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How to Take a Screenshot in Windows 8 with No Extra Software

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Today we are going to show you a nifty new shortcut built into Windows 8 that lets you capture everything that’s on your screen–this is the first time that Windows has really included a built-in way to capture screenshots.

Taking a Screenshot in Windows 8

Switch to the Start Screen and launch your app of choice.

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To take a screenshot, hold down the Windows key and press the PrtScn (Print Screen) button on your keyboard.

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Now press the Win + E keyboard combination to open Explorer and navigate to your Pictures library in the left-hand side panel, here you will find a newly created Screenshots folder, double-click on it to open it up.

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Inside you will find all the screenshots you have taken, listed in chronological order.

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That’s all there is to it.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 08/27/12

Comments (24)

  1. Naman

    Or you could jus use PrtSc and MSPaint, the good old method :P

  2. Xenokira

    Indeed NAMAN. Windows had had the ability to create screenshots for a long time. So “this is the first time that Windows has really included a built-in way to capture screenshots” is incorrect.

    How-to-Geek, you’re slipping man.

  3. liderr

    PrtScr & paste into Irfanview has always worked just fine for me.

  4. Luke

    They clearly mean it already saves the screenshot in a folder with no extra work required.

  5. SatoMew

    @Xenokira, it’s not incorrect in the sense of the “extra software” part. Paint is still another piece of software, independent of the OS’ core functionality relative to its [Paint] use.

  6. clb92

    “this is the first time that Windows has really included a built-in way to capture screenshots.”

    1) Print Screen button + almost any image editor.
    2) The Snipping Tool, built-in since Vista!

    Get your facts straight, Taylor Gibb!

  7. Drew P. Balls

    Snipping tool is my favorite, ironically considering my name.

  8. Citrus Rain

    Nice. I’m tired of using the snipping tool. This is now as useful as one of the default setups I’ve seen in linux. – Very useful and quick.

  9. PhantomTurtle

    The Snipping Tool is extra software and kinda annoying to use because you have to wait for it to start up and then select a location to save it in instead of auto saving to the Pictures folder. It is a lot easier in Ubuntu because GNOME has a screenshot tool that will let you save wherever you want by just pressing printscreen.

  10. Iszi

    Let’s be honest. How often do you really want to take a screenshot and save it to the same folder as all of your other screenshots, and keep it totally unaltered with some system-generated file name? Using good ol’ PrtScrn (or Alt+PrtScrn) and MSPAINT here will actually save you a lot of time and hassle. Even the Snipping Tool others have mentioned, built-in since Vista, is still a more productive option. The only thing to perhaps make these any better is to add hotkeys to the program shortcuts – a feature built-in since Windows XP, if not earlier.

    This new feature is nice, but I prefer to have it all done in one shot – image edited to preference, placed where I’m going to be keeping it, named how I want it, in my preferred format. This method will result in a lot of two-step work, which will also involve having to move things around the file system and/or possibly creating duplicate files. Much more clunky and messy in the long run, than the alternative, IMHO.

  11. Tangmeister

    @Iszi, I think this would be much more convenient than having to pause whatever you’re doing (like playing games that don’t have built-in screenshot features) to open another program and then select a location and give it a name.

  12. r

    Snipping Tool always works fine for me for a quick capture and editing
    Yes, you have to wait about a full second for it to load at first….life is so unfair, I know.

  13. Iszi

    @Tangmeister Well, that’s ONE use case, I guess. Fair point.

  14. bd1235

    I have Win 8 RTM and I found the Screenshots folder not in the Pictures Library but in C:\USERS\username\PICTURES\SCREENSHOTS
    Has it been shifted from where it was in earlier versions?

  15. SatoMew

    @bd1235, %UserProfile%\Pictures\Screenshots is the real location. The Pictures Library shows it because, welp, the user’s Pictures folder and the public Pictures folder are default locations set to be shown in the Pictures Library in Windows 7 and 8.

  16. Siniša Ivanek

    Not to mention if you have a multiple monitor setup – it is all in print screen – and this is very annoying to me. Alt + PrntScrn is better :), but since I am using win 7 I mostly use the snipping tool and I like it because I can select a region instead of window/screen and then it gets from the clipboard to e-mail or word ;)
    And I am also against all screenshots in one folder. If I need screenshots of an app or anything I make a folder and then save it manually to it (nice feature that mspaint/snipping tool remembers last used folder – when not quitting)

  17. Keith

    As another option, try Purrint.

    http://www.bcheck.net/apps/purrint.htm

    You can have it take over the PRNTSCRN key and do an autosave to a given folder, in any of three formats.

  18. max

    Snipping Tool in Windows 7 does a better job. Keep trying, Windows 8!

  19. Naman

    LOL, looks like I’ve started an argument! Keep fighting :P

  20. SatoMew

    >implying any of the methods are perfect or necessarily bad
    Seriously, people. Just enjoy the fact you have multiple ways of achieving the same thing. Sheesh! Windows 8 has for more crucial issues than this (and this isn’t an issue, it’s another way of taking screenshots, which is obviously good).

  21. Beverly Margolis, Ph.D.

    Duh…me use win7. me press Fn+PRTSC and it work. What big deal in Win 8?

    That feature has been in all of the Windows releases of which I am aware. I originally supported DOS at Microsoft and then eventually supported some of the earlier iterations of Windows before taking other support-related functions. The most fun I had was in being in the WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS to Word for Windows group. There were about six of us across the country that were involved and we creamed WP. WP had tried to port WP 5.1 to Windows and it flopped like a pancake. To help users make the switch less painful, I created the first graphical pages in the Knowledge Base.

    It was incumbent for all MS engineers, support or otherwise, to contribute to the KB back then. How I miss those good old days before MS started hiring non-technical IBM “managers.” Until then it was actually FUN to go to work. Sigh… A massive stroke caused me to have to retire and I HATE being retired! Oh well…

  22. Beverly Margolis, Ph.D.

    BTW, after pressing the key combo Fn+P, one can go to Word or Paint or just about anything that will accept a graphic and press Ctrl+V to paste the screen shot. Look, ma, no extra software required.

    I love the Snippet tool in Win7 (not in basic) for grabbing only a part of a screen; it beats having to paste a screen shot and then crop it.

  23. Beverly Margolis, Ph.D.

    One other thing I forgot is that when I need to sent screen shots to others, I just open a new Gmail message and paste it directly into the piece of mail. Even though I’m no longer getting paid to help others, I still can’t help myself at times. I’m fairly new to computers and computing–I’ve only 30 years experience–it still makes me shake my head at times to see how far we’ve come from the days of black screens and doing everything with command line instructions. Wow!

    Just think about some of the things we can now do WITHOUT having to resort to sneaker net. For those of you who are in the dark about sneaker net, prior to the Internet, one would have to save their work to a floppy disk (the first floppies I used were 8-1/2″ square…REALLY floppy) then run to another office or part of a company to give it to someone else.

    Although it was possible to transfer some data via phone lines, the fastest modems at that time ran at 300 baud–not mbps–300 baud! It would sometimes be faster to get in a car and drive to another city a few hundred miles away than it was to try to send it by modem. At one point I started a service in which I would take data on floppies and drive them from Dallas, TX to Abilene, San Antonio or even Houston! It still was faster than sending stuff via 300 baud…and of course, many were the times when the system would crash, causing a person to have to start over from scratch.

    It was a nice living while it lasted!

  24. Jimmy

    I took some screenshots using the shortcut, then renamed the default folder and moved it on another location. Now, all screenshots are being saved automatically on the new location and not in the default Pictures folder. How can I fix this?

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