how to “print screen” a DOS app at full screen in XP

printscreen_small.jpgEver had this problem? You have a DOS-based utility or program that runs at full screen. You can’t have it windowed. It just minimizes itself. Pressing the “F12” button or PrintScreen button doesn’t work. Pressed almost everything, (yeah, Ctrl +, Alt +, Shift +, even Ctrl + Shift + right?) and still nothing!

You try another bunch of screen capture apps like SnagIt, Print Screen Deluxe, etc. NOTHING…

And since I was needing an immediate solution to getting this ‘image’ from the screen, I was almost about to grab a digital camera and take a picture of my monitor!!! Imagine how that would look like in a presentation.

Don’t despair! Looks like you just haven’t Googled enough yet. 😀 heehee… Good thing I found this DOS-based program. Yeah, yeah… I didn’t check if it’s spyware or virus. Just like most of the things I mention here (like that AquaDock which is supposed to be malware thing),  I don’t really mind because as long as it serves its purpose, in this case printing the full screen of a DOS program, I’m fine with it. Besides, my PC isn’t slowing down because of anything, by my last SpybotS&D scan. It’s because I’m filling up my HDD with stuff! hahaha…

My advice right now, before we go any further, download at your own risk.

Back to that program… VTHIEF. it’s actually a memory-resident command line program (actually, set of programs) that grab whichever DOS screen  you want in that you couldn’t get in XP. I think lower versions of Windows are still able to get a full screen cap in DOS since the OS is still based on DOS. (or am I wrong again? my apologies, i’m no software guru) Procedures:

1. Find vthief first. 😀 heehee… I can’t seem to find that web link where I got the ZIP file. At least it’s a bit easier, you know what to Google for.

2. I’m not sure about this next procedure actually. I think you have to put the programs in the same directory as the EXE of the program you wanna capture the screen of. I think this is usually for graphical DOS programs.  ‘Load’ the VTHIEF program in memory by typing ‘vthief’ at the command prompt.
3. Run your program and do what you have to do.

4. Press the HotKey (usually F12). Check the README file inside the <ENG> folder with the VTHIEF ZIP files.

5. You will now get a new file named something like ‘0000.vtf’ this is the image grabbed by VTHIEF already.

6. To view the screen cap, type VIEW386 <filename.ext>. You should see the full screen cap.

7. Press “b” on your keyboard to convert it to a bitmap. Haven’t checked how to save the vtf to jpg yet. Maybe you have more time on your own… I was in a rush when I did this.

8. Exit the program and view your new bitmap screen cap!

The program is simple but involves a lot of typing if you need numerous screen caps of DOS screens. Here are some of my screen caps:


Cool huh?


11 thoughts on “how to “print screen” a DOS app at full screen in XP

  1. I Want to use this program as a remote desktop viewer but I don’t know is there any way to take pictures in specified intervals?
    Please help me if you can.

    thanks for visiting my blog! i’m not sure if this can be used for remote desktop viewing. for that, i think you will need VNC or something similar. as for taking screenshots at intervals, maybe you can write a batch file with a counter or loop for the specific interval you like. this is just off the top of my head. better ask other experts. 🙂 HTH!

  2. Thanks for the tutorial! Stinks when when a lot of still useful software only runs on a DOS platform.

    Don’t you just miss the good ol’ days of DOS? when all you needed was 2Mb of RAM? 😀 haha… Glad to be of help!

  3. Holy crap, this works BRILLIANTLY! I have some old QuickBasic programs that run in full screen graphic mode. I wanted to get screenshots of them to post on an online profile of my past development work. However, I couldn’t get a screenshot until I tried this program.

    Here’s another idea: remote desktop to another computer. Run your DOS programs on that computer. Use this computer to screenshot the remote desktop computer. Not sure if it will work, but might want to give it a try… if it does work, you could even use some standard video capture programs to make videos of DOS programs in use 🙂

  4. lol, after you press the print screen button, open paint, and “paste” it, then save

    heehee… on newer programs, that’d be fine. but not for this specific program i was trying to get a screenshot of. Print Screen doesn’t cut it. 😦

  5. Incredible, still in 2009 I’m using DOS applications and I was almost surrendered in having an apposite PC with Windows 1998 to save images from DOS. Thank you a lot for this suggestion, it was a long time I was searching for a program like this.

    no problemo Claudia! thanks for visiting and i’m glad I got to help you. 🙂 thanks to the contributors, too. cheers!

  6. im sorry but i cant run it . Im clicking on vthief exe but i get nothing (1 sec. of black screen) i should run it on dos or what ??

    yes, rege… it’s meant to be run from the command prompt A.K.A. DOS. not sure if in Vista, there are kinks. hopefully none.

  7. Pingback: Fix Red Screen App Errors - Windows XP, Vista & Windows 7, 8

  8. Pingback: Fix Red Screen App For Pc Errors - Windows XP, Vista & Windows 7, 8

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