Windows 10 has a hidden screen recorder built-in for free

Windows 10 has a great feature you may not have considered, the ability to record any application. After more updates rolled out to Windows 10 today, those of us...


Windows 10 has a great feature you may not have considered, the ability to record any application. After more updates rolled out to Windows 10 today, those of us using the pre-release build 10240 will now notice some new tips floating around the OS. One example of this is when you’re in Microsoft Edge, you may be suggested to use the keyboard shortcut WinKey + T to start a new tab. If you launch a game (or app), you may be suggested to press the Windows Key and the G key, to bring up a brand new record option.

Now here’s the thing about WinKey + G, it brings up a toolbar that allows you to take an image (you already had the snipping tool for the that), as well as the ability to record video. The intention, or promoted functionality for this is to capture Windows games in much the same way you can command Cortana by saying “Xbox record that”.

I decided to try recording standard applications using this same technique and it works great. Typically people would look to a paid product like Camtasia to record their screen. While it’s certainly not a 1:1 replacement in functionality, the ability to access the core screen recording functionality for free, is great. This could have massive implications for support, being very easy to instruct someone to record their screen.


When you click the stop button, the video file is built. This ends up in Videos > Captures and if you ever forget that, just use the ‘Open folder’ button from inside the Xbox app. Accessing the captures is easy using the Xbox app in the Game DVR section. Even better yet is the ability to Trim the video (top and tail) then choose between saving over the original or creating a new video. The key here is that it’s quick and easy.


If default recording doesn’t do the job, hit the settings icon on the recording toolbar and configure things like the length of recording automatically. Great when you have pre-determined timeframes for tutorial videos.


The recording is application aware, that means there is a slight difference between recording an application or a game. The key difference is when you attempt to share the recording from the Xbox app. You will receive an error that says ‘Sorry, this is not shareable because we do not recognise this game’. This prevents you from sharing a non-gaming related screen recording on Xbox Live which would really just confuse your friends.

That’s actually not an issue because the file produced is a .MP4 file with around 30 frames per second and has great quality with 5,000 kbps bitrate. This means we can take the captured video and upload it to our favourite video sharing site, yep, probably YouTube.


If you have the latest version of Windows 10, give it a try and see how you go. The only limitation I’ve found is that you will have to record one application at a time. If you’ve done any kind of video editing, this won’t be a problem to slice between 2 or 3 apps. Below is a quick sample of a TweetDeck capture I made using Edge. I’ve also done others that record the audio from the tab.

Windows 10