The screenshot or print-screen key comes in quite handy in everyday use for gamers, technophiles, and anyone wanting to capture the contents of their screen. It is one of those functions which, over the years, we have come to take for granted, and whose true worth is only understood when it stops working.
There could be a variety of reasons why you are not able to capture screenshots on your system. From missing registry keys to outdated keyboard drivers to extraneous software taking over the print screen function – there’s a lot that could go wrong. But before you relegate the task to a third-party application, try out these simple fixes for all your screenshots-not-working woes.
Related: How to Reset Taskbar in Windows 10
How to fix the ‘Screenshots not working Windows 10’ issue
On most laptops and desktop computers, you are bound to have a “Prt scr” key that captures the contents of your screen. On Windows 10, when this key is pressed, the image of the screen is copied to the clipboard. It is important to note that Windows 10 doesn’t give you any confirmation that your screen has been captured which does confuse many as to whether their Prt Scr key is even working. You have to open a program like Paint, Photoshop, Word, etc. (those that support images) and paste it there to see the screenshot.
But if you don’t anything, you can be sure that you’re either not using the right hotkeys, or there’s something wrong with the screenshot function. Here are a few ways that you can fix this problem for good.
1. Make sure you’re using the right key(s)
Other than simply pressing the Prt Scr button, there are a few hotkey combinations that you can use to capture screenshots. Here they are:
Prt Scr – captures the entire screen.
Ctrl + Prt Scr – also captures the entire screen
Alt + Prt Scr – captures a section of the screen.
For the above three hotkey combinations, the screenshot will be captured but it will only be copied to the clipboard. You will be still be required to paste it into a program that supports images. If you want to bypass this, use the following hotkey combination.
Winkey + Prt Scr – captures and saves the screenshot to the default Screenshot folder (C:\Users\(username)\Pictures\Screenshots).
At the same time, do check if there is a Fn lock key on your keyboard. If there is, make sure that the Print Screen key is enabled by pressing this Fn lock key.
2. Check ‘write’ permissions of the Screenshot folder
If you’re using the Winkey + Prt Scr hotkey and still don’t find your screenshot saved in the default screenshot folder, it is possible that you may not have the permission to write to that folder. Here’s how you can check if that is the problem:
Press Win+E to open file explorer, then double-click on the Pictures folder.
Right-click the Screenshots folder and select Properties.
Under the “Security” tab, make sure that SYSTEM and Administrators have write permissions.
If you don’t see a check-mark next to Write, then you don’t have the permission to save screenshots using the “Winkey + Prt Scr” hotkeys. But this is something that can easily be fixed by gaining Administrative rights and privileges.
3. Registry Fix
Another problem could be that your system is missing an important Registry file. But fret not, it is easy to fix this. Here’s how you can do so:
Press Win+R to open the RUN box, type “regedit”, then hit Enter.
Once the Registry Edior opens, navigate to the following location:
Alternatively, you can copy the above and paste it in the Registry address bar, and hit Enter.
With the Explorer folder selected in the left pane, see if there is a ScreenshotIndex DWORD file in the right pane.
If there isn’t, then you can create one yourself. To do this, right-click in the empty space in the right pane, select New, then click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.
Name this “ScreenshotIndex” and double-click it modify it. Then, for “Value data”, enter 1. Click OK.
Now, check to see if your screenshots are being saved to the Pictures>Screenshots folder.
4. Use the Snipping tool
If the aforementioned methods don’t work, you can use the built-in Windows 10 screenshot tool – Snipping Tool. Here’s how you can open and use it.
Press Start, type “snipping tool”, and click on it.
This will open Snipping Tool. Click on Mode.
Here, you will see four different screenshot modes to choose from. Click on one to select it.
You’ll be in the screenshot mode now. Drag your mouse to select the area of the screen that you wish to capture. If you click on New, you will automatically be in the screenshot mode that you selected in the “Mode” section.
You can also press Win + Shift + S to quickly take a screenshot via Snipping Tool.
5. Close background programs
Sometimes, a few background programs can interfere with the screenshot functions and keep you from capturing your screen’s content. Some of these programs include the likes of OneDrive, Dropbox, and Snipper tool, etc. Here’s how you can close them and wrest back control of your “Prt Scr” key.
Right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager.
Now, under the “Processes” tab, right-click on the program and select End Task to close it.
Do this for all such programs and check if the screenshot function is working.
6. Update keyboard drivers
An outdated or incorrect keyboard driver can also be the culprit preventing your Print Screen key from doing its job. So, updating your keyboard drivers might just fix the problem for you. Here’s how to do so:
Press Win+X and click on Device Manager.
Click on Keyboards to expand it.
Then right-click on Standard PS/2 Keyboard and select Update driver.
Now, you will get two options – to search for drivers automatically or to browse the computer for drivers. If you don’t have the keyboard drivers on your computer, select Search automatically for drivers.
Wait for the latest drivers to be installed automatically, then reboot your PC.
Or, you can go to your keyboard (or laptop) manufacturer’s website and download the drivers. Once you have the drivers, go back to the same “Update driver” option, and this time click on Browse my computer for driver software.
Then click on Let me pick from a list of available drivers…
Now, select from the available drivers and click Next.
Once the keyboard drivers are updated, reboot your PC and check if the problem is fixed.
7. Run Troubleshooter
If the solutions mentioned thus far have not borne any fruit, then your list of available fixes is running thin. However, sometimes the Windows 10 built-in troubleshooter can address the problem to good effect. Here’s how you can run the hardware troubleshooter:
Press Win+I to open Settings, then click on Update & Security.
In the left pane, click on Troubleshoot. On the right, click on Additional troubleshooter.
Scroll down to Keyboard and click on it.
Then, click on Run the troubleshooter.
Windows will now check if there are any problems with the selected component (keyboard, in our case) and fix them for you (if possible).
8. Use third-party applications
When all in-built screenshot capturing functions fail, you’re only left with the option of using third-party applications. But that is not just a consolation; third-party applications far exceed Window’s bare-bones screenshot function. In fact, folk who have to regularly take screenshots know that these applications provide useful additional options that streamline the screen capturing process and makes it much more convenient on the whole. Here are a few that you may want to check out.
We at NerdsChalk are a big of the ShareX software, so we totally recommend you to check it out for all your screenshot needs.
So these were all the fixes that you could get your screenshot function to start working again on Windows 10. If you’re still experiencing trouble with taking screenshots, we highly recommend you get a third-party application for the same.