How do I capture an image from a movie in Microsoft Windows Media Player?

Windows Media PlayerWhen trying to capture an image or create a screen shot from a video in Microsoft Windows Media Player using the print screen button, the captured image will be a blank or black image. There are different answers that can apply to this question. Depending on the movie that is being played and what codec it is using may change what will work and what will not work. We suggest going through each of the below recommendations. If a solution does not work, continue down the list.

First solution

While in Microsoft Windows Media Player, press "CTRL + I". If the video you are watching is a Microsoft supported movie file, you should receive a "Save Captured Image" window, allowing you to save the image as "capture" or any other name. If you need a bigger image or higher quality image try one of the other solutions.

Note: If you don't see the "Save Captured Image" window, then your video is not a Microsoft supported movie file and this solution will not work for you.

Second solution

Newer versions of Windows Media Player (for Windows Vista and later)

Start the movie file in Windows Media Player and when the video gets to the point where you want to capture a screenshot of it, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard. You can use Print Screen in window mode or in full screen mode, although full screen mode may not have the best resolution.

Note: If you have a dual monitor setup on your computer, using Print Screen will capture an image from both monitors and not just the monitor where the video is being played on.

Once you've pressed print screen, the captured image should be sent to the clipboard and allow you to paste that image into another program. If it is not working properly in your image editor program, try pasting the screen shot into Microsoft Paint.

Older versions of Windows Media Player (for Windows XP and prior)

Note: This solution should only be used to capture images from any video; once done, it should be changed back as it may cause other issues. However, this should work with all video files.

  1. Open Microsoft Windows Media Player.
  2. In the menu bar, click Tools and then Options.
  3. Within the Options window click the Performance tab.
  4. Within Performance click the Advanced button.
  5. In Video Acceleration Settings uncheck "Use Overlays"
  6. Click Ok.
  7. Finally, click Apply, say Yes if prompted, and then Ok in the Options window.

Once the above steps have been completed in Windows Media Player, start the movie file and when the video gets to the point where you want to capture a screenshot of it, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard. You can use Print Screen in window mode or in full screen mode, although full screen mode may not have the best resolution.

Once you've pressed print screen, the captured image should be sent to the clipboard and allow you to paste that image into another program. If it is not working properly in your image editor program, try pasting the screen shot into Microsoft Paint.

Finally, after you have captured the screenshot, repeat the same above steps to re-enable the "Use Overlays" feature.

Final solution

Use a third-party screen capturing program. A listing of screen shot programs can be found on our screen shot dictionary definition page.

Additional information