How to Screen Record on a Windows Laptop

Use the Xbox Game Bar, or use a third-party screen recorder app like ShareX

What to Know

  • Xbox Game Bar: Go to Capture > Record, or press the Windows key+Alt+R.
  • Alternatively, use a third-party screen recorder such as Snagit, Fireshot, ShareX, or VLC.
  • ShareX: Go to Capture > Screen recording.

This article explains how to screen record on a laptop. The instructions apply to all laptops running Windows 11 and Windows 10.

How to Record Your Screen With the Xbox Game Bar

Both Windows 11 and 10 include the Xbox Game Bar, which you can use to record your screen while using apps. Since the Game Bar comes preinstalled on your PC, it's the quickest way to screen record on Windows:

The Xbox Game Bar can't record your desktop or Windows File Explorer, so you must use a different method if you want to do that.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key+g, or search for Xbox Game Bar and open the app.

    Searching for Xbox Game Bar app in Windows 11 Search.

    If you don't see the Game Bar, go to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar and turn it on.

  2. Look for the Capture window in the upper-left corner. If you don't see it, select the Capture icon (the video camera) in the top toolbar.

    Capture window and Capture icon highlighted in Xbox Game Bar.
  3. Select the Settings gear in the toolbar, then select Capturing on the left side of the pop-up window.

    Settings gear and Capturing highlighted in Xbox Game Bar.
  4. Under Audio to Record, choose All, None, or Game if you only want to record audio from the app and your microphone. Close the Settings window when you're done.

    Game selected under Audio to record in Windows Xbox Game Bar Settings

    Optionally, check the box beside Record in the background while I'm playing a game if you want to always record gameplay.

  5. Open the app or game you want to record. Open the Xbox Game Bar and select the Record icon in the Capture window.

    Record icon highlighted in the Xbox Game Bar.
  6. A window with a timer will appear in the upper-right corner of your screen indicating that it's being recorded. When you're finished recording, select the Stop icon.

    The Xbox Game Bar Recording window highlighted in Google Chrome.

    Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows key+Alt+R to start and stop recording.

  7. Select the Game clip recorded pop-up notification or open the Xbox Game Bar to view your recording.

    Game clip recorded notification highlighted in Windows 11.
  8. The Xbox Game Bar Gallery will open with a preview of your recording. If it doesn't appear automatically, select the Gallery icon (the game controller and film). Select Open file location to view the video in File Explorer.

    Gallery icon and Open file location highlighted in the Xbox Game Bar.

    The default location for Game Bar recordings is C:\Users\Username\Videos\Captures).

How to Screen Record With a Third-Party App

If you want to record your Windows desktop and File Explorer, or if you're running an older version of Windows, you'll need to use a third-party app.

There are tons of third-party screen recorders. Here are a few of the best:

Some of these apps include built-in editing tools and other features that you won't find in the Xbox Game Bar. For example, Screenpresso can transform written words and letters into editable text, although such features usually come at a premium.

Your computer might already have VLC installed. Although its primary purpose is to play media, you can also use VLC to record your screen.

How to Record Your Screen With ShareX

Here's how to record your screen with the free ShareX screen capture app:

  1. Download ShareX and open the installation file to install it on your PC.

  2. In ShareX, select Capture > Screen recording (to record an MP4 video) or Screen recording (GIF).

    Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Print Screen to record an MP4 or Ctrl+Shift+Print Screen to record a GIF.

    ShareX capture menu options with Screen Recording highlighted
  3. Select a window or click and drag to highlight an area to record. If you want to record the whole screen, select your desktop. The recording will start shortly after you make a selection.

    ShareX screen recording selection
  4. A red dot will appear in the Windows taskbar indicating that the screen is being recorded. When you're finished recording, right-click the red dot and select Stop.

    ShareX stop recording options highlighted
  5. Select your recording in ShareX to view it, or right-click the file and select Open > Folder to open it in Windows File Explorer.

    ShareX open folder menu option highlighted
  • Does recording the screen work with any Windows computer?

    Screenshots and screen recording is software based, so it doesn't matter which PC you are using as long as you have enough storage space for the screenshot or the video of the screen recording.

  • How do I take a screenshot on a PC?

    If you just need a screenshot and not the whole moving screen, you can use your keyboard. There's a key on your keyboard labeled PrtSc. Pressing that key takes a screenshot of the whole screen and places it on the clipboard ready for pasting into another app. If you hold down the Win key, your PC will take a whole screen screenshot and save it to the Screenshots folder inside Pictures. We go into more detail in our 4 Ways to Take Screenshots in Windows 11 article and, if you have an older version of Windows, you can check out our How to Take a Screenshot on a PC article.

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