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The Big List Of Screenrecording Software (Windows Edition)

If you are looking for decent programs to record games you have come to the right place!
Over the years I have recorded hundreds of gameplay videos with lots of different screenrecorders and this list is the result of my research.
This list is about screenrecording software for Windows but I have also created a list for Mac and for Linux.

In case you are also looking for video editing software to trim, convert and edit your recording consider to check out The Big List Of Video Editors.

In case you want to live stream a game consider to check out this List about Streaming Software.

Commercial or free software?

On this page you can find commercial software like Camtasia, Fraps, HyperCam 3, PlayClaw, Dxtory and Bandicam

…and some decent freeware alternatives such as Open Broadcaster Software (which allows simple recording and even live streaming…) Oh and in case you want to record something real quick without downloading anything I recommend to check out the free online screenrecorder Screenr.

What about capture cards?

If you are looking for a product that doesn’t require much CPU power and thus allows you to record and stream games from PC and consoles with high and stable framerates consider to get a decent capture card.
You can find such devices on amazon and the prices seem to vary from 20$-200$. Note that I haven’t used such a card yet but the AVerMedia Live Gamer HD capture card seems to be a pretty good product according to amazon reviews and YouTubers.
For example the Lazy Gamer uses this card for his YouTube videos and did a comprehensive video review and a written review with some additional test videos on his homepage.

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Some General Advice to Increase Performance:

  • Reduce Resolution (e.g. 640×480 instead of 1024×768)
  • Switch to 16-bit instead of 32-bit Color Depth
  • Choose the right Codec (less compression = faster recording speed)
  • Upgrade PC (faster CPU, more RAM, better graphics card)
  • Record with Fraps and use a new unfragmented hard drive to avoid stuttering
  • If possible record to a secondary hard drive will make your videos less laggy.
  • Reboot your system to free up RAM or close unneccassary processes in the task manager (ctrl+alt+del)


Best Choices For 2D Games


Camtasia Studio


How to record a game with Camtasia (Video)

Download
Size: 184 MB
Price: 300$ (Free 30 Days Trial Version)
Demo Restrictions: None

If you want to record lots of videos this is the best choice in my opinion. It offers lots of options and a complete little editing suite. However the price tag might put you off in the first place. Anyway don’t forget that you can record as much as you want for 30 days without any limitations… for free.

SnagIt


How to record a game with SnagIt (Video)

Download
Size: 30 MB
Price: 50$ (Free 30 Days Trial Version)
Demo Restrictions: None

Originally SnagIt was designed for taking screenshots. However you can also use it as a cheap alternative to Camtasia Studio. It doesn’t offer the editing environment and stuff but for a 1/6 of its price you can still get the same recording results.


HyperCam 3


How to record a game with HyperCam 3 (Video)

Download
Size: 8 MB
Price: 40$ (Free Demo works for unlimited time)
Demo Restrictions: Watermark

The best alternative to Camtasia for a fraction of it’s price.


Best Choices For 3D Games


Fraps


How to record a game with Fraps (Video)

Download
Size: 2 MB
Price: 37$ (Free Demo works for unlimited time)
Demo Restrictions: Watermark and recordings are restricted to 30 seconds

If you want to record DirectX/OpenGL games then give Fraps a try. If you don’t have any money you can glue multiple 30 sec segments together after you have recorded them… but you have to live with the watermark then.


PlayClaw


How to record a game with PlayClaw (Video)

Download
Size: 3 MB
Price: 30$ (Free Demo works for unlimited time)
Demo Restrictions: Watermark

Alternative to Fraps if you want to record demanding DirectX/OpenGL games.


Open Broadcaster Software

screenrecording-software-windows-open-broadcaster-software

Download
Size: 7 MB
Price: Free (Open Source)

Powerful and free software that allows you to record and even live stream 2D and 3D games…
For simple recording just go to “settings” -> “broadcast settings” -> “file output only”… and then select where the file should be saved and give it a name with a .mp4 ending (for example gameplay.mp4). Moreover PC Gamer also created a tutorial about livestreaming with Open Broadcaster Software.


More alternatives that I haven’t tested yet but are recommended by others:


Dxtory

screenrecording-software-windows-dxtory

Download
Size: 3 MB
Price: 45$ (Free Demo available)

Used by many YouTubers and TotalBisquit (He reported about it on reddit and twitter


Bandicam

screenrecording-software-windows-bandicam
Download
Size: 7 MB
Price: 39$ (Free Demo available)

Used by many YouTubers


Action!

screenrecording-software-windows-action
Download
Size: 17 MB
Price: 30$ (Free Demo available)

This recording software is relatively new and got greenlit on Steam Greenlight.


MSI Afterburner – Predator

screenrecording-software-windows-msiafterburner-predator
Download
Size: 22 MB
Price: Completely Free

Used by many YouTubers.
The program is usually a benchmark tool but has also a video capturing function called Predator. Note that you don’t need a MSI card for it to work. (Here is a screenshot of the settings)



Best Freeware Alternatives For 2D Games

CamStudio


How to record a game with Camstudio (Video)

Download
Size: 2 MB
Price: Free
Restrictions: None

A nice recorder that might need some fiddeling around with the codecs/settings until you get smooth results.

NOTE/UPDATE: new version comes with adware stuff during installation. earlier versions (2.0-2.5?) didn’t had that if i remember correctly…here are a few 1 star ratings that report about the adware issue).
so better use another free recorder that is actually really free (and also better) like OBS.

Krut

Download
Size: 5 MB
Price: Free
Restrictions: None

A decent lightweight open source recorder coded in Java.

Expression Encoder 4

Download
Size: 25 MB
Price: Free
Restrictions: Only WMV as Output Format and 10 minute segments

Nice little recorder (needs the NET Framework 4 installed).

BB FlashBack Express

Download
Size: 10 MB
Price: Free
Restrictions: Only AVI as Output Format

Another decent recorder. Note that after 30 days you have to register for free (means: give them an email adress)


Screenr


How to record a game with Screenr (Video)

Start Recording
Price: Free
Restrictions: 5 minutes limit per recording

Great online screen recorder! No need to install anything.

Note: After you have finished your recording you have to login with your Twitter account before you can download the video in MP4 format.
If you shouldn’t have a Twitter account then simply create one in 60 seconds. Here’s an example video that shows how to do that.

  • I find that Xfire works great for recording 3d games, and its free!

    Holt45

    October 17, 2011

  • Thanks for suggesting Xfire but it seems that it only supports certain games that are added to their database…

    PixelProspector

    October 20, 2011

  • Don’t forget Bandicam! It works great with MAME.

    hexcrass

    January 31, 2012

  • Just added it to the list! Thanks :)

    PixelProspector

    February 2, 2012

  • Nice list. Another freeware is kkapture

    http://www.farb-rausch.de/~fg/kkapture/

    I’ve had some success with it (never got the sound to work though), but it’s a bit like Taksi in that it some people get nothing.

    Tam Toucan

    April 3, 2012

  • I use D3DGear (www.d3dgear.com), it is a very fast video game recording software.

    ymike

    May 23, 2012

  • [...] have created some greats posts going into even more detail on various capture software for PC, Mac, and Linux, so please check those [...]

  • Coming-in-late but one contender for a great 3D recorder is MSI Afterburner – and it being free is a big plus too.

    Contrary to it’s title, it works on motherboards/GPUs from any manufacturer as well – it offers more onscreen overlay options than Fraps (tho it can be a bit fiddly) too.

    John Peat

    November 10, 2012

  • Thanks for the recommendation! It looks promising and it is good to know that there is now a proper free program for recording 3D games…I have just added it to the list :)

    PixelProspector

    November 12, 2012

  • Don’t forget open broadcaster! It’s truly excellent, completely free and open source. Though designed for livestreaming, it records as well, and is very customizable with regard to where video and audio sources come from. You can even customize hotkeys to switch which source it is recording at the press of a button.

    saluk

    January 19, 2013

  • Do anybody know Mirillis Action recording software? It’s best of game and desktop recording software on market. It’s shareware but it cost only 29$ for lifetime license . A lot of pro gamers started to use it. It have best performance of all programs and takes a lot less disc space . I can recommend it as a tutorial maker (desktop recording, win 8 too) but i watched a lot of gameplay movies on YT with Action! in use and it looks that it records Games nice too.

    Artur

    January 24, 2013

  • Thanks alot for the list man!!
    I love these Recorders –
    Bandicam
    Mrillis Action
    Expression Encoder
    BB Flashback
    Hypercam 3
    Snagit
    Camtasia Studio
    Thanks alot for these I Really appreciate it :)
    And don’t forget that expression encoder needs Microsoft.net Framework
    Thanks alot again

    Fabbi Alexa

    February 10, 2013

  • Hey Your the best man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :3
    THANKS ALOT FOR SAYING THESE RECORDERS I THOUGHT IT WAS BAD RECORDERS BUT IF PEOPLE RECOMMENDS THE RECORDERS I WILL DOWNLOAD IT!

    Numiel

    February 10, 2013

  • I Tried action, the free version but there is a water mark D:

    k30n333

    April 4, 2013

  • Ocam is a great completely free screen recorder like camstudio.

    http://ohsoft.net/product_ocam.php

    Finn

    May 4, 2013

  • What about any screen recording app for iOS & Android devices?
    Is there any that work at its best to provide lag-free trailer/gameplay video?
    What about mirroring from iOS/Android devices to HDTV and then record it?

    Andre

    July 3, 2013

  • SmartPixel(http://www.smartpixel.com) is also a very nice screen capturing software for tutorials and game videos.

    Alex Shawn

    July 15, 2013

  • The only gripe I have with KRUT is that it doesn’t save its settings, so one has to re-enter them upon restart. Other than that, its a great and simple too. Plus, its open source, so one could fix the problem for himself (and for others) if he knows how to.

    Wontorres

    August 11, 2013