How to Capture Screenshots from Windows Media Player

Grabing a screenshot from Window Media Player is not so easy as it seems. Yesterday I tried to use the extremely useful screen capture by ‘Print Screen Key’ to try to capture a wmv running file on my Windows media player classic V10. But whenever I tried to use the print screen, a blank image was captured from the windows media player.

Windows Media Player Screenshots

Then I thought maybe the running video was posing a problem with capturing a frame. So I paused the movie and tried the print screen technique. But still got a blank screen.

Then I tried to capture paused and running movies in full screen (Full screen shortcut – using Alt+Enter). But again no luck.

So I decided to tweak some advanced options of Window media player. After lot of different combinations of tweaks, still had no luck.

Looking to buy a professional multimedia software to do the job? There are several shareware and paid professional image capture software available which can do the job. But why should I pay when I should try to get a freeware or get a tweak to fix it myself. I tried to see how professional paid software’s for this worked, but I was disappointed the moment I captured the screenshot. It had a big logo on every image it captured. Of course it was shareware and you needed to pay to remove the text messages.

Free simple way to capture Images from Windows Media Player

  • Open Window Media Player
  • Then go to Tools | Options
  • In Options, select the Performance Tab
  • Way below you click on the Advanced Button
  • Uncheck “Use Overlays’
  • Click Ok
  • And you are ready.

video acceleration settings

Now run your movie in any size or screen resolution. Use the standard ‘Print Screen Key’ Method as described and you have captured a snapshot from your favourite movie on windows media player without using any special multimedia software. Enjoy!

More Ways to Capture Screenshots from WMP

Some users have given excellent suggestions in the Comments below which provide an alternate method if this does not work.

  • Instead of the Print Screen Method – try pressing “CTRL+I”. This pops up a save as window after capturing the screenshot
  • After you open Window Media Player. Go to Tools | Options | Performance Tab. You will see a picture similar to the first image above. Reduce the “Video acceleration” from the default Full to None, click ok and then close down media player. Next open the file you want to take a still using the Print Screen method – from press ALT and the PrintScrn key to copy an image of media player to the clipboard.

279 comments on “How to Capture Screenshots from Windows Media Player

  1. Lex says:

    It’s people like you that help make the Internet great! I knew someone would have a an answer on how to do this for FREE!

  2. Anonymous says:

    An easier way: In WMP, at least since version 9, you can use Ctrl-I to capture a frame, either when playing or when paused for greater accuracy. It brings up a Save Captured Image dialog which handily defaults to a jpeg.

  3. Arthur says:

    Well, since this doesn’t work for BSplayer, RealOne player, winamp and other players, i made another thing to do (Windows 2000 and Windows XP ONLY!!)

    1. Click Windows Start > Settings > Control Panel, the Control Panel displays.

    2. Double-click Display, the Display Properties dialog box displays.

    3. Click the Settings tab.

    4. Click the Advanced button, the Advanced Settings dialog box displays.

    5. Click the Troubleshoot tab.

    6. Click and drag the Hardware Acceleration slider to the left, changing the setting from Full to None. This disables all accelerations.

    7.Click the Apply button to apply the settings to your desktop.

    8. Click the OK button to save your changes and close the Advanced Settings dialog box.

    9. Click the OK button to close the Display Properties dialog box.

    Et voila! Tu n’as pas de PrtScr anymore!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Disabling overlays will result in poor playback performance on some machines. Not a good long term solution.

    If you need to get a full screen shot of everything on the screen, video included, then yeah, disable the overlay and hit the print screen button.

    But if you just need a shot of the video, use CTRL-I. Or use another player like VLC or BSPlayer, which can do this too.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I always thought it was something on the hardware level that caused the blank screen to show up. Now I know!

  6. korfobos says:

    can somebody tell me please if is possible to take capture images from a ram or rm file using Real Player? Thank you!!!

  7. peabody says:

    ctrl-I does a fine job. i think setting your hardware acceleration to none also works for the print screen method as well. i don’t recomend keeping those setting tho–

  8. Anonymous says:

    OMG!!! Thank you so much! I’d been fiddling around with my media player for months trying to figure out what was wrong with it. I’m so happy I found your site on google.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please help me? I tried disabling video acceleration, overlays, and I tried using ctrl-i, and nothing seems to work. The first two, in conjunction with print screen, just result in the same problem, and ctrl-i does nothing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    NOW using camtasia capture and yahoo music we may capture dvd music clips hehe, and burn our oun dvds.
    100 BIG THANKS

  11. Sueme82 says:

    I Can’t Belive it was that easy, Thanx alot for the tip.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It actual does work in winamp.
    Just go into the preferences, then video, and at the bottom it has the overlay option I turned it off and it worked.

  13. Anonymous says:

    thanks 4 this one i’ve been tryin for ages to capture screens from media player

  14. Anonymous says:

    actually, my friend was in a job interview with ATI and the guy asked him why it appears blank and why. My friend drew a blank. The reason as explained by the interviewer is something due to the video card rendering the video directly , but your windows desktop is in 2d mode and that is done seprately, so when you do screen captures, you only get the 2d content. The reason why disabling hardware acceleration works is becasue you are now forcing the computer to render everything in software, the 2d content along with the rendered video.

  15. Sary says:

    ohmygod I love you.

    No, no, really, I do.

    This is a fabulous thing, who knew you could tweak with WMP and be able to print screen things? I Should sell your idea; do you mind? lol

  16. Jason says:

    Thanks so much for the tip. Really appreciate your efforts. It works great to save the image to the clipboard, but once I paste it into photoshop it seems that the image and the player are two separate images. If I try to crop the player out, it results in some strange clipping and if I try to save the image as a .jpg it comes up black. If I try to just capture the video image in paint without hte player border using the select function it doesn’t keep the frame of video in the highlighted space. Any ideas?

  17. Jasmine says:

    I tried both ways :
    1) unchecking “use overlay”–
    still get blank screen

    2)pressing Ctrl+I but it does not bring up a Save Captured Image dialog

    I am using Window 98 and WMP is version 9.

    Could someone assist me?

  18. Bob says:

    That was truly a great tip. Capturing screen shots in WMP has eluded me over the years but now I know how to do it. Thanks for sharing. :)

    I use WMP 10 with WinXP. The Ctrl-I didn’t do anything though.

    Jasmine, I’m not sure what’s wrong there. Could it be a Win98 issue?

  19. Anonymous says:

    It saves to clipboard but once media player is closed the video image goes away and I am left with a black screen with a WMP border. Am I missing something here? Have WMP 10. Thx 4 any help.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much, I tried to download a few shareware titles but had no luck.

    Now I can screen cap to my hearts content :)

  21. Nighthawk says:

    Thanks for the information! It works just great for videos I have on my hard drive, i.e., short interview clips that I’ve downloaded, but when I try to get a screen capture from a DVD playing in my player and import it into Paint, the top half of the image is black, and the bottom half of the image is the half of the image I was trying to capture. Any hints?

  22. Anonymous says:

    There is a much easier solution by just pausing the movie and pressing ctrl-i, which will save a screenshot of the movie. I tried it on WMP10 and it works fine.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Awesome Info, Thanks!!

    I too attempted the Ctrl-I option and nothing happens. I have v10 w/XP. Is tehre a setting for this?

    However, turning off the Overlay worked great and I use HyperSnap DX (Best screen capture software out there).

  24. Nighthawk says:

    Ahhh, I can now take a screen shot! The problem now is, when I try to crop it in Paint (i.e., to crop out the Windows Media Player), whatever I try to crop gets a black bar across half of the picture, and only the top half of the picture comes out at the bottom.

    Eh, perhaps I need to consult a Paint expert. Thanks again for the great information!

  25. Alex Ngo says:

    i love it it is the best thing ever you totaly rock i am loving it. your the best. it took me 5 years to figuire this out. your are the bomb. love ya lov ya. woot. this is the best thing thats hapened in my life love ya

  26. Anonymous says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!! in the past ive found that SOMETIMES WMP will let me screencap, and if that doesn’t work (which is most of the time) then sometimes winamp will let me screencap. Sometimes neither work though.. also, winamp doesn’t really play DVDs, so when I need to screencap a DVD i’m screwed! Anyway, bless your heart for posting this info, can’t tell ye how much I appreciate it! Makes all those money-grubbing screencap programs seem a bit silly, huh? :D

  27. Anonymous says:

    On Windows 2000 with Media Player 9, neither the CTRL-I or unchecking overlay methods works.

    I’m still bummin.


  28. Anonymous says:

    “Can someone please help me? I tried disabling video acceleration, overlays, and I tried using ctrl-i, and nothing seems to work. The first two, in conjunction with print screen, just result in the same problem, and ctrl-i does nothing.”

    I have this same problem, maybe the author can figure it out.

  29. Anonymous says:

    woo hoo!

    lots of cool desktop wallpapers to be created now…. mwaahhhhhhh

  30. Michelle says:

    Thanks sooo much! I was looking for this trick forever and finally I found it on your page! Thanks SO much!

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