Windows 10 and 11 offer numerous tools and shortcuts for taking screenshots without installing third-party software. One of those tools is the good-old PrintScreen button. The button does not require additional apps and works “out-of-box” on any old and new Windows version. Still, some users might incorrectly assume the PrintScreen button is not working. This article will tell you more about the PrintScreen button and what to do if you think it no longer works.
Is the PrintScreen Button Not Working?
People often assume the PrintScreen button is not working in Windows because they do not understand how it works. By default, Windows 10 and Windows 11 (this also applies to Windows 7 and older versions) do not show notifications or any visual clues about taking a screenshot with the PrintScreen button. The operating system takes a screengrab “silently” and places it into the clipboard. After that, you can paste the screenshot into Paint or any other app with image pasting support.
In other words, you might not know that the PrintScreen button is working.
Tip. You can use a free app called Files to improve how the PrintScreen button works in Windows 10 and 11. It is a powerful file manager that automatically creates a PNG file when you paste it after pressing the PrintScreen button.
Another thing worth mentioning is third-party software for “optimizing” and “speeding up” Windows. Some such apps can clean up clipboard to make the system feel faster (it won’t make your PC faster). If you use a Windows optimizer, try disabling it while troubleshooting the PrintScreen button.
How to Fix the Windows PrintScreen Button not Working?
There are several options you can try to find out whether the PrintScreen button is not working.
To begin, try pressing Win + PrintScreen. If the button is working, Windows 10 or Windows 11 will flash the screen for a second, then save a screenshot in the Pictures > Screenshots folder. If you can find a screenshot in that folder, the PrintScreen button works as it should.
Also, you can try the Alt + PrintScreen shortcut, which works the same as the PrintScreen button. After pressing the shortcut, launch MS Paint or another image editor and hit Ctrl + V to paste your screenshot.
If those keyboard shortcuts did not work, check your keyboard. Some keyboards and laptops combine the PrintScreen key with other commands, which means you need to press the Fn and PrintScreen buttons. If you have a dedicated app for managing your keyboard, check its settings. You might need to enable or disable the Fn mode to fix the PrintScreen button not working in Windows 10 or Windows 11.
Also, a missing chipset driver or keyboard software might cause the issue, although that primarily applies to laptops with built-in keyboards.
Some users may encounter another weird situation: the PrintScreen button saves a black screen instead of a proper screenshot. That often happens when someone is trying to take a screenshot of a streaming app. Video streaming services have sophisticated anti-piracy mechanisms that can detect when the user takes a screenshot, or some software attempts to pirate a video by creating numerous screenshots per second.
Another thing you may want to try to fix a broken PrintScreen button is connecting your keyboard to another computer. Alternatively, try another keyboard with your PC. Remap the PrintScreen key to another if you detect that it no longer works.
Finally, you can simply ditch the PrintScreen button and switch to other methods of taking screenshots in Windows 10 or 11. For example, you can utilize the default Snipping Tool and the Win + Shift + S shortcut. Also, there are dozens of free third-party tools for taking screenshots, and ShareX is the one we use for screenshots in guides like this.