Capture Windows Desktop with the Mouse Cursor

20 October 2017

Something annoying about Windows - everytime you use the Print Screen key it captures the desktop image but hides the mouse cursor. For me, this is fine maybe 50% of the time - often I want the mouse cursor included in the image capture. Sure, there are plenty of tools available to do this … but I was curious how hard it would be to just do it.

Here’s a old-school Win32 function that should capture the desktop and draw the mouse cursor back in:

void capture_screen()
   HDC screen = GetDC(NULL);

   int w = GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXSCREEN);
   int h = GetSystemMetrics(SM_CYSCREEN);

   // create a bitmap and DC that we can draw to
   HDC dc = CreateCompatibleDC(screen);
   HBITMAP bmp = CreateCompatibleBitmap(screen, w, h);
   HGDIOBJ bmp_old = SelectObject(dc, bmp);

   // copy the screen
   BitBlt(dc, 0, 0, w, h, screen, 0, 0, SRCCOPY);
   ReleaseDC(NULL, screen);

   // copy the cursor to the bitmap
   CURSORINFO cinfo;
   cinfo.cbSize = sizeof(cinfo);
   if (cinfo.hCursor && (cinfo.flags & CURSOR_SHOWING)) 
      // get the cursor's hotspot to compensate draw position
      ICONINFO iinfo;
      if (GetIconInfo((HICON)cinfo.hCursor, &iinfo))
         int x = cinfo.ptScreenPos.x - iinfo.xHotspot;
         int y = cinfo.ptScreenPos.y - iinfo.yHotspot;
         DrawIcon(dc, x, y, (HICON)cinfo.hCursor);
   // copy the bitmap to the clipboard
   if (OpenClipboard(nullptr))
      SetClipboardData(CF_BITMAP, (HANDLE)bmp);

   // cleanup our drawing objects
   SelectObject(dc, bmp_old);

… and to add to the plethora of utilities available to do this - it is now integrated in ColorLens as well by pressing Ctrl+F10.