How to capture an image from a movie in Windows Media Player

Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Windows Media Player logo.

When trying to capture an image or create a screenshot from a video in Microsoft Windows Media Player using the print screen button, the captured image is blank or black image. There are different answers for this question. Depending on the movie that is being played and what codec it's using may change what works and what doesn't 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, a "Save Captured Image" window appears and allows the image to be saved as any 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 (Windows Vista and later)

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

Note

With a dual monitor, using Print Screen captures an image from both monitors. Press Alt+Print Screen to only screenshot the active window.

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's not working properly in your image editor program, try pasting the screenshot into Microsoft Paint.

Older versions of Windows Media Player (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. In the Options window, click the Performance tab.
  4. In 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 are completed in Windows Media Player, start the movie file. When the video gets to the point at which you want to capture a screenshot, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard. You can use Print Screen in window mode or in fullscreen mode, although fullscreen 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's not working properly in your image editor program, try pasting the screenshot 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. For a list of selected screenshot programs, see the following page.

Additional information