Microsoft has been working hard to make Windows 10 the most gaming-friendly operating system ever. One of the new gaming features is the Game bar, that lets you record game clips, take screenshots, and even stream your gaming sessions on the internet, for everyone to see. In this article, we’re going to show you how to enable and use the Game bar in Windows 10:
NOTE: This guide is created for Windows 10 Creators Update, which will be available to all Windows 10 users, for free, starting with the spring of 2017. Previous Windows 10 versions that were released before 2017 don’t have this feature while newer versions do.
How to enable the Game bar
In order to enable the Game bar, you’ll have to use the Settings app. Open the Start Menu and click/tap on the icon that looks like a gear.
In the Settings app, click or tap on the Gaming category.
On the left column, make sure that Game bar is selected. Then, on the right side of the window, turn On the switch for “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar”.
If you’re going to use an Xbox controller with your Windows 10 PC, you might want to also enable the setting “Open Game bar using this button on a controller.”
Windows 10 can automatically display the Game bar in the games that are verified by Microsoft. If you want that, you should also enable the “Show Game bar when I play full screen games Microsoft has verified” option.
The next settings you get on this panel are the keyboard shortcuts associated with the Game bar. We’ll talk more details about them later in this guide. For now, it’s important to remember that the default keyboard shortcut for opening the Game bar during a game is Win + G.
An alternative way to enable the Game bar is to use the Xbox app. You’ll find it in your Start Menu, displayed as a live tile. If you unpinned it, you will find it in the list with All apps.
In the Xbox app, open its Settings - click or tap the gear icon on the bottom left side of the app.
On the top, select the Game DVR section, and then turn on the switch for “Record game clips and screenshots using Game DVR”.
Regardless of the method you chose to follow to enable the Game bar in Windows 10, the fun part starts now.
How to open the Game bar
After you’ve enabled the Game bar, launch your favorite game. Depending on your settings, the Game bar could be displayed automatically as soon as your game starts. If it doesn’t, press the Win + G keys on your keyboard, or push the Xbox button on your Xbox controller. Either way, the Game bar should now be on your screen.
Now let’s see what you can do with the Game bar:
1. Take screenshots of your game
The first button from the Game bar - the one that looks like a camera - is used for taking screenshots. When you want to take a screenshot, click or tap on this button and it will be taken instantly.
You can take a screenshot also by pressing simultaneously on the Win + Alt + PrtScrn keys on your keyboard.
2. Record the last few seconds or minutes of your game
The second button from the Game bar lets you record a video with the last seconds or minutes of your gameplay. It’s something you might want to do when something spectacular happens in the game you play, and you want to keep it for posterity. :)
However, for this feature to be available, you must have enabled the Background recording in Windows 10. You can do that in the Settings app, in the Game DVR section from the Gaming category. There, you must turn on the switch for “Record in the background while I’m playing a game.” Take heed though that this feature requires additional processing power from your Windows 10 computer device, and may impact the quality of your game.
You can also choose how much time is going to be recorded in the background while you play: 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes.
Once the background recording feature is enabled, you can trigger it either by opening the Game bar and clicking or tapping on the Record that button or you can use the keyboard shortcut Win + Alt + G.
3. Record a video of your game
What if you don’t want to record just the last few minutes or seconds of your game? What if you want to record videos with all the games you play, from start to finish? That’s what the third button from the Game bar is for.
When you push the record button, your Windows 10 PC starts recording a video with your gameplay. The button’s icon changes to a stop icon and the time that has been recorded is shown next to it.
If you want to, you can also enable the microphone, so that your voice is also recorded.
Once you click or tap somewhere inside the game window, the Game bar minimizes like in the image below, so that it doesn’t obstruct your field of view. If its default location doesn’t suit you, you can just drag and drop it anywhere you want on your screen.
When you want to end the recording, click or tap the stop button. It’s good to know that you can also start and end a gameplay recording session by simultaneously pressing the Win + Alt + R keys on your keyboard.
4. Live-stream your game on the internet
Many gamers today like to broadcast the games they play online, for all the internet to be able to watch them play. Game streaming is a popular thing, and there are even professional players who stream their games and make a living out of this. Windows 10 offers built-in tools to live-stream your games, or broadcast them as Microsoft likes to name this activity. However, it doesn’t let you stream your game to any streaming service you want. For instance, you cannot stream your games to Twitch. For now, you can stream only to Beam. To start live-streaming to this service, open the Game bar and then click or tap on the fourth button on it - the one that looks like a radio antenna.
Once you do that, a window called Broadcast setup will pop up. Inside, you can choose the name of your channel, select the broadcast window (it can be either your game only, or the whole desktop), the camera position on-screen, if you enable the camera, and whether the microphone is on or off. There’s also a link to more advanced streaming settings, which are available in the Settings app. Once you’ve made all your choices, you can start streaming by pressing on the Start broadcast button.
When you’re live-streaming your game, the Game bar minimizes just like it does when you’re recording. This time, it will show more information, tools, options, and also a small preview of what your stream looks like. You can see, for instance, how many viewers you have (hopefully not zero like myself) or the time you’ve been streaming.
On the mini Game bar, you’ll also find a button for pausing or stopping your stream, for turning the microphone and the webcam on or off, and for showing the chat.
If you prefer using your keyboard, you should know that you can start or pause a broadcast by pressing the Win + Alt + B keys.
5. Change the settings for Game bar
The last button you’ll find on the Game bar - the one that looks like a gear - opens a window with a series of gaming settings.
The settings are split into three different sections: General, Broadcast, and Audio. Here you can choose to enable or disable the Game Mode, turn on or off the background recording, change the default settings for your live-streaming sessions, and select the audio quality of the microphone recordings.
The Game bar from Windows 10 is probably one of the best things Windows 10 could have brought to gamers. It lets you take screenshots, record videos, and live-stream your games. What could you ask for more? We know: more live-streaming services should be supported, and especially Twitch. Did you try these gaming features from Windows 10 Creators Update? Do you like them? What would you want to be added? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.