In Windows there is a less known facility that is really quite useful. I can’t recall now if it exists in XP, but I’m sure it must. The idea is that with your favorite apps, having a ready keystroke to launch them can save time, and is at times the only way to get things just the way you want them. A bit ambiguous – that latter part of the last sentence, but I will explain.
First, in Windows 7, there is the option of pinning your app to the taskbar. While it’s running, just right click on the application from the task bar and choose “pin to taskbar”. For example with Notepad running, I chose to do exactly that.
Now, to take screenshots, at times it can be tricky, like in the middle of this right-click. Launching an app then is not the solution. So, to do this, you can find the app using the Windows pearl’s search. Then right click and choose properties.
Now click into the area where it says shortcut key. To choose the keystroke combo, just use it there. So, in my case once I clicked into that textbox, I just pressed CTRL+SHIFT+S on the keyboard and I was done.
Specifically in the case of the snip tool, sometimes even that doesn’t seem to work out the best way. So, I’ve found that after launching it and canceling the immediate screen grab, I choose the right scene and then hit CTRL+SHIFT+PrtSc on my keyboard.