Record screen with audio on your Windows 11 PC using either the built-in Xbox Game Bar app or OBS Studio (a popular third-party app for screen recording).
With each new version of Windows, it has become easier to record your screen and anything on it. Previous versions of Windows did not have any built-in software to record the screen, thus users had to rely on third-party software to record their screens. But this changed with the introduction of the Xbox Game Bar in Windows 10.
When it comes to recording your screen on Windows 11 with audio, you have quite a few options. If you are just want to do basic screen recording, you can get it done using the native Xbox Game Bar overlay. Or if more control and customization is your cup of tea then a third-party screen recorder like Open Broadcaster Software or OBS will be more suitable. Additionally, if you are running an NVIDIA or Radeon graphics card you can also record your screen with audio using their dedicated Softwares like GeForce Experience or AMD Radeon Software.
Difference Between Xbox Game Bar and Third-Party Screen Recording App
There are some distinct differences between the native Game Bar and/Dedicated GPU Software any other third-party software when it comes to recording your screen. The difference is mainly present in how they operate and what you can do with them. On one hand, we have the Xbox Game Bar, which comes pre-installed, which means you do not have to download it.
Xbox Game Bar Pros:
- It is lightweight
- It does not require any complex set-up, thus always ready to use
- Easy to use interface and does not require any special knowledge
Xbox Game Bar Cons:
- Very little control over quality and usability
- Lacks any major features such as support for advanced encoders
- Runs as a background application even when you are not using it, increasing unnecessary CPU load.
Third-party dedicated screen recording software pros:
- Much greater control over the recording quality
- You can micro-manage every aspect of your recording from choosing the bitrate and resolution to the frames per second.
- You get the option to use Nvidia or AMD encoders if you have those GPUs which results in much better results.
But external software also requires a setup process which can be complicated and difficult. This software is harder to use, thus if you are not familiar with it, you might get worse results. And lastly, you will need a powerful computer in order to record high-quality videos which third-party software.
Now that we understand the difference between using Xbox Game Bar and third-party software to record screens, the choice remains solely to you. This article covers both methods so choose one depending on which compromises you are willing to make and which hardware you have.
Note: The GeForce Experience or the AMD Radeon Software has similar properties, pros, and cons to Xbox Game Bar. The process is just a little different. Thus everything mentioned about the Game Bar in the comparison also applies to these software
Using Xbox Game Bar to Record Screen with Audio
The Xbox game bar is a built-in background application that functions like an overlay. When inside a game or an application window, you can press Windows+g on your keyboard to bring up the Game Bar overlay. The overlay will consist of a ‘Game Bar’ which will be on the top-mid area of your screen. It is the main control menu and there will be several widgets for various purposes.
To begin recording your screen, first launch the game or application you wish to record. After the game or application opens up, press Windows+g on your keyboard to pull up the Xbox Game bar.
On the top-left corner of the screen, there will be a widget called, ‘Capture’. This is the widget that you have to use in order to record your screen.
But before you record your screen, make sure that the Audio Recording is enabled. To confirm that, click on the ‘Cog’ or the ‘Settings’ icon located on the horizontal ‘Game Bar’. This will open up the Game Bar Settings window.
On the settings window, select ‘Capturing’ from the left panel and you will see ‘AUDIO TO RECORD’ on the right panel. From there select ‘Game’ if you wish to record just your game/application and your microphone. You can also select ‘All’ which will allow you to record every audio source like your browser or Spotify app along with the game/application and your mic.
After you have enabled audio recording, it is now time to record your screen. You can do it by clicking on the Circle with e dot icon from the Capture widget or by pressing Windows+ALT+r on your keyboard.
Once you start recording, you will notice a new small widget called ‘Capture Status’. This window will show you the duration of the current recording. If you want to stop recording, you can do it by clicking on the blue circle with a white square or by pressing Windows+ALT+r again. This widget will also have a toggle to mute or unmute your microphone while recording your screen.
Once you stop recording, you will receive a notification saying ‘Game clip recorded’.
Now to view your recorded clips, click on the ‘Show all captures’ option on the Capture widget. It will take you to the directory where all your recorded clips are saved. By default, the Xbox Game Bar saves clips in the following directory.
C:\Users\*your user name*Videos\Captures
Using OBS Studio to Record Screen with Audio
There are many great screen recording software out there that you can install to record your computer screen with audio. OBS or Open Broadcaster Software is one of the best third-party applications for this job and we highly recommend you to give this a try.
Some of the reasons to choose OBS over other third-party screen recorders are:
- The application is completely free
- It is easier to set up and use
- The software is light-weight
- It provides superior levels of control over recording quality
You can download the software by going to obsproject.com/download website. Once you are there, click on the ‘Download Installer’ button.
After that, from the ‘Save As’ window save the installer in your preferred directory by clicking on the ‘Save’ button.
Once the installer is downloaded, click on it and go through the simple installation process.
After OBS is installed, launch the application by searching for it in the Start Menu search and selecting it from the search results.
After the OBS window opens up, dismiss the ‘Auto-configuration Wizard’ window by clicking on the ‘Cancel’ button.
Now, before you record your screen, you need to go through the process of configuring your recording quality. To do that, first, click on ‘File’ from the toolbar located on the top-left side of the window and then select ‘Settings’.
Once, the Settings window opens up, select ‘Output’ from the left panel. After that, change the ‘Output Mode’ on the right panel from ‘Simple’ to ‘Advanced’.
After selecting ‘Advanced’ you will get numerous new settings to work with. First, switch to the Recording tab by clicking on the ‘Recording’ button between ‘Streaming’ and ‘Audio’. After that, change your Encoder to your GPU encoder, which in this case is ‘NVIDIA NVENCE H.264 (new)’.
Now you will have even more settings to tweak around. Start by setting your Rate Control to ‘CBR’. Set your video Bitrate by using the text box called ‘Bitrate’, located just below Rate Control. Bitrate simply means the amount of information that will be recorded each second while you are recording your screen and audio. Generally, 4000 Kbps to 6000Kbps is a sweet spot for up to 1080p 60fps recording.
Note: CBR Stands For ‘Constant Bitrate’. Selecting CBR means OBS will try to maintain a constant bitrate you assign to assure good quality but it comes as a cost of increased load . If your pc is unable to handle a Constant Bitrate, switch to VBR or ‘Variable Bitrate’. VBR allows you to set a maximum and minimum birate limit and the bitrate changes according to load. But keep in mind that this results in incosistent video quality.
After that comes ‘Preset’. This is easy, set it to ‘Quality’ if your computer can handle it. Otherwise, set it to ‘Performance’. Below ‘Preset’ there will be ‘Profile’. Just keep it as it is. Lastly, click on ‘Apply’ in the bottom-right corner.
If you do not have a dedicated GPU installed or a lower-end computer, you try using the ‘x264’ encoder in place of a GPU encoder. Although it might not be able to yield similar results.
When you use ‘x264’ encoder, use the following settings. Keep the Bitrate around 2500. After that set your ‘CUP Usage Preset’ to ‘veryfast’. Lastly in the ‘Profile’ settings, set it to ‘baseline’. Click ‘Apply’ to save your settings and continue.
After that switch over to the Video tab by selecting ‘Video’ from the left panel. From there make sure the ‘Base (Canvas) Resolution’ is set to your monitor’s current resolution. You can use the ‘Output (Canvas) Resolution’ to change the resolution of your screen recording. We don’t recommend going over your monitor’s maximum resolution. And lastly set the ‘Common FPS Values’ to your liking which in this case is 60.
You have to finish the configuration process by setting up the audio recording. Select ‘Audio’ from the left panel. Then, under the ‘Global Audio Devices’ section use the ‘Desktop Audio’ settings to select your default desktop audio device, which generally is labeled as ‘Speakers (Driver Name)’.
After that, if you also wish to record your commentary, use the ‘Mic/Auxilary Audio’ setting to select the microphone that you have plugged into your computer.
If you scroll down, you can also turn on the Hotkeys toggle for enabling Push-to-mute and Push-to-talk for desktop and mic audio. Keep in mind that in order for these toggles to work, you also need to assign hotkeys.
If you switch to the ‘Hotkeys’ tab, you will get the option to assign hotkeys for numerous options. We recommend you assign a hotkey for both ‘Start Recording’ and ‘Stop Recording’. It will make recording a button press away and you won’t have to switch tabs every time you start or stop recording.
We also recommend scrolling further down the list and assigning hotkeys for enabling disabling your mic.
Once everything is set up, click on ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’.
Now it is time to record but sadly unlike the Xbox Game bar, you cannot just open up OBS and start recording with one click. You must set up a ‘Scene’ and add a video source, which is the application or game to the Scene in order to record it. But before that, make sure you have the game or application running.
On the main screen of OBS, under the Scenes section at the bottom left corner, you will see a ‘Scene’ is already present. Right-click on it and select ‘Rename’.
Rename it to something like ‘Screen Capture’ which will later help you recognize this scene.
After you have renamed your Scene, it is time to add a source. Click on the ‘+’ on the bottom of the ‘Sources’ section to add a video source and you will see numerous options. Depending on what you want to record, select the one that best suits your needs.
For now, we will select ‘Game Capture’ which is best suited to record video games. You can also try ‘Window Capture’ to capture a specific window or ‘Display Capture’ to record anything and everything that is on your screen. Play around with it and see which one works the best for you.
Give your source a name you prefer and click ‘OK’.
Another window will appear called Properties for ‘Game Capture’. From there, set the ‘Mode’ to ‘Capture specific window’.
After that, use the ‘Window’ menu to select the application/game window that you wish to record and click on ‘OK’.
You will see that the game/application window will appear on the OBS home screen. Now everything is ready and you can start recording by clicking on the ‘Start Recording’ button located on the bottom-right side of the window or by pressing the hotkey you have assigned to it.
Once you are done recording your screen, you can stop recording by switching back to OBS and pressing ‘Stop Recording’ or by pressing the hotkey. To view your recording, click on ‘File’ from the toolbar and select ‘Show Recordings’.
If you do not wish to use OBS as your third-party screen recorder, you will have a few more options to choose from. Some OBS alternatives are:
Icecream Screen Recorder: A lightweight screen recorder that is not as complicated as OBS that does not stop it from providing good quality screen recordings. One downside of this app is that with the free version of this application you can only record your screen for a very short duration.
Camtasia: Camtasia offers fully functioning video editors with many features alongside a screen recorder. If you choose to use Camtasia then you probably won’t need to use any other editing software. Its downsides are, the app is not free, and learning how to operate the software can be daunting.
DemoCreator: DemoCreator is a screen recorder from Wondershare. Similar to Camtasia it is also a two-in-one app for screen recording and editing. With DemoCreator you can record videos at 120FPS. It also has other numerous features which makes it a great tool for screen recording.
Record Screen with Audio Using GeForce Experience
If you have an Nvidia graphics card installed, you can record your screen with audio using the Nvidia Shadowplay. Shadowplay is similar to Xbox Game Bar in its functionality. It is part of the Nvidia GeForce Experience application and it allows you to record your screen along with giving you other utilities such as photo mode for supported games, hardware monitoring, or even streaming support.
If you are running an NVIDIA GPU, you should already have GeForce Experience installed on your computer to update the graphics driver. If you don’t, then head over to their download page and go through the simple installation process.
To record your screen using GeForce Experience, first launch GeForce Experience by searching for it in the Start Menu search and selecting it from the search results.
Once the GeForce Experience window opens up, click on the ‘cog’ or the ‘Settings’ icon located near the top-right corner of the window.
After that, scroll down and make sure that the ‘IN-GAME OVERLAY’ toggle is turned on. This will allow you to summon the Shadow Play overlay so you can record your screen.
Once you are inside the application/game you want to record, press ALT+z which is the shortcut key for summoning GeForce Experience overlay.
Now, click on the ‘Cog’ icon inside the black square.
Scroll down the Settings list and select ‘Video capture’.
From here select your preferred recording settings. You can set quality to Low, Medium, and High and also choose the Resolution. You can also choose between having 30 FPS or 60 FPS videos. Additionally, you can use the ‘Bit rate’ Slider to increase or decrease the amount of Bitrate you want your screen recording you have. to have.
Once you are done selecting your recording settings, click on the ‘Back’ button located on the side of the panel.
After that, click on the ‘Cog’ icon again to go back to the Settings menu and this time, select ‘Audio’. This will take you to the audio settings page.
From the audio settings menu, you can select your Volume levels for various sound sources like System sounds and Microphones. You can also select between input devices if you have multiple microphones connected to your computer. When done, go back to the main menu by again pressing the ‘Back’ button.
Once you are back to the main menu of the GeForce Experience overlay, click on the large ‘Record’ button on the middle.
Click on the ‘Start’ button from the expanded menu to start recording. Alternatively, you can directly start recording by pressing ALT+F9 on your keyboard.
After that, select ‘Yes’.
You will get a notification on the top-right corner of your screen saying ‘Recording has started’.
When you want to stop recording your screen, you can do it by pressing ALT+F9 on your keyboard or by going back to the Overlay by pressing ALT+G, clicking on ‘Record’, and then selecting ‘Stop and save’.
Once you do that, another notification will appear on the top-right corner of your screen called ‘Recording has been saved’.
To get to your saved screen recording, first press ALT+g and click on Gallery.
After that, select your recording and select ‘Open file location’ from various options located on the right side of the panel.
It will take you to the directory where the video is saved.