Use the Prt Scr key to copy only the active window

As you work on your PC, you might occasionally get an unexpected error message popping up on the screen. In these instances, you probably want to capture the message so you can email it to an IT resource for help in resolving it.

Rather than using the Snipping Tool, the quickest way to capture the error message is a keyboard shortcut: Alt+Prt Scr. This copies the active window (the error message in this case) to the clipboard. You can then paste the error message into an email.

When you press Alt+Prt Scr there is no indication that anything has happened so it can be a bit confusing but if you switch to an email or document and Paste, you’ll see the window you copied.

The location of the Prt Scr key varies a bit from one keyboard to another but it’s usually somewhere to the right of the F12 key.

Press Prt Scr by itself and it copies everything on your monitor(s) to the clipboard.