Microsoft is having fun with the PrtScr key for the first time in decades

Now that Microsoft has put this whole “aCropalypse” privacy issue in the backsight, the software maker is ready to put the Snipping Tool feature in front of more Windows 11 users.

One place that goes is with the Print Screen (PrtScr) key, a function that has remained essentially the same over years of Microsoft upgrades and improvements to other features.

Microsoft scrambles to fix privacy-damaging Windows 11 ‘aCropalypse’ bug


Microsoft rolled out build 22624.1546 to the Insider beta channel this month, which includes the plan to change what happens when the PrtScr key is pressed. Rather than just taking a picture of what’s on the screen and storing it in the Clipboard, OneDrive, or third-party apps like Dropbox, it will open Snipping Tool by default.

Users will still have the option with Snipping Tool to make a screenshot of the entire screen, but that means an extra step. And if users really don’t like the change, they can turn off the default setting by going to Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard.

If they have already changed this setting, the preference will be retained, according to Microsoft.

For most, it seems the change is met with a shrug. A user on Reddit noted that Snipping Tool was already an option in Windows 11 under the Accessibility Settings menu. “All they’re changing here is that it will be on by default instead of off.”

Another pointed to a shortcut, writing that Win + Shift + S will do, allowing users to “grab the whole screen or a snippet, annotate as needed, then copy or save as.”

“Half of me wants to complain about ‘things changing’ and ‘back in my day’, but the other half is relieved to finally be able to hit a button that’s been on my keyboard for decades without ever being pressed” , wrote a technician. .

They also listed third-party apps for Windows, such as the open-source tools Greenshot and ShareX, as options.

“I’ve linked Greenshot to PrintScr for ages at this point,” one user wrote. “It’s way better than the screenshot tool – you get a magnifying glass that you can move around using the arrow keys for pixel-perfect screenshots.”

Another wrote that they were surprised Microsoft hadn’t already bought Greenshot and “renamed it Clippy Grabber or something.”

Some noted the changing modern user environment and that Print Screen needed to catch up. For one, people are increasingly using two or more monitors at their desks. Hitting PrtScr will capture all screens. Instead, they must hold ALT + Print Screen to copy only what’s on the active screen.

Also, as one user pointed out, screen sizes are getting bigger. Choosing the default Snipping Tool “makes sense, screen sizes get huge. Back in the 640×480 days, grabbing the whole screen made sense,” they said.

Going through the comments on Reddit, there was only one really harsh “no”.

“Remember when just a few weeks ago Snipping Tool was caught not properly deleting data from cut and censored screenshots?” they asked, before colorfully explaining that they remembered and didn’t want the default Snipping Tool.

This issue was the root of the aCropalypse privacy grunt. Users cropped portions of screenshots, photos, and other images — and some of those portions might contain sensitive information or images — using the Snipping Tool. However, it was discovered last month that after using the app, the cropped images file still included the cropped parts, which could be retrieved and viewed.

Similar issues have been seen with the Snip & Sketch crop tool in Windows 10 and with Google’s Markup image editing app for Pixel smartphones.

Microsoft within days rolled out fixes for Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch, but for some users – as seen above – the damage was done.

Despite these protests, unless something goes wrong, Snipping Tool will become the default. Changes made to the Insider beta channel almost always end up in features in the operating system. ®

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