can just bring it up from the “tools” menu in IE8:
However, you do need to launch the browser from Visual Studio, or it’s effectively disabled.
If you want to start recording without using Visual Studio first, you can use Fiddler. There are a few limitations, but it works well with multiple windows.