The Snipping Tool is an important feature of any Windows operating system; it allows users to capture, edit, and save screenshots directly onto their PC.
However, since Windows Vista, the program hasn’t been the most stable. Even as we moved onto Windows 10 and 11, the Snipping tool tended to run into strange issues. Such issues prompt the “Snipping tool not working” error repeatedly, which might hinder your workflow and slow you down.
We have tracked down a few reasons why the Snipping Tool can stop working and how to easily resolve them. Let’s have a look at how they can be dealt with.
1. Restart the Windows File Explorer
Let’s start by going to the root of the problem. Since the Snipping Tool is a subset of the File Explorer service, it is most probable that the problem likely came from there. If File Explorer goes unresponsive, so too does the Snipping Tool.
As such, restarting File Explorer may dislodge whatever’s keeping the Snipping Tool from working correctly. To do this, press Ctrl + Alt + Del, then select Task Manager. Alternatively, you can press CTRL + Shift + ESC to jump directly into the Task Manager.
Scroll down until you find Windows Explorer and right-click it. In the drop-down menu that appears, select Restart.
You will notice your desktop will go through some weird changes while File Explorer restarts. For example, the taskbar will vanish and your desktop wallpaper will turn completely black. However, this is totally normal, as all of these elements rely on File Explorer. When you restart the service, it forces all of these elements to restart too.
Once everything looks okay again, try opening the Snipping Tool and using it.
2. Run Windows Update Troubleshooter
Restarting the Windows File Explorer should have resolved the issue for 90% of people. If it didn’t, you can do two things: seek other ways to screen capture screenshots on your Windows PC or figure out why your Snipping Tool is not working.
If you’ve chosen the latter, try running the Windows Update Troubleshooter next. You can run it by following the instructions below:
- Open the Settings menu by pressing Win + I.
- Select Update and Security.
- From the panel on the left side, head to Troubleshoot > Additional Troubleshooters.
- Then, select the Windows Update Troubleshooter.
3. Look for Interfering Third-Party Software
Sometimes, a program you’ve recently downloaded can interfere with the smooth running of the Snipping Tool. If you want to reach to the bottom of all this mystery, one way to know for sure is by following these steps given below:
- Type ‘System configuration’ is the Windows search bar and open the System Configuration panel.
- Switch to the Services tab on the top, and then select the option to hide all the Microsoft services at the bottom.
- Disable any service that you think might be interfering with the Snipping Tool.
- Once you disable it, try running the Snipping Tool once again. If it works properly, it means that the app was in conflict with the Snipping Tool. It should be kept disabled to keep the Snipping Tool on your Windows working properly.
If all else fails and your Snipping Tool still isn’t working, you can still use the scannow command to repair and restore the damaged files that cause it to malfunction. You can achieve this with the help of the Command Prompt feature. Here is how you can do that:
- Type “Command Prompt” in the Windows Search bar and run it as administrator. To do this, either click on Run as Administrator on the right panel, or right-click the search result and click Run as Administrator.
- Once inside Command Prompt, type:
…and hit Enter.
- Once it’s done, type:
…to launch the Snipping Tool manually. Check to see if the error still persists.
Snipping Tool also might not work if it lacks the necessary permission to run in the background. This means the app won’t work unless you are active in the app’s window. To rectify this, authorize the Snipping Tool’s application to run in the background by following these steps:
- Click the Windows icon and select Settings from the context menu.
- Hit the Privacy button on the Settings page.
- Scroll down to the panel on the left to locate Background apps.
- Search for Snip & Sketch from the app list and ensure it’s toggled on.
6. Update Graphics Drivers
Sometimes outdated or corrupt graphic drivers are the culprit behind a non-functioning Snipping Tool. Their core responsibility is capturing and processing the screenshot into a format the Windows device understands.
If it’s outdated, it won’t translate the images appropriately and become incompatible with your computer, resulting in the “Snipping Tool not working” error. Hence, in this scenario, the key is to update these drivers to their latest build. To do this:
- Right-click on the Windows icon and select Device Manager from the pop-up list.
- Navigate to Display adapters, expand it, and right-click on the available driver.
- Select Update driver > Search automatically for drivers. The system will quickly scan for any available drivers and install them.
- Restart your Windows device.
Because the Snipping Tool is associated with taking screenshots, its importance can’t be understated. Screenshots are an easy way to communicate data and not being able to use this function can leave you in a lurch.
There’s no doubt about the Snipping Tool being an integral part of the Windows OS; therefore, it is also essential to make full use of this function. Knowing all the useful tips and tricks, shortcuts, and how to make your own hotkeys will make it much easier to capture, edit, and save your screenshots on your Windows PC.