Take a ScreenShot or Screen Capture in Windows XP

Google Docs

Important Update: Microsoft ended support for XP years ago. The company no longer supports Windows 7, either. You should not be using either version on your PC. You should be running Windows 10 or higher. For more on that, check out how to take screenshots on Windows 10.

Windows XP is No Longer Supported or Secure

Unlike Windows Vista, Windows XP doesn’t have a great screen snipping tool.  That being the case, it’s still possible to take Screen Shots, Screen Capture, or Screen Snip in Windows XP; it’s just not as easy OR sexy.

Using the process below, I’ll demonstrate a few ways to capture virtually any image you see on your screen, whether you want to snip your entire screen or just a single window.  Windows XP is all you need, no additional tools or applications are required (however in the next article I will demonstrate the process from a few of my Favorite Screen Shot/Snipping Tools.  Some free, some not free).

1.   The first step is to know what it is that you want to capture, in this case, let’s capture our Solitaire score.

Take a Screen Shot in Windows XP

Now that you have a picture of something on your screen that you want to save, locate your keyboard button labeled Print Screen (also sometimes called Prnt Scrn.)  Look for this button on the top-right corner of your keyboard.

2.   Press Print Screen and your computer will save an image copy of your entire screen to what is called the Clipboard.

Take a Screen Shot in Windows XP

2.a – If you DON’T want to capture the full screen, select the window you wish to capture and Hold Down the ALT key while simultaneously pressing the Print Screen button.  This action will capture ONLY the selected Window.

*Unless you have a custom program installed, the Clipboard will only hold one copied item at a time.

The next thing to do is to save the image to your hard drive.  The most common and most simple way of doing this is using MSpaint.*  Typically there is a shortcut in your start menu called “Paint” and clicking on it will open the program.  On the other hand, a sure way of doing this is following step #3

3.   Click Start and then click Run.  Once the Run window is open, type mspaint in the open text box.

Take a Screen Shot in Windows XP

*There are many other programs capable of this action, however, they must be purchased and installed separately (Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, etc…). MSpaint is included and installed with Windows for free.

4.   Click Edit in the menu tab, then click Paste

Keyboard TIP: You can also use a keyboard shortcut by pressing holding the Ctrl key and simultaneously pressing the V key on your keyboard to paste the image into MSPaint

Take a Screen Shot in Windows XP

5.   Click the File menu tab, then click Save.

Take a Screen Shot in Windows XP

6.   Select a File Name and File Type, (I highly recommend choosing .jpeg/.jpg for file size purposes)  and Click Save

TIP: In this example, I clicked on the Desktop Icon to save the file to a familiar location on my computer.  You can, however, choose to save the file anywhere you desire.

Take a Screen Shot in Windows XP

All done!




    I am not sure whether the key to be pressed is CTRL or ALT. As far as my knowledge is concerned, ALT is the key to be pressed when we want to capture a window instead of entire screen.

  2. MrGroove

    @XpMacLinux – Thanks for the feedback. I think I must have been on crack when I wrote the article. Thanks for catching that.

    Article has been updated!

  3. TaoPhoenix

    I think I prefer using a Screen Capture program to grab one window and pass it straight to a file so it doesn’t hit the clipboard, and also automatically creates the first half of the file. Then Alt-PrintScreen can grab something else so that you can do a mashup easily.

  4. MrGroove

    @TaoPhoenix – The great thing about Windows is there are MANY MANY different ways to do the same thing :)

    Personally, I couldn’t make it through the day without SNAGIT. Granted, it’s not free but it’s worth a few bucks.

  5. justveil

    thanks a lot! your info really helped me out.

  6. Carl
    I use the Polenta screen shot. Very easy and allows you to select part or the whole screen. Saves it as a j.peg.

    • MrGroove

      @Carl, And it looks like the product is free. Nice Tip.

      How you tried it with Vista? Looks like it’s not been updated for a few years.

  7. Loe Smith


    When I press Prt Scr , it directly goes to the printer & nothing is saved on clip board…my o.s is windows xp…pl. help

    neither does alt + Prt Scr helps.

    • grooveDexter

      @Loe Smith, sounds like you have a 3rd party software installed, most likely one that came with your printer. There is most likely a setting on that software to disable that, another option is to get a screen capture program like Snagit ->

      Also an possibly un-related fact, in older versions of windows they required you to do ctrl+printscreen.

  8. SQB

    Thanks a lot! i was badly needed a screen shot and do not know how to take it! with your (Prnt scrn) tip has really solved my problem.Really thanks.

    • MrGroove


  9. Vijayamanikandan Prabakaran

    Hi Guys,
    Here is one another way to screen print without any tool!!!

    Press ‘windows’ button+s and drag the mouse to copy the needed portion.
    ‘Prntscreen’ captures all the displayed in screen.

    Try this!!!

    • sadaf

      ty for telling an alternative

    • David

      Many thanks, Vijayamanikandan Prabakaran. It worked excellently.

  10. Vijayamanikandan Prabakaran

    Forget to inform,,,
    This requires MS oneNotes

    • MrGroove

      @Vijay – No worries. OneNote is a great app (one of my favorite) and yes, I use it’s screen shot tool ALL THE TIME. Office 2010 actually includes screenshot import with all it’s office apps (word 2010, outlook 2010) and of course onenote 2010.

      Still, great tip on the screenshot side! Thnx!

  11. Matt

    Please do not use JPEG for desktop screenshots. PNG will always provide superior image quality with only a small increase in file size. JPEG is optimized for photographic content and will look grainy or fuzzy with desktop screenshots.

  12. Akshay Chaturvedi


    I badly want to take screenshots…but I am unable to! None of the above is working for me. I have Windows XP. And mine is an HP laptop. The print scrn and insert button is common! Please help !!!

  13. parth

    thank u …. so much
    with the help of ur trick i had found the of taking a screen shot.. and hence i can now take a print of the screen that i want… whether it is a GAME or WEB.PAGE…………thank u

  14. SWATI

    it was really very helpful to me

  15. Kathleen

    All steps are exactly as you map out, but there is not a “paste” but a “paste from” whre do I go from here

    • JB

      Kathleen I have exactly the same thing.
      In the “paste from” option list there is no clip board.

      The “paste” option does not highlight.

  16. akhil

    thanx bro. for getting this site, helping me a lot

  17. Tim

    a handy blog that i shall bookmark

  18. qobees al khalwie

    thank you !!

  19. Mister G

    It Works. Thanks Dear

    • Steve Krause

      Old tip but still a good one!

      • Michael Hazell

        Wish MS would release a Snipping tool for Windows XP via a power toy. I use the same method above, but for taking area shots, I use Promethean ActivInspire.

  20. Melissa White

    Thank you so much!!! You have the best instructions for this process. I have been trying to learn how to do this. Very nice!!

  21. John Bryant


  22. raj

    really useful…thanks

  23. Jane

    Chrome now has web-based browser extension for taking selections as well as windows and entire screen shots and saves them to google drive or diigo, alternatively you are save it locally, save it to clipboard or print it. It also allows you to annotate it. There are many extensions like this. Have fun:

  24. Zahid

    thanks man its easy and simple way thanks again

  25. Kefayatr wazir

    My dear i have old version of windows 2007 xp & using it for the Ms Office purposes because it needed that so when ever i try to capture screen shot of the entire screen e.g Prnt Scrn then Ctrl+v & when I’m trying to saved it into the paint box there nothing saving ?? What is the reason of this problem is there has a snipping toll in the current window someone help please…


  26. jeffcard

    Thank you for the guide, Windows 10 has a free feature to record screen now, but it’s not available on windows XP. For XP user, I’d recommend acethinker screen grabber online, free and easy to use, no need to download and install anything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Top