Software Windows

How do I record a Windows 11 desktop as a video?

Screengrab showing Snipping Tool caputuring video in Windows 11
Camera... action! Record your Windows 11 screen

It can be incredibly useful to create a video of a Windows desktop. Microsoft has updated one of their most overlooked tools to make the process simple and forgoing the need to buy expensive screen capture software. The built-in Snipping Tool can now capture video, either at full screen or in a specific area. Here’s our quick guide on how to record a Windows 11 desktop as a video.

Can Windows Snipping Tool record video?

It certainly can now. The newer versions of Snipping Tool will capture the screen and output an MP4 file. Let’s dive straight in. Open the Windows 11 menu, typing Snipping into the menu.

Screengrab showing search for Snipping Tool in Windows 11

Select Snipping Tool from the menu and when it launches, gaze in astonishment at the new button on the interface.

Snipping Tool interface

Next to the Snip button is Record, which controls the video functionality. Click Record and select New when you’re ready to make movie magic.

Screengrab showing search for  Snipping Tool in Windows 11

To record the Windows desktop as a video, you’ll need to select the recording area. Left click and drag the mouse to make a rectangle over a portion of the screen or its entirety. The box doesn’t vanish when the left button is released, but remains on screen with handy drag handles. These can be used to move and resize the capture area.

When the capture area is in the correct place, press the Start which is at the top of the screen.

Commencing the capture countdown

Screenshot of Snipping Tool Capture Countdown

Windows Snipping Tool will display a visual 3 – 2 – 1 countdown before the capture begins. The area which you selected will be highlighted in a dotted red box, giving a simple aide-memoire, but it won’t appear in the footage. A duration timer will also tick away, indicating how long the capture has been in progress. When you are sure that the Oscar winning footage is in the can, select the Red Stop button.

Saving a video of a Windows desktop

Now that the capture has concluded, the Snipping Tool windows re-appears. You have the option to preview the footage by clicking the Play button, or hit save and Snipping Tool will give you the usual options to save the MP4.

It would be remiss of us to not include a video of recording a desktop as a video, so here’s one. There’s no sound, but you’ll see the process of launching Snipping Tool, selecting a full desktop and capturing a web page. Grab your popcorn and enjoy cinematic gold:

Video recording is a handy addition to the Windows Snipping Tool. The footage is recorded at 30 frames per second (fps) so it’s certainly watchable and can easily be uploaded to social media or thrown into editing software for titles and a trim.

We look forward to hearing Big Tech Question being thanked when you collect your first Bafta.

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About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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