Screen capture for DOS

I had previously used:
GRABBER, screen capture program for DOS.

That program is not working well with later model
computers, not even with the XP operating system.

Screen Thief for DOS is much better anyway.
It works flawlessly under the XP operating system
and, very significantly, in DOSBox.

Here is the url to the zipped file:

Here is a copy of the README.TXT file which of course
is also included in the zipped file:

****** Screen Thief for DOS v2.01 ****** README.TXT ******

Welcome to Screen Thief for DOS.

The following instructions will show you how to install the
software and get up and running in next to no time.

Important Notes

This version of Screen Thief for DOS is only available as a
compressed ZIP archive from the Villa Software web site.
It may also have been obtained from other sources, but the
instructions here apply only to the ST201F.ZIP archive.

This document may refer to a manual. This was only available
to people who purchased the old registered versions. It is
not supplied with the Freeware version which you have here.
However, the program includes extensive on-line help, which
you should use to familiarise yourself with the program and
its capabilities.


To install Screen Thief for DOS, unzip the ST201F.ZIP archive
with a utility which can handle the ZIP archive format. You
should find enclosed five files:


Create a new directory somewhere on your hard disk and copy
these files over. You can delete the ZIP archive once you have
verified these files exist and the program runs correctly. We
suggest that you use the directory C:\ST. All later examples
assume this.

Running Screen Thief for DOS

To run Screen Thief with the default settings, change to the
"\ST" directory and simply type "ST". Screen Thief will then be
installed and you can run whatever program you need to grab a
screen from. To actually grab a screen, press the , 
and  keys together and you will hear a clicking noise from
your PC speaker as Screen Thief is working. The image file
produced will be in colour BMP format and given a name
consisting of the first 6 letters of the name of the program
currently being run followed by a number, eg, "FILENA01.BMP".
This file will be saved to the current directory but you can
specify a different directory when you run Screen Thief as


This will save all captured image files to the "C:\CAPTURE"

The Command Line

All of Screen Thief's operational characteristics are controlled
by command line parameters, mostly switches. Once installed, all
changes to the way Screen Thief operates can only be made via
the command line. All the various command line parameters are
covered in detail in the Reference Section of this manual, but
the more commonly used ones will be covered here. These
parameters are:

/OUTPUT Sets the Output Image File Format to either BMP, TIFF,
PCX or TXT. The default setting is BMP and the syntax of this
switch is /O:TIFF.

/MONO   Enables and disables Mono Translation, ie, producing a
black and white image. The default setting is disabled and the
syntax of this switch is /M+ to enable and /M- to disable.

/UNLOAD Removes Screen Thief from memory. This is the only way
to correctly remove Screen Thief from memory; do not use
programs such as MARK and RELEASE. The syntax of this switch is


To use Screen Thief to capture screens and output them in mono
PCX format to a directory called C:\PICTURES, type the following:


Once Screen Thief is loaded in this way, you could then, for
example, change the output file format by typing the following
from the \ST Directory:


Each time you make a change, the Screen Thief window will pop up
showing the new setup.

The SCREENTHIEF Environment Variable

If you regularly use a particular setup for Screen Thief that is
not the same as the default setup, you can avoid having to type
all the command line switches each time, as in the example
above, by using an environment variable. This is a string
containing the required command line parameters that is placed
in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file using the DOS SET command as in the
example below:


This will then use these parameters every time Screen Thief is
run, overriding the defaults so that you only need to type "ST"
to access your most used setup. The command line parameters will
override the environment variable so you can still run Screen
Thief differently as necessary.

The Screen Thief Configuration File

Although the Environment Variable allows you to set Screen Thief
up to a certain extent, you may have various configurations for
specific tasks that you would like to automate. This is possible
using the Configuration File. Any parameters on the command line
(or within the SCREENTHIEF environment setting) which do not
follow a switch character will first be compared against the
Configuration File. This is a simple text file such as can be
created with any text editor or word processor in ascii mode. It
must be called CONFIG.ST and exist in the same directory as the
ST executable file. 

Configuration entries are implemented in the same way as the
environment string, but each is preceded with a unique name.
Each configuration must start on a new line, with a maximum line
length of 255 characters including the config name. Any
characters beyond this are truncated. For example:


This allows easy switching between different configurations
based solely on a customer, project or user name. However, note
that any option changed in one configuration will need to be
changed in every other configuration unless valid for all cases.

Configuration names are allowed within the environment string
and on the command line. Multiple configuration names are also
permitted, but nesting is not. This means that a config entry
cannot name another within its command line. Configurations can
also be used in isolation or in addition to other command line

If no matching entry is found within the CONFIG.ST file Screen
Thief will then attempt to use it as an image file directory
name and check its validity accordingly.

The Help System

Screen Thief has an extensive help system that may be used in
one of two ways. Firstly, if an error occurs, the help system
will be automatically started, the error message displayed and
the correct subject highlighted. Simply press the right-arrow
key to expand the help screen for further information. Please
note that not all errors will produce this automatic help; some,
such as "Directory Non Existent" that are self-explanatory, just
bring up an error message and quit the program.

Secondly, the help system may be started without actually
loading Screen Thief, by typing "ST /?" from the "\ST"
directory. You will see the Screen Thief window on the screen at
this point containing a list of help subjects. Select the
subject you require using the up-arrow and down-arrow keys and
then press the right-arrow key to expand the help screen. Where
applicable, use the up-arrow and down-arrow or the page-up and
page-down keys to view the text in the expanded help screen. The
left-arrow key will return you to the list of help subjects.