If you need to record a video of what you’re doing in Windows then there are various ways to do it and some of them are surprisingly easy to do.
We’ve written before about how to easily capture gameplay footage to share on YouTube and other sites, but if you’re looking to record non-gameplay things then that’s possible too.
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How to record with Xbox Game Bar
Don’t be confused here, although the Xbox Game Bar has “game” in its title it can still be used to record your actions within Windows as well. So if there’s a particular window or application you’re looking to record it’s easy enough to do with just a few clicks.
For most uses, the Xbox Game Bar may well be the easiest way to record footage in Windows too as it’s built into Windows as standard, so doesn’t require any extra downloads. As long as you’re running Windows 10 or Windows 11 then you can follow these steps to start recording.
You can only use this method to record one window or application though, not the entire desktop or everything that’s happening in Windows.
- Click on the program you want to record to ensure it’s the main focus
- Then press the Windows key and G on your keyboard at the same time to open the Xbox Game Bar
- In the top left look for the “capture” box
- Click the record button (the circle)
- Press Win and G again to close the overlay and carry out the action you’re trying to record
- When you’re done open up the Xbox Game Bar and click stop
- You’ll then find the recorded footage under the “videos” folder in Windows Explorer
Alternatively, you can both start and stop recording without even opening the Xbox Game Bar. To do this just press ALT+WIN+R to start recording and then ALT+WIN+R to stop the recording. You can also press ALT+WIN+M to turn your mic on and off while recording in case you need a commentary or voice-over for the video.
Videos captured this way are saved in MP4 format, so are easily editable in your favourite video editing software.
Recording Windows footage with GeForce Experience
Although Nvidia’s GeForce Experience is mostly aimed at gamers, it too can be used to record things in Windows. This is another free and relatively easy way to record in Windows with ease.
If you’re running a gaming PC with an Nvidia graphics card then the chances are you have Nvidia’s GeForce Experience installed already. If not then we’d suggest it’s worth it as it not only makes it easy to record videos but also to keep your graphics card drivers up to date.
Like Xbox Game Bar, you just need a couple of key presses in order to get started. Press ALT+Z to open the overlay.
You’ll need to tweak some settings in order to allow recording of your desktop. There are some privacy settings in place as standard to stop you from accidentally recording private things so you just need to adjust these first.
To do this:
- Press ALT+Z to open the overlay
- Click the settings cog on the right-hand side
- Scroll down to “privacy control” and click
- Click to turn on desktop capturing
This will then allow you to record your screen in Windows.
To start recording Windows activity you can then just click on record and “start recording”. Alternatively, you can press ALT+F9 to start recording and then press ALT+F9 again to stop recording when you’re finished.
When you’re done you’ll find the recordings in your videos folder in Windows Explorer.
Recording Windows with OBS Studio
Open Broadcast Studio (aka OBS Studio) may be one of the most powerful ways to record on a Windows machine, Mac or Linux PC. It’s a free download and fairly straightforward to use.
If you’re looking solely to record footage and nothing else then grab this. Download and install the software and when you first run it you’ll be run through a wizard which asks whether you want to optimise for streaming or recording. Pick recording and follow the prompts there.
The easiest way to then record your actions is to use display recording to grab everything happening on your monitor.
- On the bottom left of OBS Studio you’ll see a box marked “sources”
- At the bottom of that, there’s a plus icon. Click that to add a source.
- From the list, select display capture and then select the monitor you want to capture
- Then click ok
- On the right-hand side, under controls, click “start recording”
- Minimise OBS Studio and go about your business
- Once you’re finished, open the app again and click stop recording
- As default, you’ll find recordings stored under C:UsersXXXXVideos
Alternatively, you can use hotkeys to start and stop recording. You can find these and set your own shortcuts by clicking on settings on the bottom right and then navigating to hotkeys.
If you don’t want to record your entire monitor, you can alternatively select to just record specific apps. To do that, repeat the steps above but instead of selecting “display capture” choose “window capture” and then select the specific window you want to record from the drop-down. This can be helpful for eliminating accidental recordings of unnecessary things that you’d then need to edit – like you minimising and maximising OBS Studio for example.
Under the settings, you can also choose to add your microphone if you need a voice-over or commentary for your video.
Note that as standard recordings in OBS are saved as MKV files. This helps if OBS crashes but can be pain for other uses. Don’t worry though, as it’s easy to convert MKV files to MP4. When you’re finished recording click “file” in the top left menu of OBS Studio and then click “Remux Recordings”. Click the dots and find the files you want to convert and then click remux. Job done.