How to Take a Windows RT 8.1 Screenshot

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This article was last updated on May 20, 2022

How to Take a Windows RT 8.1 Screenshot
It should be easy but the feature in Windows 8.1 is difficult for many including people with disabilities

By Stephen Pate – The standard Shift-PrtScn command for taking a screenshot got changed in Windows 8.1.

On a Surface 2, the new procedure is difficult for anyone let alone someone with a manual disability.

The new keystroke sequence is to hold the Windows key on the tablet until you feel a vibration and then quickly press the volume down button on the side.    It’s a quick three-step movement that needs to be practiced to get right.

If you have a Microsoft keyboard there is no keystroke combination that will take a screenshot.

Why is that so hard? The Win-key and volume down must be pressed at exactly the right time, almost like a drum beat.  Wait too long to touch the volume and nothing happens. Touch the volume too quickly and nothing happens.

Get it wrong and the Screen Narrator turns on which is an annoyance. Sometimes nothing happens.

While this method is ideal for people who want to avoid the hassle of typing on your keyboard, the only disadvantage associated to this technique is that it is a daunting task to synchronize the pressing two buttons to happen at the same time EzineArticles.

A user on the Microsoft Community forum said he practiced for a month to get the keystroke sequence right.  “It takes practice to get the timing right for the screenshot.  Each tablet is a little different.”

Another user wrote: If you press and hold down the Windows Logo on the faceplate and do not receive a vibration from it, that may indicate a hardware issue.  If you do get a vibration from it then it is a timing issue of using that button and the Volume Down.  It took me 30 days to get it to work.

On mine, I hold down the Windows Logo and just when I feel the vibration, I ‘click’ the Volume Down like you would a camera shutter button and it takes a screenshot perfectly.  It all boiled down to timing and each tablet is different.

When you get it right, the screen flashes, telling you a screenshot has been saved in the Pictures/Screenshot folder.  Practice makes perfect.

On my Surface 2, a successful capture still has to be pasted into a photo program like Paint.

For Desktop applications you can take screenshots with the Snipping Tool; however, it does not work for any Windows 8.1 Modern apps or system screens.

Microsoft Accessibility Fail

The procedure is wrong for anyone with a manual dexterity disability.  Microsoft must be giving the Americans with Disabilities Act a blind eye, if I can use the pun.

I sent the issue to the Disability Answer Desk at Microsoft and got this reply:

I wish we can create a quick work around for that, however, the Functionality of Surface Pro is by design, and what we can do for now is just to provide feedback about the product so Microsoft Surface Pro 2 developers will see it and would hopefully provide update for it.

Here is the accessibility feedback link

If you are having an accessibility issue with Microsoft products you can report it at Accessibility Feedback

The Surface 2 has plenty of great features but it’s little things like this that drive people crazy and keep word of mouth from going positive.

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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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