Saturday, March 22, 2008

Can't Take Super Hi-Res Screenshots w/ Print-Screen

Unfortunately, this article isn't so much of a tip or tweak as it is a compromised workaround for an interesting problem.

That problem is that from the looks of it, Windows' own screenshot feature, aka hitting Print-Screen (which saves a screenshot in your clipboard for pasting into the graphics program of your choice, if you didn't already know), seems to have a resolution limit.

In my case, Windows is unable to take a screenshot of my entire desktop when all three of my displays are turned on. In fact, if my main display is active (at 1920x1200 resolution), I am unable to take a screenshot if even just one of my other displays (at 1024x768 and 1280x1024) is also active.

This is annoying for me because taking screenshots is one of the most important parts of running a blog such as GreasyPC, and none of the other screenshot taking programs I've found and tried so far have been able to handle this many displays and other features of my desktop either (like party transparent windows), which Window Print Screen has been able to handle fine.

First of all, are other people finding this limitation in your own experiences? I don't have the patience to do a controlled study of where the break in the chain actually occurs, if it's Windows or my video card(s), or something else, and I've found surprisingly little literature online about this problem. I guess there aren't too many people with multiple high resolution displays that need to take screenshots of them.

Anyway, my workaround so far has been to use a display profile that deactivates the other two monitors and keeps only my main display active. By doing this I am able to take a screenshot of the application I wish to feature on the site. When I'm finished, I then use another display profile that brings my display settings back to its original state.

Your video card's software should have something that handles display profiles, or in my case, I use Ultramon (I've been meaning to do an Ultramon feature for a while, but it will have to wait). This feature is also useful when playing video-card intensive games, as they not only lighten the load on your video card by not having to keep the other display rendered while playing, but also to keep your own immersive focus on the game itself.

Does anyone have any better ideas?

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Mark T said...

Did you find out a solution for this problem?
I have a similar issue. I can do screen dumps OK at 3072x3072 but it fails at 3584x3584.
Can set video card to 3584x3584 and screen dump the active window at smaller sizes. But when window gets close to desktop size it fails.
Don't know where the problem lies - video card, video ram, print screen function, clipboard etc

Mark T said...

Did you find a resolution (sorry for the pun) for this problem?
I have a similar problem. If I set a desktop size of 3072x3072 print screen works fine, but if I set it to 3584x3584 it fails.
Alternatively if I set the desktop to 3584x3584 and then capture the active window then it works for smaller windows but once the window size approaches the desktop size it fails.
Not sure where the problem lies - video card, video ram, print screen function, clipboard etc