Capturing computer screens and crooks

Ctrl Print Screen: an effective tool

By Kevin A. Andrews, CPA, CFE

Learn how to use the Print Screen function on your personal computer keyboard to save evidence and prepare it for court presentation.   

Max, a CFE, needed a way to quickly capture evidence found on a fraud perpetrator's computer. Instead of printing out page after page from a query in QuickBooks, he instead took a screenshot of the evidence and printed it out. This saved him time and energy which he put towards trying to crack the case. Learn how this simple method of using a personal computer's Print Screen function can save you time and help you keep track of important evidence. 1  

If you're old enough to have used DOS (or Disk Operating System) on early personal computers, you'll remember the Print Screen button on your keyboard. You would simply push the button and, voilà, the hamsters would start churning and your printer would spit out the image on your computer screen.

While DOS is a thing of the past, the Print Screen button isn't. It's still up there next to F12 key. Of course, when you push it now, nothing happens. But I'll show you how to use it and how it can be an effective tool in your investigative practice.

How to use it
In a Windows-based system you have to hold down the Ctrl key while you push the Print Screen button. This will capture a digital image of whatever is on your screen and store that image on your clipboard where you can paste it to either Microsoft Word or Paint. If you paste it into Word, the image resizes itself to fit within the document, which makes the information hard to read. So I recommend that you use Paint. To access Paint click on the Start button located on your task bar, select All Programs, followed by Accessories and then Paint. Once you've opened Paint, go to the Edit pull-down menu and select Paste. You should see the digital copy of the captured screen. Save this file, and you're done.

The button's uses
I commonly use the Print Screen button in two distinct ways - documenting evidence and preparing presentations.




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