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7 ways to fix the Print Screen key not working

The Print Screen (PrtScr) key is one of the fastest ways to take screenshots on Windows. However, if the Print Screen key suddenly stops working, there are a few workarounds you can try.

The Print Screen key may have stopped working due to a hardware problem, i.e., there could be a problem with the keyboard. If that’s the case, you’ll need to replace your keyboard.

However, there are numerous other repairable issues that can cause Print Screen to stop working. Let’s talk about those problems and how you can fix them.

1. Check the F-Lock key

The F-lock key turns on or off the secondary functions of the F1–F12 keys. Keyboards with an F-lock key may also come with an LED indicator to indicate whether F-lock is on or off. If the feature is on, press the F-lock key to turn it off. Check if your Print Screen is working properly.

2. Stop programs from running in the background

Background programs can be the reason why the Print Screen key doesn’t work. Task Manager and see if apps like OneDrive, Snippet Tool, or Dropbox are running in the background.

These are common “culprits”, but other apps can also cause problems. If the problem started occurring after installing any new apps, try stopping them and seeing if that solves the problem.

If you have two or more suspected apps running in the background, stop them one by one to see which is causing the problem. To stop an application, run the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc, right-click the application, and select End task.

Stop programs from running in the background
Stop programs from running in the background

3. Update keyboard driver

If the system installs an incorrect, corrupted, or outdated keyboard driver, this may cause the Print Screen key to stop working. You can fix this by updating the driver.

You can update your keyboard driver from Device Manager.

Step 1: Right-click the Start button and click Device Manager, or press Windows + R, type devmgmt.msc, and press Enter to open Device Manager.

Step 2: Find your keyboard driver, right-click and select Update driver.

Update keyboard driver
Update keyboard driver

On the next screen, you will be asked if you want Windows to automatically search for and install drivers or install them from your computer. If Windows can’t find the driver, try downloading it from the manufacturer’s website before choosing the second option. There are also some other ways to update Windows drivers if this doesn’t work.

Once you have the updated drivers installed, restart the computer to see if the Print Screen key works.

4. Examine OneDrive’s options.

If you use OneDrive on your PC, check if OneDrive is the reason why the Print Screen key is not working. It’s a common problem among users who use Microsoft’s cloud storage service to back up files.

You can do this from OneDrive’s settings. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the taskbar’s bottom right corner and select Settings. Next, navigate to the Backup tab.

In the Screenshots section, you will see a checkbox that says “Automatically save screenshots I capture to OneDrive“. Make sure this box is checked.

Select “Automatically save screenshots I capture to OneDrive”
Select “Automatically save screenshots I capture to OneDrive”

If the box is already checked, uncheck it and then check it again. Now let’s verify if this solves the problem.

  • Repair the virtual keyboard in Windows 10

5. Using the Windows 10 Hardware Troubleshooter

Windows 10 has a built-in hardware troubleshooter. This includes a troubleshooter specific to your keyboard that can help fix Print Screen problems.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Troubleshoot Settings. This will open a new window.

Step 2: In the right pane, click Additional troubleshooters and scroll down to the Keyboard section. Select it and click Run the troubleshooter.

Using Windows 10 Hardware Troubleshooter
Using Windows 10 Hardware Troubleshooter

Follow the prompts in the troubleshooter. When done, see if this fixes the issue with the Print Screen key.

6. Boot “clean” PC

If the first method doesn’t work, you can try a clean boot of your computer. The Clean Boot process will restart Windows as usual, but only allow the necessary drivers to be loaded. This will help you narrow down the cause of the problem.

To clean boot the computer, follow the steps in the following article: How to Perform a Clean Boot on Windows 10/8/7.

7. Modify Registry

You can modify the Registry using the Registry Editor to fix the problem of the Print Screen key not working.

However, making mistakes when modifying the Registry can have a bad effect on your PC, so it’s best to create a system restore point and back up your files before performing this fix.

Modify Registry
Modify Registry

Step 1: To open the Registry Editor, press Windows + R and type regedit. Then, click OK or press Enter.

Step 2: Navitive to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorer.

Step 3: Right-click on the Explorer folder, select New > DWORD, and change the Value name to ScreenShotIndex. Set the Value data of the DWORD to 4 and click OK.

Step 4: Next, navitive to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerUser Shell Folders.

Step 5: Find the string named {B7BEDE81-DF94-4682-A7D8-57A52620B86F} and double click to open it.

Step 6: Make sure that Value data is set to %USERPROFILE%PicturesScreenshots.

If you can’t find this file, create a new String Value just like you would a DWORD and use the values mentioned above in the Value name and Value data fields.

If this doesn’t work, see if it helps to change the Value data field for the DWORD ScreenShotIndex from 4 to 695.

Good luck!

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