Traditionally, the legacy “Print Screen” or PrtScn button on your keyboard has been what you’d use to take a quick, easy snapshot of whatever is on your screen. Now, that feature is changing soon—although you don’t have to let it.
Earlier this month, Microsoft began pushing Build 22624.1546 to the Windows Insider Beta Channel—the channel for changes that will come to your PC sometime in the future. That build changes the behavior of the PrtScn button. Instead of triggering the Print Screen function, it opens the Snipping Tool app instead by default.
To be fair, the Snipping Tool app is quite flexible. It doesn’t offer the one-click functionality of PrtScn, but the tool does offer a full-screen snip capability, just like the legacy shortcut. It also offers the ability to “snip” whatever’s in your current window, the entire screen, or a custom region. Microsoft even plans on adding the ability to record video clips from the Snipping Tool, so you’ll be able to record a small video of how to do something… like a screen snip.
What you may not know is that this functionality is already live in Windows 11, which also allows you to turn it off. If you enter the Windows Settings menu, you should see Accessibility, then Keyboard. There’s a specific option to “Use the Print screen button to open screen snipping.” That’s most likely off by default.
Microsoft says that it will preserve that preference even when the new functionality is pushed to Windows users sometime in the future. We suspect that won’t be the case, but at least you know how to adjust it once it does.
So, is the traditional PrtScn or “Print Screen” function is going away? Probably not. On our test machine (a Microsoft Surface, which generally reflects Microsoft’s changes), the “Print Screen” function still works, although there’s no “flash” to indicate that it does. Simply opening Paint and pasting onto the canvas using CTRL-V, however, works just fine.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Most users, however, don’t like their established patterns and routines changed without their consent. Microsoft is doing just that, but you can undo the changes if you like.