Vista snipping tool error

I had an interesting issue with my Vista build today. Well, I have to disclose that this is basically a preview build that our engineering team is testing in the company. I was trying to launch Snipping Tool and received an error:

The Snipping Tool is not working on your computer right now. Restart your computer, and then try again. If the problem persists, contact your system administrator.

Sure enough, rebooting the machine did not help. I checked the event viewer and noticed that a warning gets logged everytime I try to start it:

Log Name: Application
Source: Microsoft-Windows-SoftwareRestrictionPolicies
Date: 7/12/2007 3:15:25 PM
Event ID: 866
Access to C:\Windows\SYSTEM32\WISPTIS.EXE has been restricted by your Administrator by location with policy rule {F8509577-AE57-4057-B256-2929FCC0931A} placed on path *WISPTIS.exe.

So, what's this Wisptis? "Windows Ink Services Platform Tablet Input Subsystem".
I ran rsop.msc to confirm that it was listed under

"Computer Configuration" > "Windows Settings" > "Security Settings" > "Software Restriction Policies" > "Additional Rules"

Why would snipping tool need Wisptis.exe is beyond me.

[Edit: 04/04/2008]
I've scraped the preview build long time ago and I use ultimate version for sometime. However, I get comment from people who still see the issue I mentioned above. I got two comments from people who confirmed that running "Office Diagnostics", however irrelevant it seems, fixed the issue for them.

It makes me very happy to see comments from people who reach this blog and either find or suggest solutions to problems. Thank you all!


Anonymous said...


I get the same error from time to time. Didn't find any information about it on Microsoft's website. Did you ever find out how to fix this?


Svein A. Berg

Adil Hindistan said...

Well, no. I had other issues with the machine. For example, every time I rebooted it wanted to run a checkdisk but could not finish running it. Machine would freeze time to time. Microsoft updates would always fail... So I ended up rebuilding Vista.

Most of these issues went away except occasional BSOD when there is excessive HD activity. I went thru MS documentation and it confirmed my suspicion that something is wrong with either my SATA controller or cables. I ordered both and replaced cable a minute ago. Controller has not arrived yet.

I am guessing that above issue has something to do with admin privileges but not sure.

Anonymous said...

I was having the same problem with Snipping Tool and found this suggestion on

I ran Office Diagnostics from Outlook (Help -> Office Diagnostics) and it has fixed the problem. Who knows why... But it's fixed!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say...I've got Vista Ultimate 64, and I've been looking for a few months on how to fix the snipping tool which stopped working...

...also got the occasional error message telling me to reinstall tablet software. I know the two are connected, but the tablet error could be unrelated...

but anyways, I ran Office Diagnostics from Excel 2007 (clicked the big button, went to Excel Options, clicked Resources, ran Office Diagnostics) and this fixed the Snipping Tool problem immediately, no restart required, nothing.

It got through the first few sections with no problems, but when it got to Setup Diagnostics it took a little longer, then told me afterwards that it'd fixed some problems.

I agree that I dunno what Office has to do with it, but it worked for me too. Thanks for being the only website where I could find a fix!

Adil Hindistan said...

Hi Chris,

I am glad that the fix suggested above worked for you too! My thanks goes to the anonymous person who left the comment about fix.

Anonymous said...

errrr I don't have office 2007 and office 2003's detect and repair did not fix
unlike others my other tablet features work. I don't have that policy entry in my msc I'm at a loss. this happened (or I noticed it) after may updates. I'm sad b/c I love my snipper

Anonymous said...

Running the Office Diagnostics from Outlook solved this for me. This was driving me nuts. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

yar I spoke too soon a restart afterwards started my snipper back up

Anonymous said...

Office Diagnostics with Excel 2007 didn't work for me.
But I installed this one:
And it's pretty cool. After months of looking for a solution for the Vista Snipper problem, with this one I don't need it anymore.

JD said...

I'm also experiencing this issue on Vista 32-bit, but initially get a problem with other snipping tool I use - WinSnap. It would start behaving incorrectly (i.e., not snapping pictures, etc.).

Then I try Snipping Tool, and boom, get exact same error message as you describe.

This issue appears to be affecting some infrastructure piece that is utilized by both WinSnap (3rd party) and Snipping Tool (builtin app for Vista Ultimate).

Running the Diagnostics tool from an Office app did not fix my problem.

Unknown said...

I don't know if this will help you guys, but I have this problem and I can fix it temporarily by restarting the "Tablet PC Input Service" service on my computer. My guess is that this service and the snipping tool must share a file somewhere, I am still investigating to see what files they share to see what could be causing this. i'll let you know if i find anything.

Adil Hindistan said...

Please do, Justin. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Alright, so microsoft added it to this service because the tool originated from a sort of expansion pack for tablet PCs running XP. When it was running on tablet PCs you could use the stylus to select the area you wanted in the snapsot.

Because their last version of the snipping tool was for a tablet PC that run under the Tablet PC Input Service, they kept the ties to the same service. I don't know why, they might have had to re-write some code in order to change this or associate it with different DLLs so they decided against it, i'm not sure. As it is a free utility that does not cause a security threat, I don't think this problem is high on their "fix" list.

The utility runs under one executable, so I don't know where to look in order to find a permanent fix. For now see if restarting this service fixes it for you guys.

As for why running the Office Diagnostics would fix this problem...that is a good question! Maybe office breaks the the Tablet PC Input Service when it is installed because it touches a file or DLL with its built in tablet PC support. Since the snipping tool needs the Tablet PC Input Service to run, it gets messed up as well. When runnign the Diagnostics program it might notice the problem it caused and then tries to fix it, I don't know this last paragraph is all speculation by me.

A Starship said...

Thanks a million, guys! Running Outlook 2007 Office diagnostic worked for me! I can't thank you enough, snipping tool is so important for me!

Anonymous said...

Snipping Tool worked fine on my machine running 32bit Vista. Now recently installed 64bit Vista and Snipping Tool doesn't work. I've tried the Repair & Fix in Office 03 and that doesn't fix it and also tried restarting Tablet PC Service and that doesn't work. Is it a 64bit issue?

Anonymous said...

Office Diagnostics worked for me too. I'll add more comments next time this occurs... When opening snipping tool first time afterwards there was a message about opening a previous image or new, something like that, like part of it was already running.

Anonymous said...

Run Office diagnostics did not work in Vista 64.

In a Vista 64 bit environment, as Steve Goodwin says in his post, WISPTIS.EXE is not available in C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ but it is in c:\Windows\System32. SO I copied it, and darn it, it finally works.

Thanks a lot, I didn't know about rsop.msc, and this needs some digging :)

幽犀 said...

Hi, I am having the same question. The office diagnose work up is not helpful in my case, I do not see any error in event logger and my system is 32 bit so not the WISPTIS.exe in 64 bit system. An interesting thing I found is, when the snipping tool is not working and also the PrintScreen key is not working nicely, if I click PrintScreen and paste it in, I get a terrible pic(or error in Paint) but if I click Alt-PrintScreen to grab the current active windows only and paste it, everything is just fine in either or Paint. I am wondering if there is something wrong with the clipboard system in Vista and also if it is kind of display memory issue since I am using a dual screen setup.

Geekasso said...

I have the same problem with Vista Ultimate on 32 bit system. At random times, the snippet stops working until the PC is rebooted and then it stops working again after some time. I use RDD, and I have dual monitors managed by UltraMon. I suspect the problem occurs after connecting into the PC remotely via RDP (not sure if the dual monitor combination adds to the problem). I ran office diagnostics as suggested by some people, but without success.

I also tried printkey, and it also stops working after some time (After RDP) unless I specify for print key to capture only one monitor.

I am somewhat at ground zero with this again. Perhaps someone has some ideas or has done additional troubleshooting.

We are all final beta testers for Microsoft.

Geekasso said...

** RDD = RDP ** Ooops~!

Adil Hindistan said...

Hmm, not something I ran into but hopefully someone will come up with an answer :)

Manos said...

Hi guys,

I have experienced the same problem with the snipping tool. I can confirm that it has to do with the dual screen setup.

It works fine on a single screen. Once you extend your desktop to a second screen, snipping tool cannot cope with it and so does the clipboard. Print screen on a dual screen setup produces a black image.


Pratik Das said...

I have a Windows Vista Enterprise machine from work with Office 2003 SP3 and I had the same problem with the Snipping Tool in December 2009 - two and half years after this thread was started. Way to go Microsoft!

I don't use dual screens or UltraMon.

Since I don't have Office 2007, there is no Help-->Office Diagnostics option. There is a Help-->Detect and Repair option but that didn't fix the problem.

I took Justin's lead and restarted the "Tablet PC Input Service" service. Problem solved.

Now I wait for the problem to possibly recur :) But, at least I'll know how to fix it.

Thanks guys!

Unknown said...

As Manos has said, if using dual displays and you need to use the snipping tool you first need to disable your secondary display in your display settings and try the snipping tool it then should work.

David said...

I have dual screens and use RDP to support clients all the time. Multiple RDP sessions seem to really bring the problem to the forefront.

Restarting the Tablet PC Input Service does the trick for me.

Sure would like a fix to this "feature" as this happens to me 3 to 5 times a day. Now that I can "fix" the problem by restarting the "Tablet PC Input Service" I can be productive again!

RE said...

It's interesting to see how MS still has yet to come up with a final answer to this situation. I have a client who's still having an issue with this.

We're using Vista Enterprise 32-bit with Office 2007. Running Office Diagnostics did not work. Tried restarting the Tablet PC Input Service - did not work. Even went as far as going into Windows Features and unchecking "Tablet PC Components" which produce an error message that I now can not recall when trying to uninstall it.

Has anyone else got any other insights?

Unknown said...

Thank you manos! I was going crazy trying to figure out my issue. Thanks again for your post!

Unknown said...

I'm on Vista Premium 32 bit and Office 2010. Ran Office Diagnostics and it fixed 1 issue. But Snipping Tool didn't resurrect right away, I had to reboot the machine and then viola! I can even run it on dual monitor now!

board tc said...

I was hoping this might be that answer to get SnippingTool back. Howvere my Vista with Office 2003 installed does not have a Microsoft Office Diagnostics option under the menu or via start search :-(

Anonymous said...

OS: Windows 7 64 bit

Copied C:\Windows\System32\wisptis.exe to/replaced C:\Windows\SysWOW64\

No need to restart.

Paul W said...

I realise there hasn't been any recent comments, but I get this problem from time to time (reboot cures it, but that means dropping all my network connections, VPN etc)

One thing that does seem to work is this (weirdly)
Open excel
cut an empty cell
paste it
close not saving changes..

then when I click on snipping tool, I get the cross hairs but the screen doesn't grey out. If I snip something then click 'new' its all back to normal...

Very strange, like its emptying the clipboard or similar?

Adil Hindistan said...

Thanks for commenting Paul. Vista is going to be 'EOL' in a few months (April 2012). If anyone with the latest Service Packs are still seeing this issue, it's unlikely that it will get addressed at all.

One suggestion I would have is to use Procmon from Sysinternals if you can recreate issue. That might help understand what is causing the conflict.