The ability to record your screen and share it with others is one of those skills that I think we should all have in our back pocket. It’s a great way to share knowledge with others or demonstrate mastery of a concept. Today, there are all kinds of apps that let you do this. Many are free, others are not. It just depends on how polished you want the final product to be. In this post, I am going to take a look at a hidden feature in Windows 10 that allows anyone to record and share their screen for free.
Free Screencasting Tools for Windows
There are no shortage of options for people who want to record their screen for free on Windows. You can use Screencastify, Loom, Screencast-o-matic, Nimbus, RecordIt, Zoom, and all kinds of other things. However, none of them are native to Windows. They all require some kind of additional installation, and while that is no problem for most folks, it is a barrier for some, and it is a barrier that is more easily overcome with a built-in tool. This got me thinking. Apple has a built-in screencasting tool for Mac and similar options for iPhone and iPad, so why can’t Windows do the same?
The Xbox Game Bar on Windows 10
As it happens, there is a built-in screencasting tool in Windows 10. While browsing on Twitter the other day, I saw a tweet from Mike Tholfsen that reminded me about the Xbox Game Bar on Windows 10. This handy tool is hiding in plain sight and it does give you the ability to record your screen on Windows. Here’s how it works:
Now I know what you are thinking. This doesn’t look like any screencasting tool you have used before, and you would be right. That’s because this tool wasn’t created to help you make YouTube tutorials or instructional videos. Instead, it was created for gamers, and one of the features they decided to include was a capture tool so that players could record and share epic clips from their gaming sessions. Hence the name, the Xbox Game Bar for Windows 10.
Can you use it for instructional videos and YouTube tutorials? Absolutely. No reason why not. Just be aware that this was not the primary purpose of this tool, so it comes with one or two limitations. One of those limitations are that you cannot record your desktop or a File Explorer window. You have to have an active app open on your device, like a web browser. However, there are no watermarks, and you are unlikely to run up against the maximum recording limit of two hours, (although this can be increased to four hours if needed in the Settings app).
The Free Windows 10 Video Editor
When your screencast is done, it may need some editing. Thankfully, Windows has you covered here too. Windows Movie Maker is no more, but the Photos App in Windows 10 has some useful video editing features that you may want to explore. It’s not as capable as something like iMovie on Mac or iOS, but it has some unique features and is capable of handling some basic edits as you can see in the video below.
So, there you have it. Windows does have a built-in screencasting tool, and it also has a video editor that you can use to make your videos more polished. It may not be your first choice for either task, but it is good to know that those options are there, available for free, and you don’t have to install anything extra to make them work.