Print screen not working – Method to Fix

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. You’re working on a critical task, racing against the ticking clock, when suddenly, a problem arises that throws a wrench into your otherwise smooth workflow. You try to capture the exact moment on your screen — to document an issue, to ask a colleague for advice, or simply to save a piece of information for later. But lo and behold, your trusty ally in this digital age fails you. “Print screen not working,” you mutter under your breath, a mild annoyance swelling within.

This unexpected hurdle, as trivial as it may seem, can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you’re trying to maintain your focus and efficiency. But fret not; this is far from an insurmountable issue. Many of us have been in this exact spot before, and it’s certainly not a place without escape. As seemingly complicated as it might sound, the solution to this issue is typically straightforward and requires no special technical knowledge. In fact, it’s something you can accomplish with just a few easy steps. So, let’s take a deep breath, and roll up our sleeves. Here’s your action plan.

Also read: Apple pencil not working– How to fix

Print screen not working

How to Fix Print screen not working?

Method 1. Make sure you’ve pressed the correct key

  1. Carefully examine your keyboard, locating the ‘Print Screen’ key, typically found in the upper right.
  2. Test the key by pressing it, anticipating the screen capture that usually follows.

Method 2. Enable the Print Screen shortcut

  1. Open the main system settings, then navigate to the ‘Ease of Access’ menu for accessibility options.
  2. Search for ‘Keyboard’ settings where you can find the ‘Print Screen Shortcut’ option.
  3. Toggle on the ‘Print Screen Shortcut’, this will directly activate screen snipping with one key.

Method 3. Stop Background programs

  1. Initiate Task Manager to reveal all currently running applications and background processes.
  2. Identify and select programs that are non-essential and could be causing interference.
  3. Choose to end these processes, ensuring they are completely shut down and not just minimized.

Method 4. Restart your computer

  1. Ensure all your ongoing work and open files are saved to prevent loss of data.
  2. Navigate to the ‘Start’ menu usually found at the lower left corner of your screen.
  3. From the available options, select ‘Restart’ to perform a full system reboot.

Method 5. Update the keyboard driver

  1. Open the Device Manager, a system tool that allows management of hardware devices.
  2. In the device list, locate the ‘Keyboard’ category and expand it to see your keyboard.
  3. Right-click on the keyboard entry, a drop-down menu will appear with an ‘Update driver’ option.
  4. Select ‘Update driver’, allowing your system to automatically search for and apply the latest driver.

Method 6. Update the operating system

  1. Start by navigating to your system’s ‘Settings’ menu, usually accessible via the start menu.
  2. Within settings, select ‘Update & Security’, a dedicated section for system updates and protection.
  3. Inside ‘Update & Security’, find and click ‘Windows Update’ to check for any pending updates.
  4. If available, allow the system to download and install these updates to ensure optimal performance.

Method 7. Use keyboard hotkey combinations

  1. With your keyboard, hold down the ‘Alt’ key, usually located on either side of the spacebar.
  2. While holding the ‘Alt’ key, press the ‘Print Screen’ key to capture the currently active window.

Method 8. Use Awesome Screenshot & Recorder

  1. Download and install the ‘Awesome Screenshot & Recorder’ tool, a third-party screen capture tool.
  2. Launch the tool and explore its options, selecting your preferred screen capture mode.
  3. Utilize the tool to capture your screen, with options including full page or selected area capture.

Method 9. Check If There Is an F Mode or F Lock Key on the Keyboard

  1. Inspect your keyboard for an ‘F Mode’ or ‘F Lock’ key which can influence function keys.
  2. Press the identified key to toggle its activation, altering the behavior of the function keys.
  3. After toggling, try to use the ‘Print Screen’ key again for your screen capture needs.

Method 10. Check the Hardware

When dealing with the frustrations of a non-functioning Print Screen key, it’s easy to forget the simplest possible explanation – a hardware issue. The key itself might be defective or damaged. Before proceeding with software troubleshooting, check the physical condition of your keyboard. The most practical way to do this is by plugging in an external keyboard and testing the “Print Screen” key there. If the key works perfectly on the external keyboard, you might need to consider replacing your current keyboard, as the issue is likely hardware-related.

Method 11. Check your Clipboard

Each time you use the Print Screen function, the image is stored in your Clipboard. Over time, the Clipboard can become overloaded, which may lead to some functions, including Print Screen, not working correctly. As a potential solution, consider clearing your Clipboard. To do this, type “Clipboard” into the search bar on your taskbar, then select “Clipboard settings.” Here, you’ll find an option to “Clear” your Clipboard. After clearing it, attempt to use Print Screen again to check if the function has been restored.

Method 12. Try Windows+Shift+S Shortcut

If you’re still struggling with the traditional Print Screen function, try the Windows+Shift+S shortcut. This nifty combination will launch the Snipping Tool, a built-in utility that enables you to drag and select a specific area of your screen to capture. After releasing your mouse button, the selected area will be copied to your Clipboard. You can then paste this image into any program that can display images.

Method 13. Use Snipping Tool

If keyboard shortcuts are not your cup of tea, you can directly use the Snipping Tool. This built-in Windows utility offers a user-friendly interface for capturing screenshots. To use the Snipping Tool, search for it using your taskbar’s search function, and select “New” once it’s open. Your screen will fade, and you can select the area you wish to capture by clicking and dragging your cursor. Once you’ve selected the area, release your cursor, and your capture will open in the Snipping Tool for you to save and use as you need.

Method 14. Switch to Tablet Mode

For those using a device capable of both desktop and tablet functions, switching to Tablet Mode might solve the Print Screen issue. In Tablet Mode, Windows 10 becomes touch-friendly, and certain keyboard functions might behave differently. To switch to Tablet Mode, go to “Settings,” choose “System,” and then select “Tablet.” Under the “When I use this device as a tablet” option, choose “Use the appropriate mode for my hardware.” Following these steps, you should test the “Print Screen” key again.

Method 15. Use Third-Party Applications

There’s no shortage of third-party applications designed to enhance or replace the Print Screen function. Programs such as Lightshot or Greenshot offer a wealth of features for capturing and editing screenshots. Both applications allow you to select specific areas of your screen to capture, offer editing tools for quick annotations, and even provide options for directly sharing your screenshots. They also support different image formats for saving, and Greenshot even offers the ability to directly upload captures to cloud storage. These third-party solutions can provide a robust workaround if your Print Screen key continues to be uncooperative.

Method 16. Disable Fast Startup

Fast Startup is a Windows feature designed to reduce the time your computer takes to boot up. However, sometimes this feature can interfere with certain system operations, including the Print Screen function. To disable it, head to the Control Panel and select “Power Options.” From there, choose “Choose what the power button does.” In the next window, click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable.” You’ll then see an option labeled “Turn on fast startup.” Simply uncheck this box and remember to save your changes. After disabling Fast Startup, try using the Print Screen key again to see if the issue has been resolved.

Method 17. Use the On-Screen Keyboard

The On-Screen Keyboard is a virtual keyboard that you can use as an alternative to your physical keyboard. This can be particularly helpful if you’re dealing with a hardware issue. To access the On-Screen Keyboard, use the search function in your Start Menu. Once open, look for the PrtScn key, which will function just like the Print Screen key on a physical keyboard. After pressing it, the captured image can be pasted into your preferred image-editing software for saving and further manipulation.

Method 18. Use Windows Ink Workspace

For those with a penchant for using a stylus, the Windows Ink Workspace is a handy feature. More than just a drawing tool, it also comes with a screenshot function. To access it, click on the Windows Ink Workspace icon located in your system tray, then choose “Screen Sketch.” This feature allows you to capture a screenshot and immediately draw on or annotate the image. This can be especially useful when you want to highlight or note something specific in your screenshot.

Method 19. Perform a System Restore

If the Print Screen function has only recently started malfunctioning, a System Restore could be a potential solution. This feature works by resetting your system settings to a previous state when everything functioned correctly. To perform a System Restore, search for it using your taskbar’s search function, then follow the guided prompts. Be aware that while this can revert system issues, it can also potentially remove any apps or data installed or added after the chosen restore point.

Method 20. Use Game Bar for Screen Capture

Some applications, especially graphics-intensive ones or games, might not be compatible with traditional screenshot methods. In these cases, you can use the Windows Game Bar. Originally designed for gamers, the Game Bar offers a variety of utilities, including screen capture. To use it, simply press the Windows key + G to bring up the Game Bar, then click the camera icon to take a screenshot. The image will automatically save to your system’s default image folder, typically under “Videos” -> “Captures”.


It’s clear that having a “Print Screen” key not working can put a serious damper on productivity. Yet, with these varied solutions, you’re no longer left in the lurch. From checking hardware to exploring in-built tools, there are numerous methods to resolve this issue. Don’t let a faulty keyboard or a minor software hiccup prevent you from capturing important on-screen information.

These instructions have hopefully served as a roadmap, steering you away from this common computer roadblock. Remember, if one method doesn’t work, there are still plenty of others to try. Don’t be afraid to experiment with third-party applications as well, they can often provide even more robust screen capturing capabilities.

Windows is a flexible operating system filled with alternate routes and solutions. While the Print Screen problem can be frustrating, it’s not insurmountable. The key is persistence and a little bit of digital detective work. With these strategies in your toolkit, you’re now better equipped to tackle this issue and keep your digital life running smoothly. After all, a well-timed screenshot can make a world of difference. Keep on capturing, and don’t let the ‘Print Screen’ problem hold you back!


1. What should I do if my Print Screen key isn’t working?

If your Print Screen key isn’t functioning, start by checking your keyboard hardware and testing the function with an external keyboard.

2. Can I still take screenshots if my Print Screen key isn’t working?

Yes, you can! Use Windows’ in-built tools like Snipping Tool, Game Bar, or the On-Screen Keyboard to capture your screen.

3. Could the issue be with my computer’s settings?

Indeed, certain settings like Fast Startup or Clipboard overload can hinder the Print Screen function. Adjust these to troubleshoot the issue.

4. How do third-party applications help if the Print Screen key isn’t working?

Third-party applications like Lightshot or Greenshot offer enhanced screen capturing capabilities and can serve as effective alternatives to the Print Screen function.

Can I prevent future issues with the Print Screen key?

Regularly updating your operating system and keyboard drivers can help prevent the Print Screen function from malfunctioning in the future.

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