Snapshot plugin for Take Command / TCC / TCC/LE

Version     2023-10-16

Charles Dye


This plugin provides a command to save a snapshot of the current console screen buffer, reload the snapshot file later on, and display basic information about snapshot files. Snapshot files save all of the text and color in the console buffer, plus the current cursor position, code page info, the computer name, and a time stamp. You can save your console data with SNAP and restore it later with SNAP /R, even in a different console session or after rebooting. You can even copy a snapshot file to a different computer and resume your console session there.


To use this plugin, copy Snapshot.dll to some known location on your hard drive. (If you are still using the 32-bit version of Take Command, take Snapshot-x86.dll instead of snapshot.dll.) Load the plugin with a PLUGIN /L command. For example:

plugin /l c:\bin\tcmd\test\snapshot.dll

If you copy the .dll file to a subdirectory named PlugIns within your Take Command program directory, the plugin will be loaded automatically when TCC starts.

Syntax Note:

The syntax definitions in the following text use these conventions for clarity:

BOLD CODEindicates text which must be typed exactly as shown.
CODEindicates optional text, which may be typed as shown or omitted.
Bold italicnames a required argument; a value must be supplied.
Regular italicnames an optional argument.
ellipsis…after an argument means that more than one may be given.

New Command:

SNAP — Save, restore, or show information about console snapshot files.

To save the console to a snapshot file:

SNAP /O /Q filename

/Ooverwrite an existing file

If no filename is specified, or if it names a directory, a name will be generated based on the date and time. Quote the filename if it contains spaces or other special characters. If the file already exists and you didn’t specify /O, you’ll get an error message.

snap myscreen.snap

If the action succeeds, the filename will be stored in the _LASTSNAP internal variable. If it fails for any reason, _LASTSNAP will be set to *ERROR*.

(The .snap extension is a suggestion only. You can give snapshot files any extension you like, or none at all.)

To restore the console from a snapshot file:

SNAP /R /Q filename


The filename is required. Quote it if it contains spaces or other special characters.

snap /r myscreen.snap

The previous contents of the console screen buffer will be lost. The console window will not be moved, but it may be resized to better accomodate the screen buffer layout. Note that SNAP cannot resize Take Command tabs. If you try to load a snapshot file into a Take Command tab window and the console image is a different size than the tab window, then SNAP will will exit with an error message.

• Note: SNAP /R replaces the REVIEW command from earlier versions of this plugins. If you want to use the old command, you can create an alias:

alias review=snap /r

To show information about snapshot files:

SNAP /I /N: /S filename…

/N:disable features:
   D — do not search into hidden directories (only useful with /S)
   E — do not display file-not-found errors
   J — do not search into junctions (only useful with /S)
   O — skip non-Snapshot files
   S — do not show footers
   Z — do not search into system directories (only useful with /S)
/Ssearch into subdirectories

You may supply multiple filenames. Wildcards ? and * are supported. If no filename is given, the default is all files in the current directory.

snap /i *.snap

Note: SNAP /I replaces the SNAPINFO command from earlier versions of this plugins. If you want to use the old command, you can create an alias:

alias snapinfo=snap /i

New Variable:

_LASTSNAP — Return the filename of the last snapshot.

This variable is useful because the SNAP command will automatically generate a filename if one was not specified. The returned filename will be enclosed in double quotes (whether they are needed or not.) If any error was detected when taking the last snapshot, the string *ERROR* will be returned instead. If the SNAP command has not been called yet, _LASTSNAP returns an empty string.

Startup Message:

This plugin displays an informational line when it initializes. The message will be suppressed in transient or pipe shells. You can disable it for all shells by defining an environment variable named NOLOADMSG, for example:

set /e /u noloadmsg=1

Snapshot File Format:

A snapshot file consists of a 40-word header, followed by a series of data words. Data words are either screen characters or special codes. Offsets and sizes are all given in words, not bytes.

— Snapshot File Format —
0Signature40x6E53 0x7061 0x6873 0x746f — magic signature used to identify snapshot files
4Header version1always 1 in this version
5Year1if 0, the entire time stamp is considered absent/invalid
6Date1month in the high byte, day in the low byte
7Time1hour in the high byte, minute in the low byte
8Second1seconds in the low byte; day of the week in the high byte
9UTC Bias2difference between local time and UTC, in minutes
11Console columns1columns in the console screen buffer, e.g. 80 for an 80-column console
12Console rows1rows in the console screen buffer, e.g. 1000 for a 1000-row console buffer
13Cursor column1column location of the cursor within the screen buffer
14Cursor row1row location of the cursor within the screen buffer
15Color1default screen attributes; the “current color” is initially set from this value
16Input code page2 
18Output code page2usually the same as the above
20Window rows1height of the visible portion of the screen buffer, in character rows
211unused; always 0 in this version
22Checksum2CRC32 of raw console buffer data
24Computer name16NetBIOS computer name (Unicode)
40datascreen characters, and other codes as below

— Special Codes in File Data —
ValueNameFollowed bySizeNotes
0xFFF9RepeatCodecount  char3repeat character char count times; if count = 0, repeat 65536 times
0xFFFARepeatSpaceCodecount2repeat space count times; if count = 0, repeat 65536 times
0xFFFBEscapeCodechar2treat char literally, not as a special code; used to protect any value ≥ 0xFFF0
0xFFFCColorCodeattr2use screen attribute attr for following characters
0xFFFDEndOfDataCode1no more data follows; fill to end of buffer with spaces in the default color


This plugin was inspired by the SAVECON and RSTRCON commands in older versions of Vincent Fatica’s 4CONSOLE plugin. The idea is the same as Vincent’s, but the implementation and file format are different. A snapshot file is usually less than half the size of an equivalent SAVECON file.

I compress the binary using UPX. The shutter sound effect is from (dead link; try via the WayBack Machine). The CRC-32 code was lifted almost unchanged from Practical Algorithms for Programmers by Andrew Binstock and John Rex, Addison-Wesley, 1995.

Registry Silence:

By default, SNAP and SNAP /R make a sound to signal successful operation. In both modes, you can use /Q to disable the sound. If you prefer, you can also create a registry value to disable sounds:

Registry key:HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\JPPlugins\Snapshot (checked first)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JPPlugins\Snapshot (checked if the value Quiet does not exist in the above)
Value name:Quiet
Value type:REG_DWORD
Data:any nonzero value will disable sounds

Changes: ShowCmdHelp() to include VER_PATCH. the plugin’s web address. ParseArgs.cpp to the current version.
1.2.02021-09-13Major rewrite to combine the old REVIEW and SNAPINFO commands into SNAP, and to support high-order Unicode characters. Reduced the plugin’s memory usage. Now SNAP /I supports /S to search into subdirectories. Much cleanup of the code. Added the ability to disable sounds through the registry. Changed the filenames; now Snapshot.dll is the 64-bit build. Tweaked the version info structure.
1.1.02014-10-29Changes for TCC v17 compatibility.
1.0.22013-04-23Converted to Visual Studio 2010; updated the plugin’s web address.
1.0.12011-02-22SNAP filename is now optional; added _LASTSNAP; fixed exit codes for internal commands.
1.0.02011-01-07Initial release.

Status and Licensing:

This plugin is © Copyright 2023, Charles Dye. Unaltered copies of the binary and documentation files may be freely distributed without restriction. I make no guarantee and give no warranty for its correct operation. If you find bugs, you can report them in the JP Software support forum.


You can download the current version of the plugin from