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Sometimes you'll want to take a picture of something on your computer. Normally called a screenshot, screenshots are useful for diagnosing problems with your computer, apps, and programs. They're also a handy way of recording something that you saw on your computer that can't be easily replicated anywhere else. In Windows 10, taking a screenshot is relatively straightforward, but if you have a computer with an older operating system, it may take a little more work. The instructions below are for both Windows 10 and older Windows systems.

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Remove Other Distracting Windows

First, you'll need to have the image that you want to take a screenshot of free from other windows and distractions. You will want to close or minimize any other windows that have personal or sensitive data on them not applicable to the screenshot you wish to take. Once you close or minimize those windows, you can take a screenshot without problems.

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Look for the Print Screen Key

You will need to find the Print Screen key on your keyboard. It usually appears as PrtSc, PrntScr, or some other abbreviation. You will normally find it on the upper right-hand side of most keyboards, left of the numeric keypad (if your computer's keyboard has a numeric keypad.) Sometimes the print screen key may include another key function. In this case, it may be shared with another command.

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Locate the Windows Key (Windows 9 and 10)

The Windows Key is key that consists of four white squares in a trapezoid that is made to look like a window in a house. It can be on the right or left side of the keyboard and may either be on the bottom row next to the Control, Function, and Alt keys, or may be on the top near the Esc key.

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Taking the Screenshot (Windows 9 and 10)

When your screen is ready for a screenshot, press the Windows and the Print Screen buttons at the same time. Your computer screen should dim for a moment (some older computers will not do this) signifying that you have taken your screenshot. If you're not sure, you can always press the buttons again. If the Print Screen is on a key with dual functions, you may have to press the function or alt keys as well as the Print Screen key and the Windows key.

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Taking the Screenshot (Older Windows Operating Systems)

Older operating systems will take a screenshot and save the photo to the image buffer. If you have an older operating system, you can take a screenshot or screen capture by pressing the Print Screen button. If the Print Screen button is shared with another function, you may have to press the function or the alt key to take the screenshot.

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Locating Your Screenshot (Windows 9 and 10)

To locate your screenshot, you need to go to the Screenshots folder. To do so, you need to open your File Explorer and navigate to This PC > Pictures > Screenshots. Once you are in the Screenshots folder, you should see at least one screenshot. If you have several screenshots, they'll be labeled Screenshot (1).png, Screenshot (2).png, and so on. You'll want the latest Screenshot file which will have the highest number in it. Your screenshot is now ready for viewing, editing, emailing, etc.

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Retrieving Your Screenshot (Older Windows Operating Systems)

You've taken your screenshot but it is currently in the clipboard and not in a permanent location. To place your screenshot in a file you can save, you can open up Paint and save it there. To open Paint on Windows 8 and older, select Search and type Paint. The search results should provide the Paint app. In XP, you'll select Start > Programs > Accessories > Paint.

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Paste Your Contents in Paint (Older Windows Operating Systems)

You may have to open up a new file in Paint. If so, select New. Once you are in Paint, press the CTRL button and the key V at the same time. Your screenshot should appear in Paint. If nothing appears, minimize the Paint app and take your screenshot again.

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Save Your Screenshot (Older Windows Operating Systems)

Once you have your screenshot in Paint, you need to save it. Save it as either JPG or PNG, which are the most common forms of images. You will need to give it a name and choose a place to save it to. Remember to save it to someplace you can remember (such as My Documents) and give it a useful name so you can identify it.

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What You Can Do With Your Screenshot

At this point, you can edit your screenshot using a photo editor of your choice or you can use it in different applications such as Word. You can email the image to someone for diagnostic help or you can simply keep it as a record of something that you couldn't print out (for whatever reason).

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