We have a new team mate as a QA (software tester). He recently started to execute the regression suites in our application and reporting bugs. When reporting the bugs in TFS, he used to attach the screenshots in that.

The issue is, he used to take the screenshots with the browser's other tabs too (online music sites, movies in YouTube, and Twitter) and also he kept some other billing and banking sites as bookmarks in the browser, which are also captured in the screenshot. Also during our DRB call he used to present his screen and we used to discussed about the bugs, and that time also I can see the other tabs and the personal bookmarks.

I personally talked with him twice before in a friendly way, recommended him to use the Windows snipping tool to capture/crop the specific area of the application for the bugs, and avoid the other unwanted stuff in the screenshots. I also asked him to hide the bookmarks in the browser or keep them under a bookmark folder. He replied that he used to follow the same approach (kept unwanted stuff in the screenshot) at his previous company and didn't find any harm in it.

Since the TFS can be accessed by our clients, and they are reviewing the bugs most of the time, I don't want the clients to make any fun based on the screenshot or ask any questions about that.

Can I report this case to my leadership team to take action, or should I simply ignore this? Or is there a polished way to let him understand the issue to act?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user44108
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 13:00
  • alt+printscreen takes a screenshot of the current window. Perhaps this could already solve half the unwanted stuff being captured?
    – Wesley
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 7:39
  • Please clarify: are you a coworker-peer or supervisor here?
    – Yakk
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 19:24

8 Answers 8


He replied, he used to follow the same approach (kept unwanted stuff in SS) in his previous company and didn't find any harm in it.

Tackle his response. He is not in his previous company. This is not his previous job. You have, even if not written down (but you should have them), standards that you try to keep.
Explain that it may have security issues or that when he listen to music on autoplay he may be listening to "f**king B*tches, getting money" and it will show. And you are there to be professional. Is the same reason why we don't write shopping list on our presentations. It's not the needed information no the target care about it.

  • 33
    Don’t give this person an option, make it a requirement, when submitting bugs to snip the screenshot. If they continue to not do what is required, take the next steps, the employee obviously doesn’t listen to feedback.
    – Donald
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 12:25
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    It's also worth adding that he's a team mate - not a subordinate... this means if he says no; the best you can do is talk to the manager. If they don't want to take action then there's nothing more you can do... if OP is the only one with a problem with it, then it's OP that needs to change.
    – UKMonkey
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 14:18
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    Mentioning to management that his other tabs (showing YouTube, whatever else) are visible in screen shots that the customers will see will help motivate manager.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 19:09
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    @corsiKa It isn't a specific issue, but given that these screen shots are customer facing you are giving the customer scope to think "look at those clowns, they're a bunch of amateurs. Next time the contract is up, let's go with another group". And that will eventually affect the bottom line.
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 20:08
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    @corsiKa It's not the technology, but what is displayed in the tabs. EG As per the OP some things that have been captured include "billing and banking sites". I assume that these are personal sites of the tester in question. And that is not accounting for the client not having the same taste in music or youtube videos. Or to put it another way - "I may even buy the same brand of underwear as you do, but that doesn't mean during a business meeting I want to see your underwear"
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 20:16

You already talked two times with this colleague, so I wouldn't go back to him again. He didn't change things after the two first conversations, and if you go talk to him about this a third time, he'll probably just find you annoying and not listen to you.

The other problem is that you're framing this as a personal preference, something he has every right to ignore. It doesn't seem to be something that's bothering your other colleagues, or something that goes against company policy or good practices. So I would go to your team lead / senior member / manager, and share your concern. Not so that "action can be taken", but so that you gain more perspective on this issue and can act accordingly.

I was wondering about something. I noticed that when the new QA takes screenshots for bugs, he doesn't hide his tabs and bookmarks, some of which don't have anything to with our work. Is this something we should be concerned about, since clients review those ?

If they say no, then you drop it. You could eventually go to your coworkers and see what they think about it, and if enough are bothered by it talk about this issue in a group meeting or something, but I wouldn't. This seems a small issue, and it's going to seem weird that you make such a big fuss (several conversations with the QA, a conversation with someone senior, and then conversations with several colleagues) over a small thing.

If they say yes, they should also handle that conversation with the QA.

  • 5
    +1 for taking it to the team first, since the QA is a peer, not a subordinate. Perhaps OP is the only one thinking this is an issue. I can certainly see why it would be an issue, but maybe their industry's culture is a bit more laid back than mine.
    – zr00
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 15:30

This could be a security risk or data privacy violation if your colleague does not check what is visible on his screenshots.

Having some email opened in the background (even if you just see the subject in the tab or in the task bar) could expose confidential information. Visible email addresses or names could be a GDPR violation. Visible URLs might be used to hijack web sessions.

Even if he says that he checks the content: the more unnecessary stuff is visible in the screenshots, the more likely it is that some confidential information will be overlooked. Any reasonable person shouldn't argue against that.

  • 4
    On a site note it sounds like he's executing automated tests. It might be a good idea to also automate taking screenshot/screen recordings. That can save a lot of time.
    – kapex
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 19:23

I have no affiliation with the product or company, but take a look at Greenshot to meet in the middleground with the tester. It's like Windows Snipping Tool, but it'll override the screenshot key that your tester is used to using with a crosshair that he can drag over the area he wants to screenshot, then save to a proper folder.

With this you arent asking him to learn a new procedure or new set of tools, but use the exact same actions he does now and it'll keep both of you happy.

Again, not affiliated with Greenshot, but I use it every day for similar conversations with customers and software developers and it works wonders.

  • 9
    If he won't install a seperate tool, he should drag the tab into a new window. Hit F11 and use ALT+PrtScn. This will also give him a full screen grab. I think using a snipping tool is better but it sounds like this guy is pretty lazy.
    – Dustybin80
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 9:33
  • 4
    Given our site's context, this answer doesn't really seem to address the question which is about getting a colleague to follow reasonable instructions. Suggesting a different tool seems like it might partially avoid the actual problem, not solve it.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 13:28

If you’re his boss. Inform him of the company’s policy. If he refuses, handle it like any other under-performing performance.

If you’re not his boss, and you’ve mentioned company policy to him once, then go about your business doing your job. If his performance is affecting your ability to do your job, talk to your manager.


So can I inform this case to my leadership team to take action, or should I simply ignore this? Or is there a polished way to let him understand the issue to act?

I wouldn't suggest asking the team lead to take action yet. Seems like the issue can be resolved as a team. You already gave him a friendly advice, maybe point to him that clients are going to see the screenshots and it's going to look really unprofessional. If he doesn't understand the consequences behind all this, he's not going to want to change, especially if he always did it like this.

  • The real problem is in the words "to my team leadership to take action" - the OP asking the team (or business side) leadership if they share the concern would be fine, assuming that they will take action is not. Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 17:13
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    I think it's a valid concern; having personal sites in screenshots sent to clients has far greater risk than them "making fun of" anyone -- it's unprofessional, and clients often become wary of doing business with unprofessional vendors... next time your contract is up for renewal you might just find yourself on the receiving end of the business equivalent of a "Dear John" letter.
    – Doktor J
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 20:41
(By email) Hi NewTeamMate, just a friendly reminder -- could you make sure you crop your screenshots (e.g. using Snipping Tool) when you upload them to TFS please?

These are directly visible to the client and I'm afraid ThisCompany (put in your company) has a policy of being very 'clean' with client facing materials.

If he still does it after... forward that on to your manager to handle.


Possibly the screenshot issue may be missing the point.

For QA I want a clean browser configuration, with known and stable versions across a test session. Updating the browser should be a deliberate decision, and the same applies to selecting the browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, ...).

Few things are as bad as hunting a browser-dependent bug, only to find out that the QA machine and the Dev machine had different browser versions.

I'm a developer with a mostly-backend focus, not a tester with a frontend focus, but I have half a dozen browsers installed on my work PC. Only one of them has "non-technical" bookmarks, or the company intranet links for that matter, and that one is not used for testing.

  • A good use for a VM - snapshot a known configuration, clone as needed for testing. Need to test another version of something? New VM. Easy. As to the OPs issue, I have the same issue, but with my students. I find that giving a 0 ("I can't read the one line of output I asked for in this double monitor at 3840x1080 screen shot, so I can't give you a grade") works but I don't think our questioner has that option....
    – ivanivan
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 13:29

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