Remove Snipping Tool as default Windows Screenshot Tool

Closeup photo of a Windows key on a black keyboard. Credit:

The built-in Windows Snipping Tool isn't a bad utility. On the contrary, when you're using an unfamiliar system, knowing that a tool like that is there by default is great. The problem comes when you are using something else on your main system, and you want to re-map the default Snipping Tool shortcuts.

Both Win + Shift+S and the Print Screen key will trigger the snipping tool capture by default, but Windows seems to be extremely obnoxious about letting you use these keys for another purpose.

A good question is: why don't you just use a different key or shortcut? Yes, this is fair... but it's partly down to years of muscle memory reinforcing these shortcuts, and also: something making a process difficult for no good reason makes you want to do it more.

Uninstall Snipping Tool

Windows, weirdly, does allow you to uninstall Snipping Tool. Just go into Programs & Features / Installed apps, find Snipping Tool, and choose uninstall.

screenshot showing the Windows 'Installed apps' pane with a prompt for uninstalling Snipping Tool.

Once you've done this, however, the crosshairs still show up when you use the Win + Shift+S and the Print Screen shortcuts.

Disable Snipping Tool 'Print Screen' Shortcut

To remove the Print Screen <> Snipping Tool link, hit the Windows key and search for print screen. Choose the option that will take you into System Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard, then uncheck  'Use the Print screen key to open Snipping Tool'.

Screenshot showing the windows start menu/search functionality. Search term: 'print screen'. Result: option to take you to the system settings to toggle the 'Use the Print screen key to open Snipping Tool' option.
screenshot showing the option 'Use the Print screen key to open Snipping Tool' toggle

Disable Win + Shift + S Shortcut

Finally, disabling the other Snipping Tool shortcut will prevent the pointless crosshairs from triggering if we use that old shortcut by mistake.

It's a shame we can't remap this shortcut to our preferred shortcut capturing application, but we'll disable it out of spite anyway... I mean, to prevent the ghost crosshairs from triggering.

Open the registry editor (Win + R > type 'regedit', hit enter). Click 'yes' if you see the UAC prompt.

Navigate to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced, and in the pane on the right, right-click, and choose New > String Value.

Screenshot showing the Windows registry editor, navigated to the path 'Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced'.

Name the new string DisabledHotkeys and set the value to S.

Screenshot showing creation of the 'DisabledHotkeys' string, with value 'S' in Windows registry editor, at path 'Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced'

Click OK, close the registry editor, and give your computer a reboot.

Capturing with another utility

After this, other screenshot utilities should be able to map to the Print Screen key, although this isn't a complete fix as with Snagit for example, the Print Screen key can't be mapped to a specific saved workflow (you can map other shortcuts to these, but not Print Screen or Win + Shift + S), but it instead runs the workflow that was run last. For the most part, this works pretty well, but it should be easier to make Windows relinquish control of shortcuts like this.

If there's anything I've missed, or if you use a product like this, please let me know in the comments, or send me a message at or @techbitsio.

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