Windows 8 Consumer Preview has some hidden tricks

Microsoft's release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview generated over 1 million downloads after just one day. Some people are already using this new version of Windows 8 and discovering some interesting tricks and some hidden features. ZDNet.com has posted up some of the more interesting features that have been uncovered.

One of these new features is one that many people will welcome. Windows 8 Consumer Preview allows people to take a screenshot with just one step, for the first time in any edition of Windows. In older versions of Windows, users could take a screenshot by hitting the PrtScr, which then saves it to the Clipboard. However, in order to view and save that screenshot you had to have some kind of image view program.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview does away with that extra step. To take a screenshot of your desktop in Windows 8, all you have to do is hit the PrtScr key and the Windows key at the same time. By doing this, Windows saves the screenshot as a PNG file to the Pictures folder where it is labled simply as Screenshot, with a sequential number.

Another trick is accessing Windows 8's new backup file tool, which is now called File History (known in older versions of Windows as Previous Versions). If you have an external hard drive or even a USB flash drive you can back up your files by pressing the Windows key and the W key at the same time and then type File History to access the feature.

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I used Picpick to capture screenshots in Metro apps...didn't know you can use win key + Printscreen for quick capture

thanks for the info

all these features people are discovering have been missing from windows for a while. I assumed anti-trust laws prevented microsoft from building these features into windows. Was I wrong?

"with windows 8, we have made things far, far better. Starting today, you can now snip something that saves automatically to a folder" *crowd goes wild*

-- i really hope that this isnt the only thing i like different about w8

They should've linked that Win+PrtScn to an actual picture editor instead of automatically saving into the Pictures folder. That way, you can crop and edit as necessary BEFORE saving.

KevinN206 said,
They should've linked that Win+PrtScn to an actual picture editor instead of automatically saving into the Pictures folder. That way, you can crop and edit as necessary BEFORE saving.

Which is what the Snipping Tool does

KevinN206 said,
They should've linked that Win+PrtScn to an actual picture editor instead of automatically saving into the Pictures folder. That way, you can crop and edit as necessary BEFORE saving.

true

Then open your picture editor and do it the same way you have been doing it for ages. This is good the way it is now for quick screenies. Want something more complex? Do it the way that gives you total control.

I'm hoping that perhaps they'll alter this by the time the RTM rolls in so that it a) saves to the Desktop directly which would be a better location - some folks put hundreds if not thousands of images in their Pictures folder, and even if you were looking for "S" images (hence, Screenshot) then the Desktop is still a more logical choice to drop the screenshot, and b) perhaps name it with the date and time and not just a sequential number, aka Screenshot_03022012_1557 for March 2, 2012 at 3:57P or whatever.

Yes we know OSX has been doing this for years, and at least Microsoft is finally understanding that some things are actually "OK" to put into Windows, even if practically a decade late.

Just sayin'...

Thank you Neowin! I'm actually loving this feature now, been using PrtSc + Paste for a while now when taking screenshots of the Metro apps. This just got better!

th3r3turn said,
wouldn't saying win+PrtScr key be a better way of saying it.

No. The Windows key on keyboards isn't labelled "win".

th3r3turn said,
wouldn't saying win+PrtScr key be a better way of saying it.

Additionally, the article is silly in using PrtScr, as many keyboards don't use this abbreviation and sometimes is fully PrintScreen

Callum said,

No. The Windows key on keyboards isn't labelled "win".

It's not labelled windows key either.

It's just a windows icon, no labels involved.

Dermot said,

It's not labelled windows key either.

It's just a windows icon, no labels involved.


Exactly. That's why people call it "the Windows key." That phrase does not imply that the key is labelled anything; it just makes sense to call it the Windows key because it's a key that displays the Windows logo. The phrase "press win+PrtScr on the keyboard" (or similar phrases) implies there is a key labelled "win".

thenetavenger said,

Additionally, the article is silly in using PrtScr, as many keyboards don't use this abbreviation and sometimes is fully PrintScreen

Mine says "Prt Sc", it's a small button and print screen is its second function.

Callum said,

Exactly. That's why people call it "the Windows key." That phrase does not imply that the key is labelled anything; it just makes sense to call it the Windows key because it's a key that displays the Windows logo. The phrase "press win+PrtScr on the keyboard" (or similar phrases) implies there is a key labelled "win".

Actually I think it is called "super key" for all platforms...

htcz said,

Actually I think it is called "super key" for all platforms...

It's not. They Super key has a different history and has as much to do with the Windows key, as does the Command key have to do with the Windows key…

Just a small one (doesn't change the overall message) - indeed in previous versions of Windows you had to press the PrtSrc button then open an imaging app to paste it in, but Vista and 7 did make it far easier with the specific app for taking screenshots included called "Snipping Tool". This app did simplify things a fair bit (click window, click Save button, type filename, click Save).

Granted, adding this factoid may have made the sentence unwieldy (especially as the real point of it was to state that screenshots can be done with two buttons now) but just wanted to clear that up nonetheless.

testman said,
Just a small one (doesn't change the overall message) - indeed in previous versions of Windows you had to press the PrtSrc button then open an imaging app to paste it in, but Vista and 7 did make it far easier with the specific app for taking screenshots included called "Snipping Tool". This app did simplify things a fair bit (click window, click Save button, type filename, click Save).

Granted, adding this factoid may have made the sentence unwieldy (especially as the real point of it was to state that screenshots can be done with two buttons now) but just wanted to clear that up nonetheless.

Additionally, OneNote has a screen grab feature for Office users.

Over the years there have been 100s of free and simple utilities that provide everything from an automatic save of the screen as this new shortcut does, to even a simple dialog box popup that allows the image to be saved or printed easily.

thenetavenger said,

Additionally, OneNote has a screen grab feature for Office users.

WIN + S, but actually that functionality is in all Office (2010) programs, OneNote is just the only one that adds a global keyboard shortcut…