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How to take a screenshot in Windows 8.1: three ways without using third party tools

Very often, when I ask users of my apps to take a screenshot in order to troubleshoot issues they are having, they get confused. Some of them do not know how they can take a screenshot which is why I decided to write this article.

Windows 8.1 offers you three different options to make a screenshot without using third party tools. Let's discover them to get the full benefits from the modern Windows version.

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Use the Win+Print Screen hotkey

win+print screen

On your keyboard, press Win+Print Screen keys simultaneously. (Note: if you are using a laptop or tablet, it may have an Fn key and the Print Screen key text on your keyboard may be enclosed inside a box, with some other function assigned to the same key when Fn is not held down. It means you are supposed to hold down the Fn key to use the function enclosed in the box. So if Win+Print Screen does not work, then try Win+Fn+Print Screen).

Your screen will be dimmed for half a second, then it will return to the normal brightness. Now open the following folder:

This PC -> Pictures -> Screenshots

You will find the captured image of your screen in this folder!
Screenshots Folder
Windows will automatically save it to a file named Screenshot (<screenshot_number>).png. That screenshot_number is given automatically by Windows as it maintains a counter in the registry of how many screenshots you have taken using Win+Print Screen method.

Bonus tip: How to reset the screenshot counter in Windows 8

Use only the PrtScn (Print Screen) key:
print screen
Press only the PrtScn (Print Screen) key on the keyboard. The contents of the screen will be captured to the clipboard.
Open Paint and press Ctrl+V or click Paste on the Home tab of the Ribbon to insert your clipboard contents. You will then make any edits you want and save the screenshot to a file.

Tip: If you press Alt+Print Screen, only the active window in the foreground will be captured to the clipboard, not the whole screen. Also, as mentioned above, if your keyboard requires you to use Fn key in order to use Print Screen, use Fn+Print Screen or Fn+Alt+Print Screen if necessary.
alt + print screen

The Snipping Tool application

snipping tool
The Snipping Tool is a simple and useful application shipped with Windows by default. It was created specially for taking screenshots. It can create most types of screenshots - window, custom area or whole screen.

Bonus tip: Use the hidden secret hotkey of the Snipping tool!
When you have started the Snipping Tool application, you are able to take a screenshot with the Ctrl+Print Screen hotkey!
ctrl + print screen
With this secret hotkey, you will be able to capture even menus. Open the application's menu and press the hotkey, and the Snipping tool will allow you to capture anything including the opened menu items!

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

28 thoughts on “How to take a screenshot in Windows 8.1: three ways without using third party tools”

  1. Bonus tip about Snipping tool hot key is just excellent. Till now for making a menu window snapshot I have had to use the Snagit. Thank you Sergey.

      1. I am hoping someone can help me, I use the screenshot FN, WIN + the PRT key’s to take my screenshot(as you explained above) out of nowhere it just does not work no more. I use this feature a lot and am lost without it. Would anyone know why it would just stop working? can it just stop like tha
        Please Help, I am lost

  2. Hi Sergey,

    Have recently upgraded from XP to 8.1.
    After trying numerous times to screen shot, print screen and then Ctrl V, have discovered after reading your ‘how to’ to also discover there is no Screenshot folder in Pictures. I suspect it may have been accidentally deleted.
    How do you get it back please?

  3. if i use tablet
    it not have PRINT SCREEN BUTTON on touch screen keyboard

    example.. if i using LINE APPLICATION
    how do i capture screen

    i think..
    windows 8.1 for tablet , this OS is not very convenient for use,
    it not commonsend, microsoft ‘ s programmer is very stupid

    Good OS..
    common tool , they will convenient for use
    example capture, close application, switch application,
    capture and save or share to other application and …

    now i use OS windows for my work only
    other that, i use droid, i think it is very convenient and easy for use

    sorry for my bad in english
    ^_^

  4. After Windows update today the alt + print screen does not work. I can take a screenshot of the whole desktop but not of just the active window. It was working yesterday. I use the active window screenshot capture a lot. Any idea’s on why or what settings to check?

    Thank you.

  5. I tried multiple times but it didn’t work for me. After pressing Win and Print Screen at the same time, the screen dims for a couple of seconds as you stated, but when I open the screen shots file, there’s nothing there. Also tried using the “hot key” and nothing happened. I have Windows 8.1

  6. HI I did leave a “help” comment, about taking screenshots, I use the feature a lot, am lost without it, it just stopped working today, would anyone know why this could be, I I sure would greatly appreciate any help with this issue. I have never had a problem with this before. Where would I go to find out the issue? or Help would be so greatful. I am happy I found a place to put my issue, ooh what is tha last date a reply/comment was made, I can’t seem to find the date(adding to favs to check back later
    Thanks everyone!

  7. Thanks for the info. but i don’t why screenshots are not clear.
    when i used them in pdf they looking blury.
    If you have any suggestion, plz reply me.
    Thanks!

  8. I attempted various circumstances yet it didn’t work for me. In the wake of squeezing Win and Print Screen in the meantime, the screen darkens for two or three seconds as you expressed, however when I open the screenshots document, there’s nothing there. Additionally had a go at utilizing the “hot key” and nothing happened.

  9. In the first picture, why is the Windows logo key Windows 7-styled? No offence, but just notifying you. :)

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