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Windows 7: Snipping tool can't take pics of elevated applications

24 Mar 2009   #1
johngalt

 
Snipping tool can't take pics of elevated applications

And this issue is quite bothersome - so much so that I filed the following as Feedback for Windows 7:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by me
I have been a major fan of the Snipping tool in both Vista as well as Windows 7 - but I have run into a minor inconvenience of sorts.

Trying to get the snipping tool to take images of an application that is running with elevated privileges does not work unless the snipping tool is started with administrative privileges. This can be problematic for those of us testing AV / AM / AS programs in Windows 7, or, for that matter, any program that requires elevated privileges. However, the big problem here is that there is absolutely no feedback - you try to click on an image and nothing happens - the image is still outlined by the selection ink color, and nothing else happens.

Could the Snipping tool be enhanced to check for applications windows that are running with elevated privileges so that a notification will appear informing the user that the Snipping tool needs to be elevated as well in order to work? Could it also give the user to option to elevate 'on the fly' so as to make the process more streamlined?



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24 Mar 2009   #2
swarfega

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

You could try running snipping tool at in elevated mode as well.
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24 Mar 2009   #3
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Thanks for the heads up John,

That is an annoyance, although as you say there is the simple workaround, I'm surprised that this hasn't been noticed by MS and corrected by now .

Saying that of course I hadn't noticed it happen to me until I've just tried it so perhaps it's a bit specialized, but I would imagine it would've come up by now
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24 Mar 2009   #4
limneos

Windows 7 RC 7100 32bit/64bit
 
 

Hello Johngalt...

I believe there is some logic in this "malfunction".

Since "elevated mode" means that the programs are running as a different user ("administrator") and not actually running by the same user but with shifted priviledges, it would be proper to not allow a non-elevated user process to catch screenshots of elevated users processes.

In brief, a limited user (or at least, non-elevated) shouldn't have access to what a privileged user does or sees.

I can think of a scenario where this could be a security issue: someone could easily come up with e.g. a malware that would take screenshots of administrative activities and mail them? Just a thought.

So if you don't have UAC off by default, the easy workaround (setting snipping tool to run as administrator from its properties, so it's kept always that way) sounds like the most reasonable solution to me. This way, even if an outside bad bad application tried to do something, you would still get a UAC warning.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by johngalt
Could the Snipping tool be enhanced to check for applications windows that are running with elevated privileges so that a notification will appear informing the user that the Snipping tool needs to be elevated as well in order to work?
I believe that this is not possible, this way they would have to drop the whole security limitation, because many applications run as elevated by default, even with a limited user or a user with UAC on, so how would the system know which one is the one you want accessible?

Thank you for noticing, I didn't know this was happening.
But I just think it should work like this.
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24 Mar 2009   #5
Dwarf

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64
 
 

Hmm... seems to work OK for me. Both the below images were captured by the Snipping Tool running as a standard user. The first is a command window with standard privileges, the second has been elevated. The only thing that I have found that cannot be captured, either by the Snipping Tool or by means of the PrtScn key is the UAC dialogue itself, although it is possible to capture that via a digital camera.
Snipping tool can't take pics of elevated applications-capture.png Snipping tool can't take pics of elevated applications-capture1.png


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24 Mar 2009   #6
johngalt

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by swarfega View Post
You could try running snipping tool at in elevated mode as well.
Ummm - I said that in the quotation....

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
Thanks for the heads up John,

That is an annoyance, although as you say there is the simple workaround, I'm surprised that this hasn't been noticed by MS and corrected by now .

Saying that of course I hadn't noticed it happen to me until I've just tried it so perhaps it's a bit specialized, but I would imagine it would've come up by now
Yeah, upon further analysis, it is not necessarily all the time, as pointed out below - in this case it was when I was trying to capture images of MBAM to submit for a report to the MBAM forums - so it matters greatly the elevation level that the app achieves.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by limneos View Post
Hello Johngalt...

I believe there is some logic in this "malfunction".

Since "elevated mode" means that the programs are running as a different user ("administrator") and not actually running by the same user but with shifted priviledges, it would be proper to not allow a non-elevated user process to catch screenshots of elevated users processes.

In brief, a limited user (or at least, non-elevated) shouldn't have access to what a privileged user does or sees.

I can think of a scenario where this could be a security issue: someone could easily come up with e.g. a malware that would take screenshots of administrative activities and mail them? Just a thought.

So if you don't have UAC off by default, the easy workaround (setting snipping tool to run as administrator from its properties, so it's kept always that way) sounds like the most reasonable solution to me. This way, even if an outside bad bad application tried to do something, you would still get a UAC warning.

I believe that this is not possible, this way they would have to drop the whole security limitation, because many applications run as elevated by default, even with a limited user or a user with UAC on, so how would the system know which one is the one you want accessible?

Thank you for noticing, I didn't know this was happening.
But I just think it should work like this.
That is not what I am asking for - I don't want an automatic elevation - the elevation should be manual - but he *main* problem is that *nothing happens* if you try to perform the capture, and the only indication, other than no image and the manipulation tools, is the fact that the the red ink border remains. My main purpose is to get some sort of indication that the function cannot work - similarly, with Firefox, for example, if it is opened by an app with elevated privileges (and thus inherits those privileges) my Logitech Mouse cannot close tabs by the middle mouse button, which is set by the Tab Mix Plus extension - but I get no indication that this is because Fx is running with elevated privileges.

A secondary request is to have a UAC warning pop up to elevate any additional privileges that I want to have interact with this process on an equal level. The primary concern, again, is simple feedback as to why it is working.

The average user has no clue about privilege levels and inherited permissions - and thus I know for a fact that this has caught more than one user, especially in a scenario similar to the following: You run the installer for a program, which requests elevated privileges. You grant the privileges, and then at the end of the install process, it runs a separate program for whatever purpose - your text editor to view the release notes, your web browser to view a URL, etc. - those will, for the most part, inherit those same privileges that the installer was running at, creating a problematic scenario if the user continues to use that application for other purposes without the realization that the application is, in fact, running with those elevated privileges.

Now, I have heard that there is a way to program applications so that child processes spawned by the app / installer actually do not enjoy the same privilege levels - but I have seen very very few apps that actually do this correctly.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
Hmm... seems to work OK for me. Both the below images were captured by the Snipping Tool running as a standard user. The first is a command window with standard privileges, the second has been elevated. The only thing that I have found that cannot be captured, either by the Snipping Tool or by means of the PrtScn key is the UAC dialogue itself, although it is possible to capture that via a digital camera.
Attachment 6427 Attachment 6428
Correct - I think it depends upon the privilege level - user level privileges elevated to administrative access don't seem to cause the problem, but MBAM, which runs at (what I believe to be) higher privileges, possibly as high as system level, or even higher, say, trusted installer, may be causing the issue. Of course, there may be more to the story than that, though, as it might be b/c MBAM is itself a security app, and thus requests complete isolation and sandbox operation when it is running, to help ensure that it does not have any interaction with the malware that it is trying to clean.

Thanks for posting this info, though - I will check it out and see if it is security specific, or if it is just MBAM specific, or if it is privilege level specific, or what.
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24 Mar 2009   #7
Jacee
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit SP1
 
 

I use 'the last freeware' version of FastStone Capture.
A+ Freeware - Multimedia & Design - FastStone Capture 5.3 (last freeware version)

If I need it in a hurry, it's there ... bugs need to be reported, but if you can't get the Snipping Tool to work properly, then you need something else!
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24 Mar 2009   #8
johngalt

 

Again, it is not that I can't get it to work properly. As I wrote above, snipping tool is a godsend - and it is dead easy. But it is an *annoyance* that sometimes it fails to take a capture, and doesn't tell you why it cannot take a capture and doesn't have a way to ask to elevate itself as needed.
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 Snipping tool can't take pics of elevated applications




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