Nearly seven years ago, I was using the Windows Technical Preview of Windows 10 on my computer (a long-deceased laptop), having recently “upgraded” from Windows 8.1. I wrote an article about how to take a screenshot of the then fairly new (introduced with Windows 8) lockscreen/login screen combination. That post still generates a surprising number of weekly hits (most surprising in that I am not exactly a tech blogger and most of my followers seem to be family members or people who have stumbled across this site by accident).
I am certainly no longer on the cutting-edge of Windows Insidership but I do keep my system updated with release builds. When I purchased a new computer this past July, I made sure I was buying something that would handle the upcoming Windows 11. I even waited a full day following the new OS’s public release before installing it on 6 October. I have not had any issues with it at all other than having to change my location when I couldn’t get the new widgets panel to display in English (I live in southern Thailand).
A reader just informed me that my Windows 8.1 method of capturing these screenshots no longer works in Windows 10 (as of Build 1909) so I thought to find out if it is still possible to do this. Yes it is and it’s even easier to do than seven years ago!
However, you do have to use a different method for each of the two screens.
I think we are all familiar with various screenshot tools to capture images on our desktops and in our browsers. These utilities provide some level of customization ranging from full screen images to selected Windows, free-form shots, and scrolling to capture a full webpage or document.
Most PC and laptop keyboards also provide a easy to identify hotkey in order to take basic shots of the full screen. In the photo above, the keyboard that came with my Acer AIO includes a key marked Prt Scr while on the logitech keyboard that I use with my tablet I need to use the combination of Fn + Tab to achieve the same result.
Both of these methods use a system request to capture the screen elements in the form of a JPEG image which you can then paste from the Clipboard into an imaging program (such as Paint) or a Word Processor (such as Word). In Windows 11 when using the keyboard hotkey, you can paste from the clipboard using the new icons at the top of the folder screen or at the bottom of the context menu (when right-clicking). The Clipboard paste icon appears in bicolor at the top left of the Paint window (it is greyed-out when nothing is on the clipboard). You can also paste by using the combination Ctrl + V. The hotkey method will save the screenshot to OneDrive automatically if you have set this up previously but this only works for desktop screenshots.
The Windows 11 login consists of two components: the lockscreen and the login window with password/PIN. The Windows lockscreen consists of a wallpaper or a blank screen display with quick status apps and their notifications. The easiest way to capture a lockscreen screenshot is to use the Print Screen hotkey to capture the desktop as described above.
The Windows login screen is a locked display that controls access of the user desktop through various sign-in options. It comes into view after clicking the lockscreen once or swiping up to reveal it. For security reasons, the login screen doesn’t allow you to save screenshots with most tools and shortcut keys. Some restrictions are imposed on grabbing screenshots by a Run command called Winlogon, which can be accessed by searching from the Start menu. It controls user login, logout, loading user profile, lockscreen details and authentication. Many kinds of malware depend on screenshots to steal your passwords and files. As a result, Winlogon has an internal mechanism to block such tools from getting access to your login screen.
The best way to capture a Windows login screenshot is to use the newly renamed Snipping Tool which is preinstalled with Windows 11 (it was called Snip & Sketch in Windows 10). This is accessible from the Start menu by clicking the all All Apps button and scrolling down. As I use this app quite often (needing to take screenshots during my online classes for administrative purposes), I pinned it to the Start menu for quicker access. You can also pin it to your Taskbar if you desire. Alternatively, pressing Win + Shift + S will launch the app.
Open the Snipping Tool and choose a delayed timer. The minimum is 3 seconds and the maximum is 10 seconds.
You can either click on your profile photo in the Start menu or use the shortcut keys Win + L to lock the desktop. The Snipping Tool window automatically comes into view after 10 seconds and grabs the screen. You can choose if you want to capture the full screen or a portion of it. Once you log back into Windows 11, you can then save the screenshot directly from Snipping Tool or paste into your desired program as described above.
As you can see, it is very easy to take screenshots of your Windows 11 lockscreen and login screen. The best part is that there is no need to download any further software or mess around with Command Prompt in order to do it. Everything needed is already built into Windows 11 (and in Windows 10, the same method works, only the name of the app — Snip & Sketch — is different).
One thought on “How to Make a Screenshot of the Windows 11 Login Screen”
Pingback: How To Make A Screenshot of the Lock Screen in Windows 8.1 (and 10!) – Asian Meanderings