How to enable and open the Xbox Game Bar in Windows 10

If you're a gamer, the Xbox Game bar is one of the best features of Windows 10. It gives you access to the so-called Xbox DVR, which is another way of saying that it lets you record the screen and take screenshots of the games you are playing. The Xbox Game bar is also the one thing that you need if you want to chat with fellow gamers without having to leave your game, and without having to resort to third-party tools. However, before you can use everything it has to offer, you must first know how to enable and open the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10. To learn how to do it, read this guide:

NOTE: We created this guide using Windows 10 November 2019 Update. Microsoft first introduced the Game bar in Windows 10 Creators Update. If you are using a version of Windows 10 between Creators Update and November 2019 Update, the Game bar looks different and offers other features. If your Windows 10 is older than Creators Update, the Game bar is not available. To learn what version of Windows 10 you own, read: What version, edition, and type of Windows 10 do I have installed?

How to enable the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10

The Xbox Game bar is enabled by default in Windows 10. However, if it is not or if you want to make sure that it is turned on, open the Settings app. A quick way to do it is to click or tap on the Settings button from the Start Menu. In the Settings app, go to the Gaming category.

The Gaming category from the Windows 10 Settings app

On the left side of the window, select Game bar and then, on the right side of the window, enable the "Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar" switch. This is the only switch that needs to be on if you want to use the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10.

Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar

What's the Xbox Game bar keyboard shortcut in Windows 10?

By default, the keyboard shortcut that opens the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10 is Win + G. If you are using an Xbox controller, you can also push the Xbox button on it.

However, if you want to change the Xbox Game bar keyboard shortcut, you can. Go back to the Settings app, open Gaming, and select Game bar on the left sidebar. Then, on the right side, click or tap on the Open Game bar field from the Keyboard shortcuts area, and push the keys that you want to use for opening the Xbox Game bar.

The keyboard shortcuts for the Game Bar

For alternative ways to change the Xbox Game bar keyboard shortcut, read: 2 ways to change the keyboard shortcuts for the Game Bar in Windows 10.

How to open the Game bar in Windows 10

To open the Xbox Game bar, launch your favorite game, and press the Win + G keys on your keyboard. If you've changed the default keyboard shortcut for the Xbox Game bar, press the keys that you have set instead. Note that you can launch the Xbox Game bar anytime you want during gameplay. To get a better idea on what to expect, here's a screenshot we took when we opened the Xbox Game bar while playing Fortnite:

The Game Bar shown on the screen while playing Fortnite

If you are using an Xbox controller, you can also push the Xbox button on your Xbox controller to launch the Game bar. This should work by default; however, if it doesn't, you might want to make sure that the "Open Game bar using this button on a controller" switch from the Game bar page in (Windows 10 Settings -> Gaming) is enabled.

Open Game bar using the Xbox button on an Xbox controller

What to expect from the Xbox Game bar

When you open the Xbox Game bar while playing a game on your Windows 10 computer, it displays an overlay with a generous array of useful widgets:

  • The main widget, found by default at the top of the screen, is where you can see the time, enable or disable the other widgets available, as well as access the settings of the Game bar.
  • The Capture widget gives you the tools for capturing screenshots and recording your gaming sessions.
  • The Audio widget helps you control individual audio channels without having to leave your game.
  • The Performance widget shows information about the utilization of resources, such as processor (CPU), graphics card (GPU), RAM (memory), and number of FPS (frames per second). The Performance widget is sort of a minified Task Manager.
  • Xbox Social is the widget that lets you connect and chat with your friends, as long as they're also on Windows 10 or Xbox.
  • Xbox Achievements shows your achievements as Xbox records them.
  • Looking for group shows you other players connected to Microsoft's Xbox service that are looking to join a gamers' group.
  • Finally, the Spotify widget lets you play your favorite music from this streaming service without having to leave your game or switch to the Spotify app.
The Xbox Game bar with all the available widgets enabled

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Game bar from Windows 10 also used to include a feature called Broadcast. You could use it to stream your gameplay online, on Microsoft's Mixer live-streaming service. However, the company quietly removed this feature (Mixer broadcast) from Windows 10.

Now that you know how to enable and open the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10, you might want to learn how to use it and how to make the most of it. To help you out, we have another guide just for that, which you can find by following this link: How can I record my gameplay on a Windows 10 PC?

How to disable the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10

Disabling the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10 is as easy as enabling it. All you have to do is open the Settings app, navigate to Gaming and then to the Game bar, and finally disable the "Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar" switch.

Disable the Xbox Game bar

Once the switch is off, the Xbox Game bar is disabled in Windows 10. You can no longer use it, and you can't open the Xbox Game bar using its keyboard shortcut or by pressing the Xbox button on your controller.

Did you want to know how to enable and open the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10 or did you want to disable it?

Now you know both how to enable and disable the Xbox Game bar in Windows 10. Did you find this guide while looking for ways to open the Xbox Game bar or while trying to find out what the default keyboard shortcut is for the Xbox Game bar? Don't forget that you can use the comments section below to tell us what you wanted or ask any questions you might have.