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Want to take a screen grab from your Windows Phone? It’s pretty simple and straightforward, but getting the captured image off your phone and onto your computer can be a little tricky.

Screenshots and Windows Phone

When Windows Phone 7 was released in 2010, it was sent into the world without the ability to take screenshots natively.

It seems hard to believe. Although there was a way around this limitation for early devices (requiring users to sideload a homebrew app that captured the screenshots with a timer), the vulnerability that enabled this was closed with an early update to Windows Phone 7.


Users had to wait until Windows Phone 8 Windows Phone 8: The Complete Review Windows Phone 8: The Complete Review Question: how do you improve on perfection? Answer: you wait for someone else to have a go. A quick look around the smartphone market reveals that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are top... Read More came along before a native screen capture tool was included in the platform. You’ve no doubt seen the results of this featured here on MakeUseOf in the various Windows 8 tutorials and reviews that have been featured over the past few months.

If you’ve been trying to figure out how to do this yourself, you’ll be relieved to know that it is pretty simple. Having said that, syncing the screen captures is a little longwinded and clunky.


How To Capture Screenshots On Windows Phone 8

As with iPhone and Android, capturing a screenshot on Windows Phone 8 is quite simple, requiring just two fingers: one to press a hardware button on the side of the phone and the other to tap a capacitive button on the front.

First, browse or navigate to the screen you wish to capture. This might be a game, app, or menu.

Next, identify your power button. This should be on the right-hand side of the phone, but its exact position will differ depending on your device.


Press and hold the power button and quickly tap the Start button; thee screen should flash, confirming that the capture has been successful.

If you’re taking multiple grabs, make sure you leave a moment between them, otherwise you’ll end up capturing notifications that the screenshot has been saved, which can be distracting.

Viewing & Syncing Screenshots from Windows Phone 8

With your screenshot created, you’ll probably want to check the results. Do this by opening Photos > albums > Screenshots, where your recent screengrabs are listed.

(Take the time to delete any you don’t need as there is no quick way of scrolling or re-sorting this list of images – if you’re a regular screencapper, you’ll find you get a tired thumb from browsing this list.)

Perhaps the best way to review your captures is after they’ve been synced to your PC. Unfortunately they’re not automatically uploaded to OneDrive, so you’ll need to connect your phone to your computer and run the Windows Phone sync app for your particular platform. Versions for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS X are available.


Once a sync relationship is set up, your screencaps will be synced to your PC. The default location on Windows computers is within the Pictures folder, where you should find a directory labelled the same as your Windows Phone; open this to find the Screenshots folder.

If you don’t have a relationship set up with a computer, you can manually upload screenshots from your phone to OneDrive. Open the Screenshots folder on your phone, tap the Select button and then any images you want to upload. With your choice made, open the menu and tap save to SkyDrive (Windows Phone 8 has yet to rename links to its cloud drive!). There is also a Share button that you can use to send via email, NFC How To Program NFC Tags & Automate Windows Phone 8 How To Program NFC Tags & Automate Windows Phone 8 There’s a black sticker on my desk, which is remarkably useful. Thanks to the magic of NFC, it enables me to activate my Nokia Lumia 920’s wireless networking with a single touch. NFC, or near... Read More and social networks.

Are There Any Third Party Apps For Windows Phone 8 Screenshots?

While it’s easy enough to take a screenshot from your Windows Phone 8 device as described above, there may be times when this doesn’t suit your needs, or enable you to take the exact screenshot you need.


Sadly, at this stage, there are no reliable third party apps that assist with making screen captures on Windows Phone.

Easy To Screencap – Shame About The Sync

With a Windows Phone screenshot saved to your computer, you’ll then be able to edit it or share it with friends and colleagues.

While the process of capturing is simple, relying on the PC sync system is a disappointing way to transfer screengrabs in bulk. Hopefully with Windows Phone 8.1 this will be revised, enabling automatic upload to OneDrive.

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  1. DT
    April 15, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I like the "screenshot" folder to sync to onedrive similar to how "camera roll" folder sync to onedrive or how "saved images" sync to onedrive

    What settings we I need to change?

  2. nohorse
    March 22, 2014 at 1:35 am

    you don't need a PC to move screen shots on Windows Phone 8. Two methods I can think of off the top of my head: 1) When looking at the picture pull up the menu and select Share, then OneNote and It will go into quick notes. 2) Open OneDrive and pick a folder, then tap the plus (add) and then pic the screenshot. Zip-Zip!