How to Take a Screenshot on Windows

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows | 6 Easy Methods to Try

If you need to take a screenshot on your computer, there are a few different ways to go about it. 

Whether you want a full-screen grab or you’d prefer to use a keyboard shortcut or app, the procedure is pretty simple.

Here we’ll explain the most common methods, and show you how to take a screenshot on Windows 11 & 10.

  • Take a Screenshot of the Entire Screen on Windows 11 and 10 using the PrtScn Key
  • Use the PrtScn Button with OneDrive
  • Take a Screenshot using Windows Snipping Tool
  • Take a Screenshot using the Xbox Console Companion (Game Bar)
  • Take a Screenshot using the Volume and Power Buttons on a Surface
  • Use a Third Party Tool to Take a Screenshot

Recommended Read: How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows 11 & 10

Take a Screenshot of the Entire Screen on Windows 11 and 10 using the PrtScn Key

To start things off, the most commonly used method to take a screenshot on a Windows device is to use the PrtScn key on the keyboard.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows

This key is normally located at the top of the keyboard near the function keys and will be situated right above the Num Pad.

Using PrtScn lets you take a screenshot of the entire page that will then get copied to the clipboard. You can paste the screenshot on any app such as Paint and save the file either as png or jpg.

With Windows, there are multiple PrtScn key variants and functions. Here are some of the most popular ones.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows
  • PrtScn – Copies the entire screen including your menu bar
  • Alt + PrtScn – Copies the active window only 
  • Windows + Shift + S – Create a screen snip of the entire page or a particular section of the page.
  • Windows + PrtScn – Automatically saves the screenshot as an image and the file will be saved in Pictures > Screenshots

Use the PrtScn Button with OneDrive

PrtScn is a nifty functionality, but did you know that you can take a screenshot using this command and have the image automatically stored in your OneDrive account

You can follow these steps to automatically store any screenshot you capture in your OneDrive account.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows
  • Right click on the OneDrive cloud icon from the system taskbar.
  • Click on Settings and then navigate to the Backup tab.
  • Now, click on the Screenshots checkbox to enable automatic uploads.

Once this has been enabled, any screenshot you take using the PrtScn button will be stored in a Screenshots folder in your OneDrive account.

You can view, edit, share and even delete the screenshots by logging into your OneDrive web page or app.

Take a Screenshot using Windows Snipping Tool

Windows 10 and 11 systems come with a built-in snipping tool that lets you take custom screenshots of your display. 

You can use the snipping tool to take screenshots in any shape and have the image file saved onto your computer without having to first paste it on another app like Paint or Word. 

To use the Snipping tool, follow these steps.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows
  • Launch the Start menu and then search for the Snipping tool from within the installed apps.
  • When the app launches on the computer, click on Mode to select what kind of screenshot you want to take.
    • Free-form
    • Rectangular
    • Window
    • Full-Screen
  • Now, click on New and the screen will gray out and freeze.
  • Select the area you want to screenshot and then click on File followed as Save As to store the screenshot on your computer.

You can also make use of the Copy button in the snipping tool and have the screenshot sent to your clipboard from where you can paste it in any app of your choice.

Take a Screenshot using the Xbox Console Companion (Game Bar)

The Xbox Console Companion or the Game Bar is a tool built into new Windows computers, especially those designed for gaming. 

You will be able to use the Xbox Game Bar to take screenshots as well as record your screen while playing any Windows or Microsoft games on the computer.

To do this,

  • Launch a game on your computer
  • Next, press Windows + G to launch the game bar. An overlay will appear on the screen
How to Take a Screenshot on Windows
  • You can now tap on the camera icon from within the overlay or press Windows + Alt + PrtScn to take a screenshot of the display

Once done, the screenshot will be stored in the Videos folder and you can find it by clicking on the sub-folder named Captures.

Take a Screenshot using the Volume and Power Buttons on a Surface

Quite similar to Android devices, taking a screenshot on a new-age Microsoft Surface running Windows OS is relatively simple and all you’d have to do is press the Power button and the Volume button simultaneously.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows

However, if you have an older Surface then you can use the Function + Windows + Spacebar combination to take a screenshot of the display.

This method is only possible if you have a compatible keyboard connected to the Surface tablet.

Use a Third Party Tool to Take a Screenshot

Finally, if all else fails, you can use a third-party app to take a screenshot on your Windows computer.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows

The one i’d recommend using to take good quality screenshots of different screens and apps is Snagit

You can use Snagit to take screenshots, videos and even include scrolling actions, graphics and even arrows to mark specific areas of the page.

The tool is free and you can download it directly from the Microsoft Store.

What to do if PrtScn is not working on my computer?

The most likely scenario is that the print screen shortcut is disabled on your computer and you will have to enable the screenshot shortcut from within the Settings app.

  • Press Windows + U to launch Ease of Access
  • From the left panel, click on Keyboard
  • Once the keyboard options appear, click on the PrtScn toggle under Print Screen layout to enable the feature.

How to update my keyboard drivers if PrtScn is not working?

If you want to update your keyboard driver, follow these steps

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows
  • Press Windows + X on the keyboard to launch the Device Manager tool
  • Click on Keyboards to expand the selection and then right click on Standard PS/2 Keyboard
  • Now, tap on Update Driver and proceed to search for an available update for the driver software.

To check if the update has fixed the issue, press PrtScn on the keyboard to take a new screenshot and then navigate to the Screenshot folder (C:\Users\user\Pictures\Screenshots) to view the screenshot.

Why is my snipping tool not working?

Many times the snipping tool will either freeze or fail to capture your screen.

To rectify the issue or to troubleshoot the problem simply close the app and relaunch it once more. 

However, if the computer has frozen, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to open the task manager

Locate the app and right click on it to pull up the options. Now tap on End Task to close the tool and then relaunch the snipping tool.

How to modify the system Registry to enable print screen?

If you’re technically sound, you can modify your computer’s Registry  to fix the print screen command not working.

Follow these steps to get this done, but make sure you create a System Restore point before doing so.

  • Launch the Registry Editor by pressing Windows + R and entering “regedit
  • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
How to Take a Screenshot on Windows
  • Locate Explorer and right click on it. Select New followed by DWORD (32-bit Value)
  • Change the value name to ScreenShotIndex and then set the Value Data to 4
  • Next, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
    • Double click the folder to open it
  • Make sure the value is set to %USERPROFILE%\Pictures\Screenshots

This should fix the issue, however if you’re still facing the problem then instead of changing the string value for ScreenShotIndex to 4, make it 695 and save the changes.

Reboot the computer for the changes to take effect.

Takeaway

Taking a screenshot on a Windows computer is one of the easiest ways you can record or grab a still from your desktop or any webpage/app you’re running. 

There are a number of ways this can be done and the most simple method is by using the PrtScn button on the keyboard and copying the screenshot onto an app like Word or Paint. 

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below.