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How to screen record in Windows 10 computer - the universal guide

Want to capture a gameplay or app activity on your desktop for a tutorial, presentation, or online sharing? Here's how to perform screen recording on Windows 10 machines.

William Davis Updated on Mar 14, 2023 11:40 AM

Windows 10 Record Keypoints

  • To screen record on Windows 10, you can use the Xbox Game Bar that is pre-installed on every latest Windows operating system.
  • You can press the Windows Key + Alt + R for recording Windows 10 screen with Game Bar, or launch the tool from Start menu and find Capture pane to record.
  • Third-party app, like Appgeeker Screen Recorder, offers even more features with controls.

If you want to record your screen activity on your Windows 10 PC, there are several methods you can use.

While Microsoft encourages Windows 10 users to upgrade their computers to Windows 11, the tech giant will continue to pull active support for the former until October 14, 2025. Windows 10 and the newer Windows 11 actually have a lot of differences, but one thing both have in common is they each offer way for Windows screen recording.

If you need to know how to screen record on Windows 10, chances are you're creating a how-to tutorial, sharing something wonderful on the social media, or collaborating on a project.

Whether you want to capture your entire desktop or just a piece of the screen, there're a few easy ways to screen record in Windows 10. Here's how to use built-in screen recorder tool and other third-party apps for recording your screen in Windows 10, so you can decide which you like best.

Table of Contents

Xbox Game Bar: The built-in tool for Windows 10 screen recording

The easiest way to create recording of your screen on Windows 10 is by using the video capture function built in Xbox Game Bar. Available in Windows 10 and 11, the Xbox Game Bar tool is designed essentially to capture computer gaming sessions, but it's can also used to record app and screen activities, and capture any sound from Windows, your apps, or microphone.

The screen recording will be saved to your PC under a dedicated folder with MP4 format. You can enter Gallery section of Xbox Game Bar interface to view the recordings you've taken. You can also find your recorded MP4 videos by going to c:\users\[username]\Videos\Captures.

Also see: How to Record YouTube Videos on Mac

How to record screen on Windows 10 PC with Game Bar

The Xbox Game Bar is an overlay built in Windows 10 that works with most Windows apps and games to record the video and screenshot. Although the maximum screen recording length for Game Bar is 4 hours, it's enough for most people.

Here's how to use the Game Bar to record screen activity in Windows 10.

Step 1. Open the app to be recorded from your Windows 10 computer.

Note that the Xbox Game Bar doesn't record the Windows 10 desktop and File Explorer, nor screen record more than one app at a time, which means you can't switch to capturing another window, app or browser when you're performing a record. For those activities, you should use the more robust software for screen recording. We'll talk about it later in the next part.

Step 2. Press the Windows Key + Alt + R and the Game Bar starts screen recording. Alternatively, call out this built-in recording feature in Windows 10 by clicking Windows Key + G — which opens up a Xbox Game Bar toolbar on the top center of the Windows screen, and then hitting the Record button in the Capture widget.

Step 3. A recorder appears on the screen to monitor and control over your new recording.Press Windows Key + Alt + M to record audio from microphone. Press Windows Key + Alt + M again when you want to mute microphone.

Here, you can view the record time, temporarily pause (or resume) the capture. On the right side of the recorder interface, it also gives you an option to include sound recording from your microphone if you've plugged in, or exclude any voices to capture by muting the mic. By default, sounds from Windows system and app will be recorded.

Step 4. Click the Windows Key + Alt + R again to stop recording when you don't want more screen activities being captured. If you don't want to use shortcut to end your capture, you can choose to click the Stop button (red dot) in the small recorder.

Step 5. A "Game clip recorded" notification will briefly pop up to indicate you've just recorded a video on Windows 10. The video captured by the Game Bar will be saved as MP4 file automatically. If you quickly click on the notification, Xbox Game Bar will open a Gallery window where lists all your recorded videos and you can preview the recordings in the built-in player.

If the notification disappears before you can click it, you can also find your screen recording by going to Capture widget and then hitting See my captures option underneath the screenshot and recording buttons there to open Gallery window, see image below.

Quick tip: You can find your screen recordings folder by opening File Explorer (press the Windows key + E) on your PC and clicking Videos > Captures.

Also see: How to Transfer Videos from Windows 11 to iPhone without iTunes

Useful settings for screen recording with Windows 10 Game Bar

There are some very nice extras in this Windows 10 Xbox screen recorder, such as being able to enable background recording even if you don't actively record your screen. You get plenty of control over your recording, including enabling audio capture, changing output balance, tweaking video quality. You can find them in Settings > Gaming > Captures.

Open folder. Clicking it will quickly access your recorded mp4 files on your PC. You can also choose a different folder to save your recordings.

Background recording. Once you enable the switch, the Game Bar gives you ability to capture the last 30 seconds of your previous plays while you're playing a game. This is an automatic recording in the background even if you weren't actively screen recording the gameplay.

Maximus recording length. It defaults to 2 hours, but you can set it up to 4 hours if you want a long time screen recording on your Windows 10 computer.

Record audio when I record a game. You get full control of how you want to record the sounds. By default, the Game Bar records system audios from Windows 10 or running apps and the sound from the game, but you can exclude the recording of system sounds by checking the Record game audio only box. You can also enable Turn mic on by default I record box to capture voice from your mic when you're recording your video, and change its balance.

Video frame rate. You can switch between 30 and 60 fps.

Video quality. Select standard or high.

Capture mouse cursor in recordings. Depending on your needs, you may want to include a mouse cursor to record while you're capturing screen activities for a demo, or exclude it if you're screen recording in Windows 10 for a game.

Appgeeker Screen Recorder: Recording activity on Windows 10 and Windows 11

Xbox Game Bar isn't perfect for its screen recording feature as it only can work with one app each time and cannot capture the whole Windows desktop. If you're looking for a professional screen capture tool for Windows 10 with more flexibility, you may go with a third-party program named Appgeeker Screen Recorder.

It is the full-featured Windows 10 screen recording software, helping your record your entire screen, a window, or a specific area for creating a presentation, software demonstration, tutorial, or anything else. With this Windows screen recorder app, you have full control over output settings and save your captured videos in a lot of formats.

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For those who need to record something periodically, like online meeting, you can even set a schedule recording task. After a recording is finished, you're able to preview your capture with its inbuilt media player, and further cut off unnecessary parts in the recording.  

How to record the Windows 10 screen

With a few simple clicks, you're able to use Appgeeker screen recorder software to easily capture Windows 10 apps, game, internal sound, mic voice, as well as record Windows desktop, File Explorer that Xbox Game Bar lacks support. Here's how to screen record on Windows 10.

1. Run the Screen Recorder

Run the tool on your computer and you will see its main interface. To record a video on your Windows 10 screen, click "Video Recorder" to go on.

2. Configure recording options

In the next window, choose "Full" to record the entire screen of Windows 10, or opt to select "Custom" to select an area on the screen manually that you would like to capture.

Next, you will want to record and control your audio while capturing the screen. You're able to enable the corresponding switches to record background sound (Windows system or apps), or microphone audio, or both; or mute them all if you don't want any sounds captured.

Compared with the Game Bar, another nice thing about this Windows 10 recording software is that you can record your face if you turn on the Webcam option. It can be very useful for those who want to insert a picture-in-picture in a game recording or online class.

3. Record on your Windows 10 screen

When you have all things set, simply click the orange "REC" button on the right side and the screen recording on the Windows 10 PC begins. You will see a toolbar popping up on the bottom of the recording screen.

4. Perform whatever actions you want

When the screen is recording with the software, you can do anything you want to capture inside the screen. Appgeeker Windows 10 screen recorder enable you to take screenshot, make annotation, and create schedule task through the options located on the right side of the toolbar.

5. Save the recording to PC

Click the "Stop" (a red square) button on the toolbar to stop a recording. You will be prompted with a preview of your recording, from there you can view and edit the recorded video. The recording itself is saved as an MP4 file.

If you're not satisfied with the video, you can discard it by clicking "Back" button at the lower right corner of the window and start a new screen recording again.

See detailed user guide of using Appgeeker Screen Recorder on Windows 10, 11 or Mac.

Also see: How to Watch Blu-ray in Windows 11

Third-party screen capture apps for Windows

If you're unsatisfied with the Xbox Game Bar when recording the activity with audio, there are some other third-party screen Windows 10 capture tools worth considering, each with its own extra offerings.

  • OBS is a free screen recording application designed to record the whole screen of Windows 10 or Windows 11. It has a friendly wizard that walks you through the steps to set up a video recording task. And it outputs the recorded clips in MP4 format.
  • ScreenRec is another free tool that allows you to take Windows screen record and screenshot. It also lets you annotate your recordings, as well as the option to create a link to share them.
  • Snagit is a desktop-based screen recording utility available for Windows and macOS. With it, you can record screen activity, take full-page screenshot, create animated GIF, and export your files to cloud storage across operating systems. The recorded video can be shared to Google Drive, or YouTube.
  • PowerPoint is a staple program integrated in the Microsoft Office suite, but it also includes a basic record function in Insert tab for capturing your screen activities that is happening on Windows 10 and Windows 11.
  • Debut from NCH is one of the best screen recorders for Windows 10 and it's free. Though it has a slightly odd and old-fashioned interface but it offers enough options to record your screen, webcam, and sound from your computer, and the final videos can be saved as avi, wmv or other formats.
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