The built in Windows Snipping Tool is a wonderful program. It lets you screenshot any part of your screen, then draw on it, and paste or save it somewhere. Sometimes the Snipping Tool will Freeze your screen. The fix for this is below.
The Snipping Tool is great for quickly pointing out something when collaborating remotely with someone. It is also super useful for holding a quick snapshot of something when you have to change screens or submit a form.
You can take snips with a few basic options: Free-form, Rectangular, Window, or Full-Screen. There is also a Delay setting to have the snip start in 1-5 seconds giving you time to get your mouse to open up menus or other things that only show up while active.
Snipping Tool editing functions are limited to a basic highlighter, a pen with color, size, and tip shape options, as well as an eraser for pen and highlighter marks.
Snip & Sketch
Windows has a newer program as well called “Snip & Sketch” which has the same basic features but with a few changes. The Delay options are now only 3 or 10 seconds. There are the same editing tools as before but with the addition of a pencil tool, a ruler and protractor, cropping, and Windows Stylus / Touch drawing support.
These are great programs to have in your arsenal. I use the Snipping Tool so much it is actually one of only four programs I have pinned to my taskbar for quick access.
There is one major glitch with the Snipping Tool. On some computers, it can occasionally freeze your whole screen. If you leave it open too long or your computer goes to sleep with the Snipping Tool active sometimes it wakes up and your computer appears frozen – with the Snipping Tool open and everything else frozen and maybe even greyed out.
Frozen Snipping Tool Fix
There is a solution to a frozen Snipping Tool though! What you need to do is force Windows to shut down the Snipping Tool from the command prompt. The tricky part is you are typing blind since your screen is frozen.
Here are the instructions to fix your computer if the Windows Snipping Tool has frozen your screen:
- Hit the Windows Key on your keyboard. Usually a key with just a Windows logo at the bottom left between the Ctrl and Alt keys.
- This may or may not bring up the Windows Start Menu, but you still won’t be able to use your mouse or see any other changes.
- Type “cmd” (without the quotation marks) and hit the enter key. This will start Windows Command prompt, but you won’t be able to see it.
- Next type “taskkill /im snippingtool.exe“ (without the quotation marks) and hit enter.
- That should force the snipping tool to close and return your computer to full function. Command Prompt will show “SUCCESS: Sent termination signal to the process “SnippingTool.exe” with PID 10188.”
- You can close the Command Prompt window now with the X button or by typing “exit” and hitting enter.
If that doesn’t work and you are sure that the Command Prompt window opened, and you didn’t have a typo in the taskkill command, then your only option is to restart your computer.
How to Restart or Shut Down Windows when the screen is frozen.
Here are 3 methods to try and restart your computer with the snipping tool frozen on the screen, or just a frozen screen in general:
1) Power User Menu Shortcut
The menu probably wont show up on the screen but by hitting the right keys we should be able to restart the computer.
- Press Windows Key + x this should open the Power User Menu even if you can’t see it
- Press the u key on your keyboard. That should open the Shut down or sign out menu
- Press the u key again to Shut Down the computer or press the r key to Restart the computer.
- Wait and see if it works.
For reference from the Shut down or sign out menu the other options are i for Sign Out, s for sleep, and h for Hibernate if your computer supports hibernation.
2) CTRL + ALT + DELETE
If the Power User Menu restart didn’t work you can try holding down the Ctrl + Alt keys and then hitting the Delete key.
This should bring up the Windows Security screen which looks like the lock screen.
If it shows up and your mouse works then just click the power icon in the bottom right corner and choose Restart or Shut Down.
If you can’t see it or your mouse isn’t working you can try to blindly get to the correct button as follows:
- Hit the Tab key 9 times. This should put you over the power icon.
- Hit Enter on your keyboard and this should bring up the power sub menu.
- Hit the down arrow on your keyboard 1 time for Shut Down or 2 times for Restart
- Hit Enter again and wait to see if it worked.
If that didn’t work you can try hitting the Esc key a few times and starting back from the Ctrl + Alt + Del stage again but this time hit the Tab key only 8 times instead of 9 in the first step. Some computers might have one less button to tab through due to a lack of language options.
If none of that worked there’s really only one sure fire way to restart your computer:
3) Hard Reboot
As the very last resort, the only thing left to do is hard reset your computer. Just hold down the main power button until the computer powers down. This is last on the list because it’s not really good for your computer, but there are no options left at this point.
The best way to prevent Snipping Tool from freezing your computer screen in the future is to try and remember to close Snipping Tool when you are not using it.
I hope this helped you solve a frozen Windows 10 computer caused by the Snipping Tool.