6 things you can do with the Game Bar from Windows 10

Microsoft has been working hard to make Windows 10 the most gaming-friendly operating system ever. One of its most useful gaming features is the Game bar, which lets you record game clips, take screenshots, and even stream your gaming sessions on the internet, for everyone to see. In this article, we show you how to enable the Game bar and what you can do with it in Windows 10:

NOTE: We created this guide using Windows 10 October 2018 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 October 2018 Update, the Game bar looks different. If your Windows 10 is older than Creators Update, the Game bar is not available at all. To learn what version of Windows 10 you own, read this guide: What version, edition, and type of Windows 10 do I have installed?.

How to enable the Game bar

The 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.

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, click or tap the Game bar and, on the right side of the window, enable the "Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar" switch.

Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar

If you are also using an Xbox controller, you might want to make sure that the "Open Game bar using this button on a controller" switch is enabled.

Open Game bar using this button on a controller

The next settings you get on this panel are the keyboard shortcuts associated with the Game bar. We cover them each in the next sections of this guide. For now, it is important to remember that the default keyboard shortcut for opening the Game bar is Win + G.

The keyboard shortcuts for the Game Bar

How to open the Game bar in Windows 10

To open the Game bar, launch your favorite game, and press the Win + G keys on your keyboard or push the Xbox button on your Xbox controller. Note that you can launch the Game bar anytime you want during gameplay. When you open it, you should see something like in the screenshot below.

The Game Bar shown on your screen while playing a game

As you can see, the Game bar has a few different sections:

  • Information area: the first part of the Game bar is where you can see the game (or app) which you are playing and the current time, and also the place where you can open the My captures folder, the Game bar settings and your Xbox profile.
  • Game capturing: has the main tools that you can use to capture screenshots, record gaming sessions or broadcast your gameplay over the internet
  • Audio: lets you control individual audio channels without having to leave your game.

Now let's see what you can do with all these tools from the Game Bar:

1. Take screenshots of your game (Win + Alt + PrtScrn)

The first button from the Game capturing area in the Game bar - the one that looks like a camera - is used for taking screenshots. When you want to take a screenshot of your game, click or tap on this button.

Using the Game Bar to take screenshots

You can take a screenshot also by pressing simultaneously on the Win + Alt + PrtScn keys on your keyboard.

2. Record the last few seconds or minutes of your game (Win + Alt + G)

The second button from the Game capturing section of the Game bar lets you record a video with the last seconds or minutes of your gameplay. It is something you might want to do when something spectacular happens in the game you play, and you want to keep it for posterity. :)

Using the Game Bar to record the last moments of your gameplay

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." However, take heed of the fact that this feature requires additional processing power from your Windows 10 PC, so that it may impact the quality of your game.

Enabling the Background recording feature in Windows 10

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.

Choosing how long are background recordings

It is also worth mentioning that you can enable the Background recording even if your Windows 10 device runs on a battery, but that might decrease the battery life significantly.

Enabling Background recording on your device while running on battery

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 (Win + Alt + R)

What if you do not 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 is what the third button from the Game bar is for.

Using the Game Bar to record entire gaming sessions

When you push the record button, your Windows 10 PC starts recording a video with your gameplay. The button changes to a stop button and a small overlay is displayed on the top-right corner of the screen, showing you the time that has been recorded, as well as two buttons for stopping the recording and muting or un-muting the microphone (depending on whether you want your voice to be recorded on top of the game or not).

What is shown on your screen when you are recording your gameplay

Note 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 (Win + Alt + B)

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 popular, 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, you cannot 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 Mixer, Microsoft's own game streaming website. 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.

Using the Game Bar to stream while you are playing a game

Once you do that, a window called Configure broadcast pops 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 is also a link to more advanced streaming settings, which are available in the Settings app. Once you have made all your choices, you can start streaming by pressing on the "Start broadcast" button.

Configuring your game stream

When you are live-streaming your game, you can hide the Game bar by clicking or tapping anywhere on the screen. You can then see the broadcast overlay which has two tabs for Chat and Video Preview.

The broadcast overlay shows you how much time you have been broadcasting, as well as other information. You can see, for instance, how many viewers you have (hopefully not zero like myself). There are also a few buttons available directly on the broadcast overlay, which you can use to pause or stop the broadcast, enable or disable the microphone and the camera, as well as minimize the preview/chat overlay.

The game stream preview and chat overlay

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. Adjust the sound volume for individual audio channels

When you open it, the Game bar automatically shows all the audio channels that are rendering sound on your Windows device at that moment. Each of them has its slider that you can use to control the volume of each audio channel. This can be useful for people who, just like us, tend to listen to music while playing games. With the help of the Game bar, you no longer need to switch to the desktop to adjust the volume of other apps or media players. You can do it straight from your game.

Using the Game Bar to control the volume of audio channels

6. Change the settings for Game bar

The Game bar also includes a Settings button - the one that looks like a gear - which opens a popup with some of the gaming settings.

The Settings button from the Game Bar

The settings are split into three different sections: General, Theme, Recording, and Audio to record, and each of them contains a few of the essential Windows 10 gaming settings. However, if you want to see and manage all the gaming settings available, you have to open the Settings app and head to the Gaming section. Fortunately, the quickest way to go there directly from your game is to click or tap the "Edit more preferences in Windows Settings" button from the bottom of the Game Bar Settings.

Opening the Gaming page from the Windows 10 Settings app

How do you like the Game Bar in Windows 10?

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? Do you like them? What would you want to be added? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.