Sunday, May 08, 2011

Snipping Tool snapped

Reader Blake in Portland e-mailed about a problem he's having with his laptop: The snipping tool no longer works. What to do?

We're actually qualified to answer that question. In fact, we answer many visual problem computer issues because we've had nothing but visual problems with this site from the very first edition.

In March, we had huge problems with our own snipping tool (included on the Dell laptops). And we went in search of others. We started at CNET and would suggest you make that your first stop online when you have a computer problem.

We ended up with three strong suggestions: AutoScreenRecorder, FastStone Capture and MWSnap 3.

AutoScreenRecorder was a nightmare to use and our first clue that we might have chosen a dud was when we realized the product's illustration was not a pepperoni pizza but a Viewmaster slide. When your illustration is that vague, maybe you're not the best product for doing visuals online?

It was difficult to use, it was difficult to manipulate the image after the snap. All in all, we considered it a huge waste of time and disc space. NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL.

FastStone Capture? The use issue was the main problem. As Kat said while trying to use it one Sunday, "I've had sobriety tests that were easier than this!" With FastStone, you've got two intersecting lines producing four squares and one of those squares is the one you want to outline your image in.

Which one?

It's not marked. And for us, that was one of the repeat problems, trying to remember which square we're using.

Another problem is the claim that the product is free. It's free for a 30-day trial.

Then they need you to pay $19.99. And that wasn't a problem for us, the cash. But when Ty went to purchase it for his laptop, he ended up calling Jess and Dona and Betty over to see if they could figure out what he was supposed to purchase?

There are two products for $19.99 when you click on the purchase button. Neither seems to be what you need. A $39.99 product appears to be what you need.

Is it?

At that point, we gave up on FastStone Capture. RECOMMENDED ONLY IN A PINCH.

MWSnap 3?

This actually worked for us.


It's the most similar to Snipping Tool in the way you use it to take a screen snap. We then use Windows Paint to edit it (as we did with Snipping Tool) and the results are basically the same. It's a free download and there's no trial period or expiration. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
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