How to Take DVD/Video Screenshots on Windows

Taking screenshots of DVD, MPEG, AVI, and other video on Windows machines requires a couple of extra steps. A normal screenshot is easy enough to capture by pressing the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard.

To capture a screenshot of video display, however, you need to disable hardware acceleration to make it work. To do this on Windows machines, go to your Desktop properties and click on the Settings tab. Click on the Advanced button and then on the Troubleshooting tab. Slide the Hardware Acceleration to “None” and then capture and process your screenshot as normal. Once you are finished taking your screenshot, don’t forget to switch your Hardware acceleration back to its original settings (e.g., “Full”).

Here is a quick step-by-step guide for capturing video screenshots:

  1. Desktop > Properties > Settings > Advanced > Troubleshoot > Hardware acceleration: None
  2. Capture screenshot(s) via Print-Screen key and process as desired
  3. Return Hardware acceleration back to previous settings
[ Windows Troubleshoot Settings ]

Why is this necessary? It has to do with the way in which Windows Hardware Acceleration works. When Hardware Acceleration is set to “Full”, video data is rendered by the graphics card and is not available to the screen buffer for capture. Conversely, when Hardware Acceleration is disabled (i.e., set to “none”), video data is rendered before graphical processing and thus exists in the screen buffer during screen capture. Then again, I’m no expert in video processing, so feel free to chime in with more information. :)