How to Record Your PC Screen for Free

Though Streamlabs Desktop is synonymous with live streaming and Twitch, it’s also very useful for recording your PC screen. While there are many different programs available for screen recording, you’ll find Streamlabs Desktop to be one of the most straightforward and easy to use. In today’s tutorial, we’ll show you how to install and set up Streamlabs Desktop so you can start recording your computer screen in minutes.

Why Should I Record My PC Screen?

There are many reasons why you might want to record your PC screen, including:

  • Capturing important work meetings
  • Recording classes or lectures to refer back to later
  • Uploading your gameplay to YouTube
  • Capturing a bug or error in action to send to tech support
  • Filming a tutorial to share with others
  • And more!

Step 1: Download and Install Streamlabs Desktop

To download Streamlabs Desktop, visit and click the Download button to obtain the latest version. Streamlabs Desktop is free to download and use. If you’re looking to add advanced features, you can try Streamlabs Ultra which is available for $19 USD per month (we highly recommend this for content creators).

An image of the Streamlabs Desktop main page with the download button in the top right corner

Once you have downloaded Streamlabs Desktop, click Yes to allow it to make changes to your device and I Agree after reading the licensing statement. Your PC will then ask you to choose a location for the folder and then you can click Install.

Step 2: Configure Your Sources and Settings

Now you can run Streamlabs Desktop and get ready to record. Your main Streamlabs Dashboard will look something like this:

An image of the Streamlabs Desktop main Editor screen

From here, you need to add a few sources so that Streamlabs Desktop knows what you want to record. Click on the plus (+) icon next to Sources to get started. From the sources list, you can choose Display Capture, which will capture everything that appears on your monitor, or you can capture a specific window like an app, game, or browser with Window Capture.

Unless you need to record everything on your screen for a certain reason, we recommend using Window Capture. We’ll show you how to set it up.

Choose Window Capture from the sources list and click Add Source.

An image of the Streamlabs Desktop sources list with Window Capture highlighted

Give your source a name. The default is Window Capture but you can change it if you prefer. Click Add Source when you’re done.

Now you need to choose which window you want to record. Make sure the app or program is open and running. We’ll choose Google Chrome for this tutorial. In the Window dropdown menu, choose Google Chrome (or whichever window you want to capture) and click Done.

An image of the Streamlabs Desktop window capture window selection tool

In the Editor screen for Streamlabs Desktop, we can see that the Google Chrome window has been added.

The Streamlabs Desktop Editor page with a Google Chrome window capture selected

If you do not require sound or a webcam, you can hit the REC button in the bottom right corner to start recording. We’ll show you how to add those other sources just in case.

How to Record Your Desktop Audio

To include any sounds played by your PC in your recording, you need to add a proper audio source. Click the plus (+) sign and choose Audio Output Capture from the source list. You’ll know you’ve chosen the correct sound source because it will say, “Supports: Desktop Audio” on the right side of your screen. Click Add Source.

The Streamlabs Desktop source selection popup window with Audio Output Capture selected

You can give your source a new name or use the “Audio Output Capture” default. Click Add Source.

You should now be able to hear sound from your PC in your recording. We recommend doing a quick test recording to verify you’ve set up everything correctly.

How to Add a Webcam to Your Recording

If you want to add a webcam window to your recording, you’ll need to add both the webcam’s video source and an audio input source (either an external microphone or your webcam’s built-in mic). Click the plus (+) sign and choose Video Capture Device from the source list. 

You can give your webcam a name or use the “Video Capture Device” default. Click Add Source.

Make sure that your webcam is properly connected. Select your webcam from the Device dropdown menu. You should see yourself appear on screen. Click Close when finished.

Back in the Editor screen, we can see that the webcam has been successfully added. You can move it around the screen and place it wherever you like by clicking and dragging. 

To resize: Drag the corner or side points of the webcam window to resize it. 

To crop: Hold ALT and drag to crop it.

How to Add Microphone Audio to Your PC Recording

Now that you have webcam video, we need to add the proper audio source. If you want to use an external mic, such as a Blue Yeti, make sure it is connected. Click on the plus (+) sign and choose Audio Input Capture from the source list. 

You can give your microphone a name or use the “Audio Input Capture” default. Click Add Source.

From the popup screen, choose your microphone from the Device dropdown list. If you do not have an external microphone, select your webcam to use its built-in microphone (providing it has one). Click the Test Audio button to do a quick check that your microphone is working and close the screen when you’re finished.

Back in the Editor screen, we can see that all four of our sources are listed under the source list. We successfully added 1. A window capture, 2. Desktop audio, 3. Our webcam’s video feed, and 4. Our external microphone. From here, we’re ready to start recording.

Step 3: Record Your Screen

We recommend doing a short test before recording your main footage, just to ensure everything is properly set up. Click on the REC button in the bottom right corner to record a short test. When you’re finished, click the same button to stop recording. Note: Ignore the “Go Live” button as this is for live streaming to Twitch, YouTube Live, etc.

You will see a notification in the bottom left corner of your screen that says, “A recording has been completed.” Click the notification to open a popup where you can see information about your recording. By default, your recording will be saved under Videos in your PC storage.

Now you’re ready to record your screen for work, school, hobbies—whatever you like. If you want to explore the many different features Streamlabs Desktop offers, be sure to check out our other articles. If you’re a creator who streams, makes YouTube videos, or runs a podcast, consider subscribing to Streamlabs Ultra to access our full creator suite of tools to grow your business.

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