Microsoft is changing the function of the Print Screen key in Windows 11

Print Screen

Microsoft is not shy about introducing controversial changes to its software, even if feedback forces it to reverse course further down the line. Windows 11 has seen a huge number of modifications, not all of which have proved popular, and a proposed change to the functionality of a key in Windows 11 is likely to be a divisive move.

The key in question the Print Screen (or Prt Scr and numerous other variations) which currently takes a screenshot and copies it to the clipboard. But in the latest builds of Windows 11, pressing the key does something different by default.

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The change is not sea change for the Print Screen key as the new default functionality is still related to taking screenshots. It is being introduced in the same preview versions of Windows 11 that sees Microsoft making a questionable change to the long-standing Alt-Tab keyboard shortcut, but the good news with the Print Screen change is that users will be able to revert back to the behavior they are more familiar with if desired.

In the changelog for Windows 11 Insider Preview builds 22621.1546 and 22624.1546 Microsoft explains:

Pressing the print screen key will now open Snipping Tool by default. This setting can be turned off via Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard. If you have previously modified this setting yourself, your preference will be preserved.

While this is unlikely to be too controversial a change, it is still one that will annoy a number of users. It is also something of a strange decision; not only does it change the role of a key that has served a very specific function for -- literally -- decades, it also pushes one of Microsoft's own tools at people.

This is the kind of behavior from Microsoft that has a tendency to rub people up the wrong way, but as it is only being tested in Insider builds at the moment, it is possible that user feedback will lead to a change of heart.

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