Print Screen Not Working: The best way to capture the desktop screen is by using the “Prt Scr,” i.e., the Print Screen key on your keyboards. It is the most effective and efficient way of capturing whatever is displayed on the screen.
The output of the screenshot is pasted on MS Paint, MS Word, PhotoShop, and many other places. However, what should one do when this magic key of capturing the desktop screen stops to work?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Print Screen?
- 2 How to Use Print Screen?
- 3 What if the Print Screen is Not Working?
- 4 5 Ways to Fix Print Screen Not Working
- 5 FAQ’s
- 6 Conclusion
What is Print Screen?
The print screen key or as it is sometimes seen as Prscr, PRTSC, PrtScrn, Prt Scrn, or Ps/SR, is a key located in the break, insert backspace section of the keyboard. When pressed, it sends the current desktop screen as output to the clipboard or the computer printer depending on the software or operating system in use.
The key is alongside other control keys on the keyboard. On Apple computers, there is a possibility of missing the Print Screen key. Instead, they have an F13 key for the same purposes. The Print screen key is not necessarily used to give the printout command. It is used to take a screenshot of the desktop screen and store it on the clipboard.
The image then can be pasted onto any image editor, and a printout can be taken. A noteworthy point here is that there are some programs designed to use the Print Screen key as a command for printouts.
How to Use Print Screen?
Apart from taking the screenshots on your system, Print Screen can also be used for other purposes. When used in combination with the Windows key, the print screen takes the screenshot of the current window. This can later be edited by image editors for various purposes.
Also, when the Print Screen is used in combination with the Alt key and Shift key, it turns the computer to the highest contrast mode. On Windows 10 nowadays, the combination of Windows key and Print Screen can also be used to take the screenshots.
What if the Print Screen is Not Working?
Usually on Windows systems, whenever the Print Screen is not working, using the combination of Windows key and Print Screen works. In case it still doesn’t work, follow the following steps when your print screen is not working.
5 Ways to Fix Print Screen Not Working
A crucial step before any of the following methods is to create a restore point. This is because, in some of the next steps, there are registry changes and driver updates. In case something goes wrong, the system would be having a point of restoration to prior settings.
Combination of the Function key (Fn) and Print Screen (Prt Sc): Sometimes, when continuous use of Print Screen is not working, then using the combination with function key works. Press both the keys simultaneously and see if this works. If it doesn’t work, try the following steps.
Method #1 Keyboard Driver Update
- Press Window key + R. This opens the Run prompt. Write devmgmt.msc. This opens the device manager prompt.
- Expand the keyboard section and right-click on it.
- There is an option of “Update Driver Software.” Click on it.
- Then a prompt window opens up, asking whether the drivers should be searched automatically or on the computer. Click on “Search automatically for driver updates.” Wait for the Windows to search the required driver and complete the update.
- After the driver update is complete, reboot the system.
- Again, follow step I and ii to navigate to the Device Manager.
- This time click on the “Browse my computer for the updates” tab.
- On the next screen, click on “Let me pick from the available drivers.” Make sure you check all the boxes.
- Select the latest driver and click next.
- Reboot your PC.
Now check if you have fixed the issue of Print Screen not working.
Method #2 Disable F Mode or F Lock key
For F mode or F lock key on your keyboard. These keys usually make the Print screen not working. So try to press these keys and check if the issue of the print screen not working is resolved.
- Check for Windows Update:
- Press the Windows+ I key to open the settings of the “Security and Update” icon.
- Then under the Update status, check for the updates.
If an update is found on the PC, install the update, and reboot the system.
Usually, when a Windows update is pending, it makes some features not to work. Once the update is complete, these features start to work again, usually. So check for windows update, and if it is there, install it and see if it fixes Print Screen not working.
Method #3 Stop Background Processing
There might be a program that is running in the background as a background process. These may include One Drive, DropBox, Snipping tool, etc. To check for these and stop them, use:
- Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open up Task Manager.
- Find these programs and right-click on these.
- There’s an option to “End task.” Click on End Task.
- Once all these tasks are clear from the background, check for the issue of Print Screen not working.
Method #4 Perform a Cleanup
- Press Windows+ R; this prompts a “Run” window.
- Write msconfig and press enter.
- Under the “General Tab,” make sure the to select the “Selective Startup ”.
- Uncheck “Load Startup Items”
- Select the service tab and check “Hide all Microsoft services.”
- Now select “Disable all” to disable all the unnecessary services.
- Navigate to the startup tab and click on “Open Task Manager.”
- Inside the Task Manager, disable all the startup items that are enabled.
- Click OK and reboot the system.
After completing the cleanup process, check if the issue of Print Screen not working still exists.
Method #5 Snipping Tool
The tool is another way of taking screenshots on Windows 10 PCs. Search the Snipping Tool on the Windows taskbar. It is an inbuilt tool of Windows and provides a great way to customize the screenshot as well.
The alternative of the Snipping tool is LightShot. Just download the software from the site and search on the tab on the taskbar. You can use this to take a screenshot and customize it.
Configure Alternate Key for Print Screen:
The method adds the essential print operation to some other key on the keyboard. It uses a third-party tool to assign an alternate key for the Print Screen operation.
- Download Screen Print Platinum.
- Install the program and open it.
- Click on Setup and select “Print Screen.”
- Click on the “Hotkey” button at the end of the navigation window.
- Check “Enable Hotkey,” and in Global, Configuration Hotkey, select the alternate key you want to use as Print Screen.
- Check for the Ctrl and Alt key as well.
- Click on save, and then it will assign Ctrl+Alt+P to take the screenshots.
This doesn’t actually fix the print screen not working issue. However, it is a great way to work around the theme of the print screen key, not working.
Why is Print Screen function not working?
Try to press F Mode key or F Lock key (make sure you have these keys in your keyboard, if not, please skip this fix), then check if Print Screen works. That's because such keys may not allow you from using print screen key.
How do I enable screenshots in Windows 10?
The Windows key + Print Screen To take a screenshot on Windows 10 and automatically save the file, press the Windows key + PrtScn. Your screen will go dim and brightness will be low and a screenshot of your entire screen will save to the desired Screenshots folder.
Depending on your hardware, you may use the Windows Logo Key + PrtScn button as a shortcut for print screen. If your device does not have the PrtScn button, you may use Fn + Windows logo key + Space Bar to take a screenshot, which can then be printed.
All these tools are tried and tested methods and alternatives for fixing the Print Screen not working. However, it is always advisable to create a restore point and back up of the necessary files before the changes.
We hope these steps help you in fixing your issue of the print screen not working. If there are any queries regarding any of these steps, please write to us in the comment section below. We are hoping to hear about your experience. Cheers!
Gravit Sinha: Founder of ValidEdge, a problem-solving website, driven by his lifelong passion for fixing issues.