Windows 11 screenshot change could be a blessing or a curse

A laptop running Windows 11, representing an article about how to use task scheduler on windows
(Image credit: sdx15 / Shutterstock)

If you’re a snap-happy PC user, you may not appreciate a potential Windows 11 update that could alter a feature that has been set in stone for almost 30 years. Though still in beta testing, it looks like the print screen button function could change in the near future. 

Microsoft is currently testing a print screen button revision in its latest Windows 11 beta preview builds (via Windows Latest). Ever since Windows 95, pressing the print screen button has created a snap of your current screen, but that’s set to change if this beta preview tweak makes it into Windows 11. 

If the update is finalized, pressing the print screen key will open up the Windows Snipping Tool. This handy app lets you set precise image dimensions, leading to bespoke snaps where you can dictate exactly what is captured in a screenshot; macOS has a snipper function that's very similar. 

As someone who uses the Snipping Tool on a daily basis, this is a change I can easily get behind. But I’m probably in the minority.

Snap of honor 

How to screenshot on Windows 11 step 4

(Image credit: Future)

Looking at it rationally, this potential beta change makes the print screen button more fiddly. Though I almost never touch print screen, I appreciate the fact that it's an idiot-proof method for taking instant screenshots free from hassle. If this update goes through, most users will be forced to jump through an additional hoop in order to snap their screen. 

Mercifully, there is a way around this revision. If you hate change and want the print screen key to function as it always has for the past 28 years, you can disable the tweak. Simply go to Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard, then toggle off the ‘Use the Print Screen key to open Snipping Tool’ setting. 

Windows 11 users who are familiar with the registry editor can also disable this update by entering ‘PrintScreenKeyForSnippingEnabled’ value under ‘HKCUl\Control’ and setting the value to 0

There’s a good chance this print screen change will never make it into a public build of Windows 11. Beta preview tweaks are never final, and seeing as this is a fairly divisive revision that few Windows users were asking for, we wouldn’t be shocked if it never sees the light of day. 

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.