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How to screen record on Windows 10 desktop and laptop - 4 easy ways

The built-in Xbox Game Bar can record screen of the game and app on computer, and there are many of other tools available. Here's how to make Windows screen record.

Alex Griffith Updated on Jan 7, 2023 3:17 PM

Summary: You can screen record a Windows 10 computer with built-in Xbox Gamebar for gameplay or other applications, and the video you recorded will be saved in MP4 file. Before you can screen record, be sure to enable the Xbox Game Bar switch in Start menu > Settings > Gaming. To begin your screen recording, you'll want to use Windows Key + Alt + R shortcuts, or press Windows Key + G to launch Game Bar and then record from the Capture widget.

If you're aiming for professional recordings with more flexibility, you may want to use a third-party app like Screen Recorder. It does a reliable job and is fairly easy to use.

How to record a Windows 10 screen

You're able to do screen recording with audio on Windows 10 machine using built-in gamebar or third-party apps.

While taking a screenshot on a modern computer or phone is pretty simple and easy, there will come a time when you'll want to know how to screen record in a Windows 10 computer—whether you're sharing fantastic gameplay on the social media, or you want to making an application tutorial for your YouTube channel. Also see: How to record YouTube video on Mac.

Quick Answer - Xbox Game Bar

The Windows 10 has always made it easy to perform screen recording tasks. It comes with a free built-in screen recorder tool—a part of the Xbox Game Bar—that allows screen recording game clips, screenshot as well capturing non-gaming app activity in Windows 10 PC.

Unfortunately, the fact remains that its screen recording capability is yet somewhat rudimentary. The Game Bar can't record activity in the whole Windows screen, File Explorer, and some apps, such as Weather; and it's limited to support screen recording of one application at a time.

This post will cover how to use the Xbox Game bar built into the Windows 10 to screen record a video while you're playing a game or running a desktop application. We'll also discuss some useful tools such as Screen Recorder that can make it easier and more effective.

Table of Contents

Record screen in Windows 10 using Xbox Game Bar

On Windows 10 laptop and desktop, it allows screen recording Windows game activity with the Game bar tool that comes installed by default, and get video in MP4 format in Gallery section (or Videos/Captures folder). Don't let the name fool you, the Xbox Game Bar tool can also record activities from other regular apps, not just the games you're playing on the PC.

However, Windows Xbox screen recording utility only capture from a single application at a time, and Microsoft adds File Explorer as well as the Windows desktop to the list of excluded items while running this Xbox screen recorder app. If you want to record the screen of Windows 10 UI, or capture videos of multiple apps running on the computer, you will want to use the screen recorders outlined later in this article.

How to enable Xbox Game Bar in Microsoft Windows 10

To activate this free screen recording tool, navigate to Start menu > Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar, and turn the switch to ON position. You will also want to enable "Open Xbox Game Bar using this button on a controller" option if you're connecting an Xbox 360 or Xbox One Controller to your PC. When you're ready, let's dive in.

You'll find the Xbox Game Bar under Gaming section in Settings if it's disabled.

How to screen record in Windows 10 PC with Game Bar:

1. Open the app you're going to record screen.

2. Press the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + Alt + R to begin recording screen activity. Or, click the Windows Key + G on your keyboard to open Xbox Game Bar, select the Capture from several Game Bar widgets, and then press the Start Recording button. For those who want to record a full-screen PC game, it allows starting by pressing Windows Key + Alt + G.

Tip: if your PC is connecting with a Xbox Controller, you may also press the Xbox button on the controller to open the Gamebar.

3. Perform whatever screen actions you want to record.

4. It will start screen recording immediately, and capture everything on your screen. A small floating bar should appear in the upper-right corner of the screen, indicating the amount of time recorded.

You will see a small float bar appearing on the screen to signal that you're now recording.

While recording, the Xbox floating bar also comes with Mic option on the right side to capture audio from your microphone. By default, this records the sounds from your mic, but you can turn it off if you want to disable the audio recording.

5. When you've finished recording, press the Windows Key + Alt + R again. You can also go to the floating bar and click the Record button (blue circle with a square in) again.

Once you ends screen recording, a notification lets you know that the game clip is recorded. By default, your screen recordings will be save to Gallery widget of the Xbox Game Bar as .mp4 files. If you want to view your recorded files, click on the notification and you'll be presented with Gallery widget to preview them. You will also access and play those videos your recorded in C:\Users\[username]\Videos\Captures on your PC.

Press Windows key + G to open Gamebar and video recordings from Gallery.

Settings for free screen recording with Xbox Game Bar

Xbox Game Bar allows for further tweaking of how the tool operates when recording apps or games that you play. This can be really useful if the default settings are not good enough for your screen recording in Windows 10 PC.

Head to Start menu > Settings > Gaming > Capture, you'll be given a number of settings to control how you want to record screen—it doesn't matter you're capturing a gameplay or a desktop app. You may get more details here: Adjust capture settings on Windows.

Before recording a game or app, you have a lot of options to configure the Xbox gamebar.

How to save to a different folder: Choose where on your PC the app & game videos you recorded will be stored to.

Record in the background while I'm playing a game. Choose whether you want to make a background recording of a game. When you enable background recording feature and open Game Bar, it allows monitoring the gameplay that runs on the computer and automatically recording up to 30 seconds of the last moments that just happened in the game. After 30 seconds, it will turn recordings off.

The "Recorded Audio" and "Recorded Video" fields are where you can control output of screen record.

Maximus recording length. The longest amount of time that can be used to screen record on a computer is 4 hours. This setting is "2 hours" by default and we recommend leaving it as such.

Record audio when I record a game. Once it's enabled, you can have the Xbox Game bar remember the exact settings for recording audio from microphone, or system sounds from Windows, or both entirely. You also get full control of mic and system volume individually.

Turn mic on by default I record. Use your microphone to record audio on Windows.

Audio quality: You can choose bitrates of your audio from 96 to 192. But to get a decent quality, we recommend just leave it the way it is—128kbps is a good compromise.

Record game audio only. Enabling it will mute any other sound coming through the microphone, Windows system, or apps, and only capture game audio.

Video frame rate. By default, Game Bar records screen at 30 frames per second (fps), but you can switch between 30 and 60 fps.

Video quality. Depending on your needs, you can record video in standard or high quality.

Capture mouse cursor in recordings. This will highlight your mouse cursor during a app or game screen recording, which can be super useful when you want your viewers to follow you and better understand what you're doing.

How to screen record in Windows 10 using AppGeeker Screen Recorder software

If you're looking for a full-featured Windows 10 screen recorder for capturing anything from computer, including the multiple app activities Windows desktop as well as File Explorer that Windows Xbox Game Bar lacks, you can't miss Appgeeker Screen Recorder.

The program has a great reputation as a solid recording tool which can do everything from the most popular video and audio recording to game record to window record to webcam record to screenshot, and include phone record as well as last record that is specifically designed for producing a clip of the last moments of recorded content. It features a truly pleasing interface that makes your recording tasks a breeze.

Download Now!

for Windows | for macOS

As you might expect, Appgeeker Screen Recorder offers a wealth of options to enhance your recording experience — you can choose record a full screen, or just a port the window; enable/disable webcam, system sound as well microphone voice for your recording; show mouse cursor, output in different formats; trim, crop, compress, merge, and convert your recorded videos, and more. It is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Follow these steps to record screen in Windows 10

Step 1: Launch the program

Open this Screen Recorder software on your Windows 10 laptop or desktop once installation is complete. You'll get an easy-to-understand interface as shown below.

We're going to recording the screen on the computer, so here select "Video Recorder." If you're recording a video while playing Windows 10 games, select "Game Recorder" instead.

Step 2: Configure necessary settings

In this step, you'll want to control how you want to record your video. You can click the Full button to select the entire screen to record, or select Custom and select the area you just want to record on the screen. You can then use Webcam to make a picture-in picture video, and capture sound from system or microphone — it's all up to you.

This screen recorder for Windows 10 and Windows 11 also comes with a range of customization settings, covering recording, output, sound, camera, mouse, hotkeys. You can use them to make adjustments if desired.

Step 3: Record your screen in Windows 10

Double check that all settings are how you want, then click the orange "Rec" button on the right of the program window to begin capturing the screen activity on the computer.

Step 4: Save the video locally

Click the "Stop" button (the red square) to stop screen recording on your Windows 10 computer. A new window will open, giving you a handy video trimmer tool to trim and cut video to the perfect length before saving to your local hard drive. It outputs the recorded videos in MP4 format (H.264+AAC) by default.

You can find your recordings by clicking the "Recording history" located on the lower left corner of the program window.

That's it! If you're new to screen recording on Windows, Appgeeker Screen Recorder is good place to start thanks to its easy to navigate interface with all of the necessary features. No matter you're a gamer, Youtuber, vlogger, or streamer, for work or business, you will record anything that's happening in an easy way.

Also see: How to recover emptied Recycle Bin in Windows 10

Screen recording a full Windows 10 screen via OBS

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is a completely free and open-source program for video recording and live streaming. If you're looking for an alternative to Xbox Game Bar in Windows 10 to record the entire desktop, capture File Explorer, and multiple windows for your running apps, OBS is an option to go. It works well in Windows 10 and newer Windows 11.

To use OBS to record a screen for free, run it on your Windows 10 computer after it's downloaded and installed. To simplify your task, you may click "Optimize just for recording, I will not be streaming" to run the auto-configuration wizard. This will test your system automatically and configure the most appropriate settings for your screen capture.

Under Source section at the bottom, Click + icon to add your sources for video. By default, OBS does not capture any video of your screen.

To record everything on a screen, select "Display Capture" from the list.

There are a lot of other sources you can capture from. Select "Game Capture" if you want to capture a game, select "Window Capture" for non-game applications on the Windows, and "Video Capture Device" is mainly for a webcam or card record.

After that, you will want to change the file name and then click OK.

Go ahead and select your display if you have more than one monitor, followed by OK.

Configure your video recording settings (optional). If you know what you're doing, you may go to File > Settings, and tweak all your recording settings such as audio, video, output. If you don't just leave it alone.

Change the sound volume for your recording. At the bottom of the window, you can drag the volume bar's slider to the left and right to adjust its volume level. If you have a microphone plugged into your computer, here you should get another Mic/Aux volume bar slider.

By default, OBS will record audio from both your default audio input device and applications running on the computer. If you're only interested in the video of your screen but not the audio, you can mute all the sliders.

Once you're satisfied, you can go on to creating your video. Simply click the "Start Recording" button in Controls section located in the lower right of the window. Let OBS do its screen recording on your PC.

When you are done, tap the blue "Stop Recording" button.

That's how you do Windows 10 screen recording free using OBS Studio. You can find your recording file in Video folder on your hard drive. To ensure that the file won't get corrupted, OBS keep the recording format as MKV. But you can go to File > Remux Recordings and import the captured video to convert into MP4 file type. You can also change the output to MP4 or MOV files under File > Settings > Output > Recording format.

Related article: How to screen record on Windows 11.

Capture screen in Windows 10 in Microsoft PowerPoint

1. To free record your Windows 10 screen and audio, open a new presentation in PowerPoint and click the Insert tab.

You'll find screen recording option from Insert tab.

2. Click the Screen Recording button in the Media Ribbon. It will minimize your PowerPoint presentation and displays a Control Dock at the top center of the desktop screen, just like the image below.

3. Select the screen area to record. Click the Select Area (Windows key + Shift + A), and a cross-haired cursor appears. Click and drag your cursor to select the area of the screen you want to record. It will then show a red, dashed rectangle around the area. Anything appearing inside the rectangle will be captured.

Tip: To choose the entire screen for recording, you may use Windows key + Shift + F shortcuts.

Use the Control Dock to record your screen.

4. Determine whether PowerPoint records your audio and capture the mouse pointer as you move around the screen.

By default, both Audio and Record Pointer options on the Control Dock are selected automatically. You can turn either off by deselect Audio (Windows key + Shift + U) or Record Pointer (Windows key + Shift + O) before beginning your screen recording.

5. Open the program, video, or whatever content you want to record and ensure the content appears within the red recording rectangle.

6. Click the Record button (Windows key + Shift + R) to start recording. Your recording will go live after a three-count countdown. The Control Dock disappears while recording, but you can push the mouse cursor at the top of the screen to make it reappear.

During screen recording on your Windows, you can use the Pause button from the Dock to stop the recording temporarily; press the Record again to let PowerPoint continue to screen record.

Select Pause to delay screen recording for a while.

7. After you finish your recording in PowerPoint, click Stop to end the recording. You can also use keyboard shortcuts Windows key+Shift+Q to stop recording.

The recording will automatically insert into the current slide in your PowerPoint. To save your screen recording as a separate file on your Windows 10 PC, do the following:

  • Right-click the video frame of recording, and select Save Media as from the menu.
  • In the Save Media as dialog box that opens, choose a folder location
  • In the File name box, type a name for the file.
  • Click Save.

Done! You have successfully recorded Windows 10 screen and saved the recording through PowerPoint.

The screen recording feature works well on computers that have Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 or newer, and updated versions of PowerPoint 2013. To use this feature in older version of PowerPoint 2013, install the updates here.


Does Windows 10 come with a free screen recorder?

Yes. The Xbox Game Bar comes pre-installed and is free to use for screen recording on Windows 10 and Windows 10 machines. With Game Bar, you can capture your screen while playing a PC game or activity from other apps. If it's not available, you can install it from Microsoft Store.

Where can I find the Windows 10 screen recorder?

You can access the Windows 10 screen recorder —Xbox Gamebar— by using Windows key + G, then opening Capture widget from there to start your work; or directly start your recording using Windows key + Alt + R.

How can I capture my screen on Windows 10 without software?

PC users can take integrated free screen recording feature in Xbox Game Bar that comes preinstalled in Windows 10 and Windows 11. With it, you can create recordings of up to 4 hours at a time, including sound from your microphone.

Where do recordings captured by Xbox Gamebar save in Windows 10?

Screen activities recorded with the built-in Game Bar are stored by default to the This PC > Videos > Captures folder. You can also go into the Gallery widget of Xbox app to find your recorded files.

Xbox Game Bar won't come up when I press Windows key + G, what's wrong?

Before recording the Windows screen with Xbox Game Bar, ensure that you've turned on Xbox recording feature. Head to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar, and set "Enable Xbox Game Bar for things like recording game clips, chatting with friends, and receiving game invite" to On.

If Xbox Game Bar doesn't appear when you're recording from a full-screen game, try pressing Windows key + Alt + R to start or stop recording a clip.

Xbox Game Bar doesn't work and gets "screen recording isn't working" error?

You may try the following steps to fix issue of Xbox Gamebar not working:

1. Reset the Windows Store Cache: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box, type wsreset.exe, and then select OK.

2. Run the Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter: go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters. Select Windows Store apps from the list and hit Run the troubleshooter.

3. Re-install the Xbox Game Bar on the PC.

4. More about Troubleshoot Xbox Game Bar on Windows.

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