How to Use Windows 10’s Built-in Screen Capture Tool

windows game bar recording

Windows 10 can record a video of your screen without any third-party software. Here’s how to find and use Windows 10’s easy-to-use Capture utility to record your display.

The Game Bar Isn’t Just for Gaming

Windows 10’s screen capture tool is part of the Xbox Game Bar. Despite what the name implies, the Game Bar is for more than just gaming. In this guide, we’ll be using it to make screen recordings.

The tool will capture a video of your screen in H.264 MP4 format.

RELATED: 6 Great Features in Windows 10’s New Game Bar

Screen recording is part of the “Capture” widget, which is accessed through the Game Bar’s “Widget Menu” feature. To use the Widget menu, you’ll need Windows 10’s May 2019 update or later.

How to Launch Screen Capture on Windows 10

First, press Windows+G to launch the Game Bar. Alternatively, you can open the Start menu and launch the “Xbox Game Bar” application.

(If the Game Bar overlay doesn’t appear, head to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar. Ensure that the Game Bar is switched “On” here. You can also check the keyboard shortcut—you can switch “Open Game Bar” to any key combination you like instead of Windows+G.)

open Xbox Game Bar

In the Game Bar overlay screen, look for the “Capture” window.

If you don’t see it, click the Widget menu icon on the left. It looks like several lines with bullet points to their left.

select the widget menu icon

A drop-down list will appear; click “Capture.” The “Capture” shortcut may also be in the Game Bar toolbar.

select capture from the menu

How to Start Recording Your Screen

Look for the “Capture” widget window in the overlay. There are four buttons on the Capture widget (from left to right):

  • Screenshot: Takes a screenshot of the active window.
  • Record last 30 seconds: Creates a recording of the previous 30 seconds.
  • Start recording: Starts recording your active window.
  • Turn on mic while recording: If this option is enabled, Windows 10 will capture audio from your computer’s microphone and include it in the recording.

The Game Bar's Capture widget

You’ll notice text underneath the buttons. This is how you’ll know what the active window is, aka what will be recorded. For example, if you’re browsing the web, it will show the title of the open tab.

active window

To start recording your screen, you must first decide whether you want to use your mic, which is useful if you’re trying to explain something on the screen.

enable microphone

Next, simply click the Start Recording button.

start recording

The screen recording will begin, and you’ll see a little toolbar appear in the corner of the screen. It will show the running time of the recording, and it also has buttons to stop recording and toggle the microphone.

recording toolbar

When you’re finished, click the Stop icon to end the recording.

stop recording

From the Capture widget, click “Show All Captures” to see your recording.

select see all captures

Your recording will be at the top of the list. Click the folder icon to see all recordings and screenshots in File Explorer.

These recordings are stored under your Windows user folder at C:UsersNAMEVideosCaptures by default.

open the file manager

By the way, you can also start recording your screen by pressing Windows+Alt+R by default. Head to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar to customize these keyboard shortcuts.

The Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar window on Windows 10.

That’s it! Who knew Windows had such a simple screen recorder built in? Now you do.

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