The print screen is function popular with people who like to capture what is being viewed on their desktop. Pressing the print screen button on your keyboard captures the screenshot to your clipboard and you can paste it anywhere (mostly in applications like paint etc.).
However, some users reported that they were not able to use the print screen function on their computers. This can be due to several reasons such as the correct driver for keyboard not installed or some interference with third-party programs. We have listed down some workarounds for this issue.
Solution 1: Stopping background programs
Many background programs such as OneDrive, Snippet tool or Dropbox, etc. can cause a problem and restrain you from taking screenshots on your computer. They have features that override the default windows function; hence the problem. You should try closing each of these programs one by one and check each time to know which application is the culprit. Once you have identified the application, you can easily keep it closed when you want to use the print screen function. You may try using the Safe Mode to block all applications from opening at startup and this can help you identify the root cause of the problem.
You may also check your cloud service (e.g. OneDrive or Dropbox) pictures folder for the screenshots being saved there. Because many cloud services have an option that allows your screenshots to be saved in that cloud service.
Also many photo editor apps e.g. Movavi photo editor can take over your print screen command, so make sure that is not the case with you. Moreover, try to delete the contents of the folder that are no more required.
Then check if the Print screen is functioning properly.
Note: You may also try to clean boot your computer to get rid of any rogue “Services” that may startup with the computer in a normal boot.
Solution 2: Checking if Print Screen is being used correctly
Mostly on laptops, there is an additional button you need to press before you can use the print screen function (mostly a key called “fn”). Press that key and then press the print screen button to capture the screenshot accordingly. The button might different on different machines according to the manufacturer. Look around on your keyboard and look for this kind of buttons present.
Also, there are some cases where the laptop was manufactured in another country and you are using the default English keyboard. In that case, you should check if all the keys present on your keyboard are in sync when you press them (check if the writing correctly represents the key). If there is a difference, you should try pressing other keys around and figure out what is the actual print screen button. You may try using the on-screen keyboard.
Solution 3: Updating your Keyboard Drivers
Incorrect keyboard drivers might also be the reason why you are not able to use the print screen function. This issue usually arises on laptops where you have to install the proper driver for your keyboard for all the keys to work.
You should head over to your manufacturer’s website and download the required drivers accordingly. After you have saved the driver to an accessible location, proceed with the solution.
- Right-click on Windows key and select Device Manager from the list of options available.
Another way to launch the device manager is by pressing Windows + R to launch the Run application and typing “devmgmt.msc”.
- Right-click on the keyboard and select “Update Driver”.
- Now a new window will pop up asking you whether to update the driver manually or automatically. Select “Browse my computer for driver software”.
- Now browse through the folders to where you downloaded the drivers. Select it and Windows will install the required drivers. Restart your computer and check if the problem got solved.
Solution 4: Using Alternatives
If all the above solutions don’t work for you, there are many alternatives through which you can print the screen in front of you. We have listed down the most convenient and reliable alternatives for you to try.
- Snipping tool: This tool comes built-in in most Windows. It provides great functionality where you can specifically select the portion of the screen you want to capture and then save it accordingly. Press Windows + S, type “snipping tool” and open the application for it to launch.
- Pressing Windows + Print screen: This command automatically captures the current screen in front of you and stores the PNG file to Pictures\Screenshots. This is an effective way to instantly capture the current screen without any delays or having to save the picture one by one. In laptops, you have to press Fn + Windows Key + Print Screen. The Fn key might be a different laptop to laptop as discussed above.
Note: You can also try pressing the Alt + Print screen to save the captured screen to your clipboard which you can later paste in other applications (Paint etc.).
Solution 5: Run Hardware Troubleshooter for Keyboard
Windows has many built-in troubleshooters to troubleshoot common Windows problems. If the problem you are facing is a result of a wrong configuration of the keyboard, then running the built-in hardware troubleshoot for the keyboard may solve the problem.
- Press Windows key, type Troubleshoot and in the resulting list, click on Troubleshoot Settings.
- Now in the right pane of the window, scroll down to find out Keyboard.
- Now click on Keyboard and then click on Run this troubleshooter.
- Now follow the instructions displayed on the screen to complete the troubleshooting process and then check if Print Screen command is working fine.