Vista Snipping Tool Rant

My version of Microsoft Windows Vista comes with a screen capture tool called the Snipping Tool.  It is a very useful tool which I often use.  With this tool you can capture a screen shot (snip) of any part of your screen and save it to the clipboard or to a file in a number of formats (HTML, PNG, GIF, or JPEG).  Available snip types include free-form, rectangular, window or full-screen.

One day last week the Snipping Tool suddenly stopped allowing me to save a snip to a file.  No error messages or message of any kind.  Pressing the Save option simply did not nothing.  The warning message about saving a unsaved snip still appeared when exiting the Snipping Tool but did not allow me to save the snip.

After some research I stumbled across the answer.  It turns out that I had deleted the Pictures folder in my user folder as part of a cleanup of my folders.  I never use that folder so I naively assumed that I could delete it.  However if you delete that folder, the Snipping Tool does not display a Save File dialog box.  Note that the Snipping Tool does not force you to save a snip in your Pictures folder but does require you to have the folder!  You can save the snip anywhere you like provided you have the right permissions.

What a poor user interface design! As part of Vista QA did nobody test this scenario?  If it was a deliberate design decision to require the Pictures folder, why not display a dialog box warning the user that the folder is missing and is required?


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