Why is the Snipping Tool Missing on Vista

I’ve been running Vista Ultimate for the last couple of weeks – it’s been full of highs and lows, but I’m saving that for a future blog post.

But I ran into something interesting this morning when I went to use one of Vista’s little-known gems, the Snipping Tool. It’s a nifty little screen capture utility that I was very impressed with during the early betas. Unfortunately it was missing…

I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have it installed, so assumed that Microsoft must have removed it from the final RTM release. But I searched the help and found lots of info about the tool with screencasts showing how it is used. But in the screencast, you see a hand dragging around a stylus on a tablet screen – which reminded me that I had uninstalled the tablet PC software from the Windows features.

Turns out the snipping tool is marked as a tablet pc optional component and you can’t get it without installing the whole tablet pc pack. This seems like a bit of bloatware to me – the snipping tool is equally as useful on a non-tablet computer, so why do I need the hand-writing recognition software and the other tablet pc components too? Does this also mean that the lower-spec Windows versions don’t include the useful snipping tool, because they don’t have the tablet pc feature pack..?

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