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Windows 11: Print Screen Key’s Updated Feature

A new Microsoft Windows 11 update marks the end of an era: Using the Print Screen (PrtScn) button will no longer capture one’s entire screen. Now, it it will open the Snipping Tool.

The Snipping Tool allows users to capture rectangular, freeform, full-window, or a full-screen capture. Screenshots taken using the Snipping Tool will be saved to the Screenshot folder and copied to the clipboard.

This update comes with the installation of the Windows 11 KB5025310 update. Those who want to stick to PrtScn’s original function can do so through the “Keyboard” menu under “Settings.”

The PrtScn button on Windows computers has carried out the same task — taking a screenshot of an entire screen and adding it to a user’s clipboard — since 1990, per Ars Technica. Prior to that, using the PrtScn button literally printed whatever text was on one’s screen.

As more complex graphical interfaces were integrated into the general world of computing, broader screenshot capability became important. Accordingly, other methods of screen capture, such as the Snipping Tool, that allowed users to capture only portions of their screens. 

Before the update, a user had to press Windows key + Shift + S to open the Snipping Tool, or they would use third-party apps, like Lightshot, to take screenshots.

So far, the PrtScn update is only available to Windows Insiders. Those registered are able to test out the update and provide feedback.