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Full Screen Dos Capture

Posted on 2003-10-28
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I'm trying to get a screenshot of a full screen dos application running under XP. I've tried about 10 different screen capture programs, all of which advertize that they do full screen capture, and none work. The print screen key doesn't print anything. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't care if it goes directly to the printer or to an image, as long as I get what I want.

Thanks.
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Question by:Victor_R
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by:brianadkins
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Why not switch away from full-screen mode and then take your screen shot?

Alt-Enter  (toggle full screen)

Alt-Print-Screen  (capture current window to clipboard)

-Brian
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by:Victor_R
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That doesn't work for programs that can only be run in full screen mode.
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by:K_2K
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DOS full screen mode is basicly just a bunch of letters scattered around.  So full screen graphics capture programs are trying to do too much.  Luckily, in full screen mode, many of the "hooks" they throw in become moot or disabled.

I just opened a cmd window, switched to full screen, Used Ctrl+Print Screen (the DOS built in screen capture that button was built around in the first place.  I saw no evidence that anything happened), then Alt-tabbed to Notepad, and pressed Ctrl+V.  Badda-bing the whole screen of DOS lines were in the document.  Same thing worked from command.com.  I have not been successfull today replicating the on/off function I remember using often.  There was a way to get a set of commands captured without the top and bottom, or a long list without page breaks, by turning the print capture "on" with a keypress, running the commands, then turning it back "off".  Today I had to take the screens and delete the extras out of the copy in notepad.  At least that's better than graphic screen shots of a DOS Window. (sometimes)

Just as in pre-Windows DOS, the characters printed to the printer would look a little different than on the screen (using the font built into the printer), in DOS under a window those are still captured as text, and have no formatting to change the font or look from whatever is being typed into Word, Notepad, or whatever.  You can set notepad to "Lucida Console" size 10 or system to resemble the console look somewhat.

In general, I have found few hot-key type screen captures that do better than uninstalling them and using the built in Alt or Ctrl or Shift + Print Screen, in Windows or DOS.

I have not messed with the screen loggers that do it automatically, but if i did i would look for one that uses the normal built in capture.

My 2¢,
2K
(\o/)
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by:Victor_R
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Thanks for the info K_2K. Unfortunately, I'm not just trying to capture DOS text. It's actually a program that draws graphs based on data files. So pasting into Notepad gives me nothing but blank lines, and paint programs don't even give me the option to paste.

Just so experts can try their ideas without wasting time, I've posted the program online. It's about 15 years old so hopefully I'm not breaking any copyright laws. It's useless to the average joe anyway since it's for acoustic emission testing. Feel free to download it and try to do screen captures in Windows XP or perhaps even 2000. If you figure out a way, please let me know.

http://www.eng.uwaterloo.ca/~varodrig/adti.exe

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by:Victor_R
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For your pleasure, points increased...
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by:brianadkins
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Runs in a windowed DOS box here (after Alt-Enter)...but I don't have any data files, so I'm just looking at the plain text first screen...

-Brian
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by:brianadkins
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I shouldn't say "runs".... but I can switch to windowed mode and take a screen-cap and then switch back to full screen.  In Windowed mode, the application is "frozen".
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by:Victor_R
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It runs in a small window in XP?? What options do you have checked if you right click on the exe and go to the Misc tab?
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by:Victor_R
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I can't get it to run in a windowed mode. It's either full screen or minimized. Bleh! How'd you do it?
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by:Victor_R
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For my curiosity, what version of Windows and what resolution/colour depth are you using? Maybe it has something to do with matched modes.

Well, going home for the night. I hope I'll have some more comments in the morning. Thanks again!
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by:brianadkins
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oooops.....  I'm using Win2000

Just tried it on an XP box, and I can't get it to work...I even tried compatability mode in XP (2000) to no avail.

You would think that you could at least get XP to act like 2000!

-Brian

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by:K_2K
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I got the same thing on my W2000, it starts in a window, then kicks itself to full screen.
I can play with menues, but don't have the test device connected and file setups to see the purty lines.
Program freezes when Alt+Enter is hit, then unfreezes well when toggled back to full screen. (Maybe until we figgure it out a frozen graph window could be grabbed, but I wouldn't bet on it.)

The XP problem helps, in that I think ME and XP share lack of support for "Real Mode" processing.  The kickstart nature of this thing may be doing just that - using real mode to get direct control to BIOS functions and whatever device the test equipment connects to.  Hence, the BIOS print screen grab of ANSI is all you could get, as the window mode may not even show the memory page that was drawn direct to memory.  Debug could surely copy A000: to AFFF: to a file and your screen is there somewhere, but which location it starts at and how do decode the RGBI pixels into something viewable is beyond me, as well as how to hook debug into the alt+enter routine to do that before returning the display to Windows Control.


2K
(\o/)
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by:Victor_R
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Darn.

Another reason to hate having XP at work. The boys upstairs should have stuck with a useful business-oriented OS. Even the native DOS Print Screen directly command doesn't do what I need. Just spews garbage out of the printer.

Thanks anyway guys.

Please find 50 points for trying for each of you in this topic area.

Victor
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by:K_2K
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Thanks Victor,

The sad news is, the've been trying to kill Real Mode (RM) since Windows 95, and in 2005 or 2006 it will be "officially" dead March 31, 2008 when Windows 2000 loses support.  Ref: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/servicepacks.mspx   ( 3 years sooner for those who do not purchase extended support, many years later for those who run it without support. )

First they told consumers Virtual Machine (VM) in 98 could replace it and tried to strong-arm vendors into rewrites.
Then they gave us ME with no Real mode included to prove VM worked.  (That worked as well as the Edsel, for those who liked it and had nothing older to compare it with or use in it.)  Support dies in 2004 Along with NT.
Now "Compatability Mode" is supposed to make VM act like it thinks programs want.  

VM is wonderful, I love it, we all get better use of the PC with VM capable programs and should switch.  The thing about VM is, it is V, and when an engineer before the dawn of V figgured a way to get the most R used from a nonstandard sensor connected to a non documented variable input reader, he had to A/D convert the input internally.  VM has to A/D it, then digitally re-simulate virtual analog to the program.
Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss, and I don't want mine virtualized and simulated.

My 2¢,
2K
(\o/)
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by:K_2K
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hey i missed that last part till i hit the index,

Respectfully, they're your points and you can do what you want,  but wouldn't it be more fair to you to just split them out of this and ask EE to delete the extras?  After all you really haven't been able to do this even though some of the methods given may prove useful in other programs.

Or perhaps some of those are already accepted they can delete this one for you?

My 2¢,
2K
(\o/)
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by:Victor_R
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Actually, I'm giving you some token points for trying to help, but I'm leaving this 500pt question open in case others come along with some kind of solution. I haven't given up yet.
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stevenlewis earned 200 total points
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Did you try snagit?
http://www.techsmith.com/products/snagit/tutorials/dos.asp
I just tested it and it worked for me
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by:Victor_R
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I'll be back at work in two weeks after a trip. I'll try the solution then. Thanks.
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by:Victor_R
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I got your program Snagit, but I need Admin access to install it. If I wait till I get that access to give points, you'll be annoyed, so I'll just do a split now and have it done with.

Thanks!
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by:stevenlewis
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VIctor, not concerned with the points, just with you getting the answers you need :~)
Steve
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by:JAHMarch
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I've had exactly the same problem with a PC board designing program which id DOS-based and only seems to run in Full Screen mode. I use XP too and tried SnagIt 7.1 last night but it didn't work for me, despite the fact that there is a Full Screen DOS mode in it. The problem, already discussed, is that this program of mine either runs in FS mode -- or is minimised to the taskbar if 'Alt + Enter' is pressed. There is no window mode.

Fortunately I found a solution to my problem by using a utility that comes with the PC board drawing program and that enables me to save to a Postscript file, which I can then print out. That probably isn't much help to you however.
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by:tkcroat
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Unfortunately the only solution I've found is to use a machine with an older O/S.  Using Win NT4 I can switch the DOS program into a window with Alt+Enter and even though it is temporarily frozen the print screen command does work.  After taking this snapshot of the screen and copying it, switching back to full screen DOS unfreezes the program.  
This procedure doesn't work on XP and the Snagit program did not help.  It will work on XP using the same program when the text menus of the DOS program are active, but once the DOS prog plots something it automatically switches to full screen and will not be confined to a window (shrinks to taskbar with alt+enter).  
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