Windows includes a tool called Game Bar that allows you to record your screen during PC and Xbox gaming sessions. This tool, however, can also be used to track non-gaming apps and activity.
Taking a screenshot in Windows is simple, but capturing video of your screen activity is more difficult. Microsoft has made it simpler by including a built-in video capture tool called Game Bar.
This feature was designed to record games that you play on your PC or stream from an Xbox console, but it can also capture video of screen activity from your web browser, Windows applications, and other programs. Any activity you record is saved as an MP4 video file by default.
To use Game Bar, your system must meet certain requirements, including the proper type of graphics card. If you try to use Game Bar and your PC isn't up to par, you might get an error message saying that your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirement for recording clips. But don't worry, there is a workaround for this limitation.
Before you can use Game Bar, make sure the feature is turned on. In Windows 10, navigate to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar and toggle the Enable Xbox Game Bar switch to the on position. If you have an Xbox 360 controller with the appropriate driver, you can activate Game Bar by pressing the Xbox button on the gamepad.
To enable it, check the box next to Open Xbox Game Bar using this button as a controller. You can also change the keyboard shortcuts for opening the Game Bar, taking a screenshot, and recording a video from this screen.
Go to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar in Windows 11. To use an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller, turn on the Open Xbox Game Bar switch and use this button as a controller. In Windows 11, you can't change any of the keyboard shortcuts through the Windows settings screen; you must do so through the Xbox Game Bar app's settings.
Open the app you want to record. Most applications and windows can start a recording, but the Windows desktop, File Explorer, and certain Windows apps, such as Weather, cannot. To access the Game Bar, press Win + G.
Several Game Bar widgets appear, allowing you to capture screenshots, control your video and audio, and view your Xbox social account. The pane also displays the name of the current app, file, or window as the video capture source.
To take a simple screenshot, click the camera icon, or press the Start Recording button to record your screen activity. Instead of going through the Game Bar pane the next time, you can simply press Win + Alt + R to begin recording right away.
Game Bar requires your permission the first time you choose to record screen activity. To record gameplay, check the box next to Enable gaming features for this app. You can now capture whatever screen actions you want. The Game Bar widgets are gone, and in their place is a small floating bar in the upper-right corner of the screen that allows you to control the recording.
Click the Recording button on the floating bar to stop the recording. A message appears informing you that the game clip has been recorded. When you click the notification, a window with your video appears.
To watch the video, press the Play button. You can also access your video from its location in File Explorer, which by default is C:\Users\[username]\Videos\Captures. If you don't like the default location for video captures, you can always change it. Go to Settings > Gaming > Captures and select a different folder by clicking the Open folder button.
Have you ever done something on your computer and then regretted not having captured the moment? You can use the Windows Game Bar to save the last few seconds or minutes of screen activity. To do so, you must first grant the computer permission to record your activities in the background.
In Windows 10, go to Settings > Gaming > Captures and enable the Record in the background while I'm playing a game checkbox. While you're here, change the interval from 15 seconds to 10 minutes by using the drop-down menu for Record the last.
In Windows 11, go to Settings > Gaming > Captures and enable the Record what happened option. You can set the maximum recording time to 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or 4 hours here.
You'll never have to miss another moment again. Open Game Bar and press the Record last 30 sec button to create a video based on the number of seconds or minutes you specify.
Customize Your Game Bar
Through Game Bar, you can view your video captures, control which widgets appear, and customize a variety of settings. To access the Game Bar, press Win + G. Click the Show All Captures link in the Capture widget to see a list of all your captured videos. You can then select a video to watch.
You can configure which widgets appear when the Game Bar is activated in Windows. Close the window for any widget that you don't want to see from the Game Bar display. Click the Widget menu icon to the right of the Xbox logo in the top widget toolbar, then select the widgets you want to use. You can also enable or disable specific widgets by clicking the appropriate icon in the top widget toolbar.
At the right end of the top widget, click the Settings gear. Accounts, shortcuts, themes, recording options, notifications, and other Game Bar controls can be viewed and changed here. This is the only place in Windows 11 where users can change Game Bar shortcuts.
Workaround for the Game Bar
If you encounter issues with Game Bar or the tool refuses to capture your screen activity, your best bet is to visit Microsoft's Troubleshoot Xbox Game Bar on Windows web page. There is, however, a workaround if you receive an error stating that your device does not meet the hardware requirements for recording clips.
If you can't change your PC's hardware or video card, your next best option is to use Game DVR Config, a third-party utility. Download the GameDVR Config.exe file from the utility's GitHub page. At the configuration screen, open it and check the box for Force software MFT (16 FPS + VBR).
Right-click the Taskbar in Windows 10 and select Task Manager. Right-click the Start button in Windows 11 and select Task Manager. Click the More details link if necessary. Select Gamebar Presence Writer from the Processes tab, then click End Task. Try Game Bar again to see if you can now record your screen activity.