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Capture a Screen Shot in Windows

by Oscar Sodani
March 6, 2003

Oscar Sodani is a founder of Help2Go and owner of Help2Go Networks, an IT consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area. Oscar holds the CISSP certification as well as industry certifications from Microsoft, Cisco and Novell.

A screenshot is like taking a snapshot of what is appearing on your monitor. You can then save this picture and e-mail it, print it, -- anything you can do with a regular picture.

Why would this be useful? If you've ever tried explaining what's appearing on your screen to a technical support person, or even a friend or colleague, then you'll appreciate how difficult that can be. A much easier solution is to take a screenshot of what you're experiencing, and then e-mail it to the person helping you. You can even post your screenshot on the Help2Go Q&A forum so that you can get quicker answers!

How do you do it? In Windows, taking a screenshot is as easy as hitting the PrintScreen key on your keyboard. Can you find it? It's hidden away in the upper right hand corner, just after the F12 key. Whenever you hit that key, Windows takes a snapshot of your current screen and saves it to the clipboard.

Alternatively, if you want to take a screenshot of just your current window, you can do that, too! First, make sure that the window you want to take a picture of is active by clicking on it. Then, hold down the Alt key and hit PrintScreen. Windows will take a snapshot of just the current window!

Next, you'll need to save the picture. To do so, open up your favorite image editor. Our favorite is IrfanView. If you don't have an image editor, don't worry. Every copy of Windows has a program called Paint pre-installed. You can find it in Start | Programs | Accessories | Paint.

Once you've loaded your image editor, click on the Edit menu and choose Paste. Voila! Your screenshot should now appear! Click on the File menu, then choose Save to save it into a file.

Now you can email it, print it, or post it to our message boards!

Have a question? Need help? Get free, friendly person-to-person help with your computer questions or spyware questions in our help forums!

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