Whether you’re putting together a presentation, recording a video guide or some gaming – screen recording is a handy way to capture what is happening on your screen. If you’re a Windows user, there’s a few straightforward ways to record your screen.
Xbox Game Bar
Firstly, let’s take a look at Xbox Game Bar – this allows you to record an application window on your computer. Despite having the word Xbox in the name, you can use this to record most applications on a Windows computer, not just games, and Xbox Game Bar is included on Windows 10 and 11 so there’s no need to install additional software.
Xbox Game Bar can be found and opened from the start menu or by pressing Win+G on your keyboard, this will then bring up the Game Bar overlay. If you’ve not used Game Bar before there will likely be a default layout that pops up, however our focus is on the Capture window. This can be opened by clicking the “Capture” button or by finding it in the Widgets Menu.
From the capture window, you can do a few things – such as taking a screenshot, enabling your microphone, and most importantly recording the application window you are currently using. Once you’ve decided if you want to keep your microphone muted or on – which can be handy for a voiceover, just click the “Start recorded” button to begin your recording.
When you’ve finished recording, click the Stop button on the Capture pop-up, your recording will be saved to the Captures folder in your user Videos folder.
It’s worth noting that Xbox Game Bar cannot record the desktop or File Explorer and can only record the application you had active at the start of the recording, this is a downside of this method as it may not record pop-up windows but luckily there are some alternative solutions for recording your entire screen.
You may think that PowerPoint is solely for creating slideshows and presentations, however it features a fully-fledged screen recorder that allows you to record a portion of or your entire screen. I imagine this could be useful in a business setting where you may not be able to install additional screen recording software onto a computer but have access to PowerPoint.
To record your screen using PowerPoint, create a blank presentation and then select the “Record” tab on the ribbon bar. In the ribbon there are a few different recording options, you’ll want to select the “Screen Recording” button – this will then hide PowerPoint and bring up an overlay where you can set your recording settings.
Click “Select Area” and drag over the area of your screen that you want to record, if you want to record your entire screen simply drag from the top left to the bottom right of your screen. Once you’ve chosen which area of the screen you’re wanting to record, you’ll see this area highlighted with a red dashed line.
The two options left to choose are whether you want to record microphone audio as well as your mouse pointer, when you’re ready to record click “Record”. A countdown will appear on screen and then your recording will begin – when you’re done press Win+Shift+Q to end the recording.
When the recording finishes, PowerPoint will pop back up into view and you can see the video on a slide – to export this from PowerPoint all you need to do is right click on the video and select “Save Media As.”
Now, in comparison to Xbox Game Bar – being able to record the whole screen is a big bonus. However, you’ll notice that the frame rate of the recording is a bit choppier, and that system audio is not recorded – so let’s move on to our final way of recording your computer screen.
OBS Studio is an incredibly powerful piece of software, designed for streaming, recording and vision mixing – however it also does a particularly decent job at screen recording and is what I use for making Richard Tech tutorials. OBS Studio can be downloaded for free from obsproject.com and is straightforward to install.
When opening OBS for the first time, select “optimise for recording” as that is what our primary focus is. You can then configure your video settings, which I will leave as the default for the sake of this tutorial.
As you’ll notice, the preview is blank as your display has not been added as a source. To add this, click the + under sources and select “Display Capture,” you’ll see there’s a variety of options if you’re only looking to record an application or game.
Click OK on the popup to add a new display capture and select the appropriate display from the Display dropdown menu and then click OK to finish off the process. If your display doesn’t match the resolution of your OBS settings, such as a 4K display being captured into a 1080p OBS project, right click on the Display Capture in sources and select Transform > Fit to Screen.
OBS should have automatically detected your audio settings from Windows, so you should see the volume meters for Desktop Audio and Mic/Aux indicating when sound is being emitted from your computer and when your microphone is picking up audio.
By default, OBS will export videos as MKVs, although you can change this in the OBS Output settings – amongst many other options. You can also add multiple sources at one time on OBS, so you could also have a webcam feed on top of your desktop source if you wished to show your face alongside a screen capture.
When you’re all set up. all you need to do is click “Start Recording” which can be found in the controls section at the bottom right and your recording will start, when you’re done click “Stop Recording.”
As you can tell, there is a bit more groundwork to do with OBS as far as the setup goes but it can be quite powerful at getting the job done as what I’ve shown for OBS only scratches the surface of what it can do.
Those have been three different ways to record your screen on Windows, each with their own benefits and downsides but each handy and good to know in their own way.