How to Use the Windows 10 Game Bar

Record gameplay on a PC in a snap

Game Bar is a program included with Windows 10 that lets you take screenshots and record and broadcast video games. It's also where you enable Game Mode, to quickly apply a group of settings specifically designed to make any gaming experience faster, smoother, and more reliable. There’s an Xbox link that opens the Xbox app when you click it too. Many users play games through this app, and thus, the Game Bar is sometimes referred to as an “Xbox game DVR”.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10.

Enable and Configure the Game Bar

The Game Bar must be enabled for a game (or any app) before you can use the features available on it.

To enable the Game Bar, open any game from inside the Xbox app or from the list of apps available from the Start menu. If you are prompted to enable the Game Bar, do so, otherwise, press Windows+G.

How to Configure the Game Bar

The Windows 10 Game Bar offers options to personalize it to suit your needs. You'll find them on three tabs: General, Broadcast, and Audio.

The Windows 10 Game Bar

The General tab offers the most options, including one to enable Game Mode for the active app. With this option selected, the system will allocate extra resources (such as memory and CPU power) for smoother play.

It also contains an option to enable Background Recording. With this feature, you can use the "Record That" feature on the Game Bar to capture the last 30 seconds of play, which is a great solution for recording an unexpected or impressive gaming moment.

The Broadcasting tab lets you enable or disable your microphone or camera while streaming. The Audio tab controls the audio quality and lets you opt to use the microphone (or not), and more.

  1. Hover the mouse cursor over each of the entries to see the name of the icons.

  2. Select Settings.

    The Settings icon on the Game Bar
  3. Read each entry under the General tab. Enable or disable each feature as desired.

    The General tab for Game Bar settings
  4. Read each entry under the Broadcasting tab. Enable or disable each feature as desired.

    The Broadcasting tab
  5. Read each entry in the Audio box on the left side of the screen. Enable or disable each feature as desired.

    The Audio section of Game Bar settings
  6. Click outside the Game Bar to hide it.

How to Use the DVR Record Feature

Likely the most popular option is the DVR feature, which lets you record gameplay. This feature works in a similar manner as a traditional television DVR does, except this a live game DVR. You might also hear it referred to as an Xbox game DVR.

To record a game using the Record feature:

  1. Open a game.

  2. Use the key combination Windows+G to open the Game Bar and select Start Recording in the Broadcast & Capture box in the upper-left corner.

    The Start Recording button
  3. While playing the game, the Game Bar will disappear and a smaller bar will appear with a few options including:

    • Stop recording: Click the square icon once to stop the recording.
    • Enable/disable the microphone: Click the microphone to enable and disable.
    • Hide mini Game Bar: Click the down arrow to hide the mini Game Bar.

    Press Windows+G to access Game Bar.

    The Recording controls in Game Bar
  4. Locate the recordings in the Xbox app or in the Videos > Captures folder.

How to Broadcast, Take Screenshots, and More

Just as there is an icon for recording the screen, there are icons for taking screenshots and broadcasting too. Screenshots you take are available from the Xbox app as well as the Videos > Captures folder. Broadcasting is a little more complex, but if you’d like to explore it click the Broadcast icon and follow the prompts to configure settings and start your live stream.

Keyboard Shortcuts

You can use various shortcuts while playing a game to record clips and screenshots:

  • Windows+G: Open Game bar.
  • Windows+Alt+G: Record the last 30 seconds (you can change the amount of time recorded in Game bar > Settings).
  • Windows+Alt+R: Start/stop recording.
  • Windows+A+Print Screen: Take a screenshot of your game.
  • Windows+Alt+T: Show/hide recording timer.
  • Add your own shortcuts: To do so, open the Xbox app and select the menu to expand it, then select Game DVR > Keyboard shortcuts.

Think Outside the Xbox

Although the name “Game Bar” (and pseudonyms like Xbox game DVR, game DVR, and so on) implies that the Game Bar is just for recording and broadcasting computer games, it isn’t. You can also use Game Bar to:

  • Capture contents from a web browser.
  • Record anything you are doing on the screen (for example, show someone how to edit a photo).
  • Provide an example of a problem you are having with some particular software or a problem your computer is having.