How to screen record on Windows

Learn how to use the Game Bar to record video on your Windows PC.

The very idea of screen recording on Windows can feel intimidating. Downloading a new program, learning how to use it, and accessing the files is not everyone’s cup of tea. If only it were as simple as hitting PrtSc to take screenshots.

The good news is that your copy of the Windows 10 or Windows 11 operating system (OS) already has an app that allows you to screen record. The better news is that it’s pretty user-friendly despite some limitations. With just a few clicks, you’ll be recording the content of your apps pretty soon.

How do I record my screen on Windows 10?

Microsoft baked Xbox Game Bar into Windows 10 and Windows 11 to help you capture screenshots and videos while playing games. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a gamer to use the tool! You can use Game Bar to document content from many different apps besides games.

  1. Press Win+G on your keyboard to launch the Xbox Game Bar. You can also press the Xbox button on a connected Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller.
  2. Select the circle on the top-left corner of your screen to start recording. Alternatively, hit Win+Alt+R to start recording without using the Game Bar panel.
  3. Windows may ask you for your permission to record. Click Enable gaming features for this app to record gameplay to continue.
  4. Press the square button to stop recording. You can also hit the Win+Alt+R keys on your keyboard.

Where are the screen recording files stored?

You can click Show All Captures in the Game Bar app to access your recordings. You can also find your Game Bar screenshots here. Clicking Open in File Explorer will show you the location of your screen recordings. By default, the location should be C:\Users\(Username)\Videos\Captures.

How do I change the default save location for Xbox Game Bar?

You’ll notice your screen capture folder snowballing in size quickly if you record frequently. This can be problematic if you have limited space on the drive for your operating system. These steps can allow you to change the target location of your screen recording:

  1. Open your Windows search bar and type settings to find the Settings app.
  2. Click Gaming in the Settings app.
  3. Click Captures.
  4. Click Open Folder.
  5. Use the File Explorer to move the Captures folder to another location on your computer.

What are the limitations of the Game Bar app?

  • Even if your operating system has Game Bar, your computer must satisfy the system requirements.
  • The editing tools are limited. You may need a third-party app for more professional editing.
  • You can’t capture the entire desktop with Game Bar.
  • While Game Bar works with most apps, it doesn't with some programs, like File Manager.

Why isn’t Game Bar working?

Xbox Game Bar may not work on your PC if you don't have Windows 10, Windows 11, or the proper hardware. For example, your graphics card must support AMD VCE, NVIDIA NVENC, or the Intel Quick Sync H.264 or higher encoders. You may also need to enable screen recording on your computer with the following steps:

  1. Open your Windows search bar and type settings to find the Settings app.
  2. Click Gaming in the Settings app.
  3. Click Xbox Game Bar.
  4. Use the switch under Enable Xbox Game Bar to activate the app for screen recording, chatting with friends, or receiving game invites.

How do I record my screen on Windows 10 for free?

Xbox Game Bar is a built-in Windows 10 and Windows 11 app that allows you to record your screen for free. There are also several third-party screen capturing apps you can try. However, the best ones with the most robust editing tools aren’t free.

How do I video record on my laptop?

You can video record your screen on your laptop or desktop with the Xbox Game Bar app. But you must have the right operating system and graphics card. Most computers that can run Windows 10 should meet the requirements though.  

How to protect your privacy from screen recording

With screen recording tools available at everyone’s fingertips, you may be wondering how to protect your privacy. For example, someone can record your Zoom meeting without your consent using some types of recording software. To protect your privacy, use the app’s security features, or try Zoom watermarking to learn who is sharing and talking during the call.

Unfortunately, there's no surefire way to protect your privacy from screen recording completely. If someone with moderate computing skills is determined to record you during a video chat, they'll find a way. That’s why it's best to limit the sensitive information and media you share online. Educating young people in your family is also essential to help them avoid malicious entities like the shady scam bots tricking Omegle users into nonconsensual recordings.

To protect your computer against malware, including the types that can enable threat actors to access your computer, use an antivirus for Windows that protects you from malicious screen recording apps. For example, some surveillance software like Trojans, spyware, or stalkerware may secretly capture your screen. It’s also important to keep your system updated to patch system vulnerabilities, so read up on how to check for Windows updates and install them

Select your language