I want to record some tutorials / workings of my programs / desktop activities / old-school gaming in Windows 8.1.

I tried a few video capture programs, but the results didn't satisfy me.

I tried:

  • Ezvid. Seemed very promising but failed to save the recording as any format, displaying the error 'inconsistent file type`. Neither I could get to anywhere with googling the error code nor made use of FAQ page. So this option, sadly, failed.
  • CamStudio. The quality of the capture was terrible even though I used other drivers in the list than the built-in Intel graphics and played with the capture settings. The program is definitely not user-friendly (at least for people like me who are complete newbies to video editing / capturing).

So, I'm looking for a - preferably free, possibly user-friendly - video capture software for Windows, just like the Geany IDE of Linux: lightweight and robust. Videos should be able to be recorded at 720p and at least 24FPS.

Edit: In addition to the answers to this question, there are more alternative programs that can be found under another question: What is a screen recorder with mouse movement and can save the recording as video?


8 Answers 8


Open Broadcaster Software (free)

After months in search of a good, free screen capture program, I found this, and I knew that my search was finally over.

OBS is for both streaming and general screen capture. It can stream to a service like Twitch or just write to a local file. It uses x264, a powerful encoder for the H.264 (.mp4) codec, which allows for flexible compression and low file sizes.

It uses a scene system, which lets you place images, text, or whatever you want on the output video. For compatibility, there are different scene objects called "Monitor Capture," "Video Capture Device," "Window Capture," and "Game Capture" all for reliably capturing portions of the screen. It also has a plugin system in case you want a specific feature implemented, like a live chat or playing another video within the stream.

Another very useful feature that OBS has is that you don't need to use something like Virtual Audio Cable to merge the speaker output and microphone; you can tell OBS to do that as a built-in feature.

Screenies: Main screen Options window

  • 1
    Wow, I asked the question for recording StarCraft Broodwar in windowed mode, but in the near future, I was planning to upgrade to something just like this one for perhaps SC2 or other gaming recording. You saved me some valuable time. Thanks! +1.
    – Varaquilex
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 0:09

You can use Screencast-O-Matic:

  • Straightforward to use (demo)
  • Light
  • Windows 8.1
  • 1080p
  • Most features are free but you need a pro account if you want to record videos longer than 15 minutes or control the FPS.
  • I'm positive with this one:) tried out, simple and straight forward. With the company of a tiny movie editor, it's very useful! Thanks for all 3 answers, I'll give others a try as well ^^
    – Varaquilex
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 0:06

Please see the authors update at the bottom

Spotlight Recorder Utility


I realize this is an older questions - but I have had amazing success with Burak Uysaler’s Utility Spotlight for the following reasons.

  • It is extremely lightweight at only 10MB
  • It is a Windows Utility, developed by Microsoft employee Burak Uysaler
  • Downloaded from TechnNet so you can be fairly sure it contains no malicious code
  • It can capture audio and video - so you can narrate

Update for Windows 10

So this answer has received a lot of interest, but unfortunately the spotlight utility stopped working for Windows 10. To fix this do the following.

  1. Uninstall Spotlight if you upgraded and it stopped working (if you dont have it installed skip this step)

  2. Install 7zip (if you don't already have it)

  3. Download WMEEncoder64.exe

  4. Open the executable in 7zip and move the WMEEncodeer64.msi to you C:\WMEEncodeer64.msi

  5. Open command prompt and run the following command

    msiexec.exe /i c:\WMEEncodeer64.msi /QN /L*V "%TEMP%\wmeencoder.log"

  6. You should now see a C:\Program Files\Windows Media Components\Encoder directory.

  7. Install the Spotlight Utility

Update from Author

Not sure why Burak deleted his comment, but here is what he wrote

Hi I’m Burak Uysaler. I developed the utility in https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.03.utilityspotlight2.aspx. But it has some issues with Win 10. So I corrected them and published at https://burakuysaler.wordpress.com/2020/03/16/screenrecorder-final-by-burak-uysaler/. As I don 't work at Microsoft anymore, I uploaded it to my Blog. Thanks.

  • First, things are a bit hazy around this utility. "Utility Spotlight" seems to be the name of the article series, the tool itself is only called "Screen Recorder". It can be downloaded from the linked page by the linkt titled "Code" (this will download binaries, not the [source] code). Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 21:34
  • 1
    Furthermore, the installer for the Screen Recorder will require "Windows Media Encoder 9", which in turn will require "DirectX 8.1 or higher". Unfortunately, the second installer fails to recognize that DirectX 12 is present in Windows 10. As a remedy, posts on Microsoft Answers suggest to unpack the Windows Media Encoder installer and directly run the contained .msi file to skip the DirectX check. Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 21:38
  • This is my favorite. But it no longer works on Windows 10 x64. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 20:08
  • Yes it does, you just need to mess around with it a bit. I got it working on windows 10 a few months ago. I could probably write what I did and send it to you i.imgur.com/QHiBr14.png Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 20:45
  • @Chris - yes yes please! It does not have to be in-depth, just enough to get me through it. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 12:26

For video games, you can use Fraps:

  • Straightforward to use
  • light
  • non-free
  • you can change the FPS and the resolution
  • Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (game capture only)

enter image description here

  • 1
    I own Fraps and it works well, but AFAIK it does not encode videos, which may make it fast, but that means the files are huge since they're the raw video input.
    – John B
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 16:23

You can use HyperCam:

  • non-free
  • straightforward to use
  • light
  • FPS can be changed

enter image description here


I like Loilo. Features that you might like include:

  • Free
  • No watermark unless you use the trial editing software. (In my case I plan to use Windows movie maker when the trial is over)
  • You can record as long as you want I record pretty long videos.
  • For me I found it seemed to use less resources then Fraps and Bandicam when recording. May depend on settings of all software)

I tried a few others and this was the only one that seemed to work well. The only caveat is that it comes bundled with a trial for video editing software.


My company is using Screenpresso

Capture your screen in HD videos

A small video is the key to reduce misunderstanding in documentation. Screenpresso records your screen in a video and produces lightweight MP4 video files for easy sharing.

  • Capture in MP4 format for lightweight files
  • Capture your microphone and webcam
  • Export frames/images
  • Resize the video at the end and change the format

screenpresso video capturing

The screenshot feature is also great

Capture screenshots including scrolling parts

Press the Print Screen button, and you will see how Screenpresso magically assists you in screen capture:
The mouse cursor will turn into a crosshair, and moving it around the screen will automatically highlight the area that can be captured in red. It does some pretty cool edge snapping to the screen, so you can choose to capture part of a window, or the entire window, or even the whole screen.

  • Capture full screen, part of the screen or a specific window with the same shortcut/hot key.
  • Make sure to capture exactly what you need. Click and drag anywhere on your screen to select a region with pixel perfect accuracy thanks to the zoom lens at the right bottom of the screen
  • Capture scrolling windows: Can’t fit it on the screen ? Make a unique image of scrolling windows thanks to the stitching mechanism.
  • Capture your mouse cursor and the context of the capture
  • Delay capture for capturing context menu

(image source: screenpresso.com)

It's free but with a small fee you'll get some more features like OCR and a full image editor


Modern video cards have screen and 3d application recording features included.

You don't need to install OBS or similar software with their CPU-consuming bells and whistles. Just install AMD or NVIDIA (depending on your video card) drivers and you'll be able to capture video already encoded in h264 or h265 with no FPS drop.

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