Use the Xbox app to record your screen in Windows 10

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal / CNET

Windows 10 has a native feature that lets you record a video clip – up to 2 hours long – of your screen. But you might not have noticed this feature because it is hidden in the Xbox app.

Called Game DVR, this feature is designed to record video game footage (you know, for your future YouTube / Twitch celebrity). But it doesn’t just work for games. In fact, it works in just about any application, including your internet browser and even Microsoft Word. Because sometimes you want to record yourself typing an article on Game DVR function I guess.

As a screen recording app, Game DVR is quite limited. For example, you can’t record your entire screen (so it’s not useful for tutorials on how to use it), you can only record one window / application at a time. But it’s still pretty handy if you need to grab a video clip in an app, so here’s how to activate and use it:

Step 1: If you haven’t used the Xbox app yet, you’ll need to open it first to set it up. To do this, open the Start menu and go to All apps> Xbox.

It’s a game, I swear.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal / CNET

2nd step: Once the Xbox app is set up, you can open the Game bar in any application or program by pressing the keyboard shortcut: Win key + G. The first time you open the Gamebar in an app or program, you will see a pop-up message asking if you want to open the Gamebar. Click yes it’s a game. Do this even if it’s not a game: it will work with any app, including internet browsers.

The large red circle starts recording, while the camera icon lets you take a screenshot.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal / CNET

Step 3: In the game bar, press the big red button to start recording a video from the app. This will only record the application window – it won’t record your full screen, or mouse movements. To stop recording, open the game bar with Win key + G and press the big red stop button.

The DVR gaming options are quite limited.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal / CNET

Step 4: You can find your new video clip in the Xbox app. Either click on the Xbox button in the game bar or open the Xbox app from the Start menu. On the left side of the Xbox app window, you’ll see a series of icons. Click the icon that looks like an Xbox controller in front of a film strip (the sixth icon from the top) to open the Game DVR menu. Here, you’ll see a list of your saved clips, along with some limited editing features like the ability to trim a clip or rename it.


Sarah Jacobsson Purewal / CNET

Step 5: The Game Bar is quite limited when it comes to screen recording, but you can adjust some video recording settings in the Game Bar settings menu and in the Xbox app. To open the game bar settings menu, open the game bar and click the button settings icon (gear). Here you will be able to adjust the background recording time, set the maximum length of clips (30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours) and make the game bar remember the program as a game ( this is enabled by default). For more advanced settings, such as the ability to define your own keyboard shortcuts to control the game bar, click Go to the Xbox app to see more settings.

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