Editor’s Words: Screen recorder doesn’t have to be expensive, even those freebies can help you create a high quality screencast on your Windows computer easily with no watermark or strict time limit.
People love freeware, maybe because they cannot afford a premium one, they don’t want to invest on such kind of thing, or they just need to use the tool occasionally and free program is their top choice. Surly the same reasons for customers who love free screen recorder and come to this page.
No matter what’s your cause being here, I know having a quality free screen recorder for your PC is important for you to keep your on-screen activities or any online streaming content as a media file locally without cost. So we put our efforts into this best free list and finally picked out top 8 free screen recording software for Windows for your reference. Hope any one among this crowd is what you desire to obtain. Since there’s no specific rank of the list, we will display them in the alphabetic order.
[Frequent Asked Questions on Screen Recorder]
Q1. What’s the difference between paid screen recorder and free screen recorder for Windows?
Generally, they two both have the most basic abilities such as recording full desktop, recording a window or a selected region with system sound / microphone. The difference may lie in time limit, default brand-labeled watermark, advanced setting options, built-in toolbox and of course the easy-of-use or say interface design.
Q2. How to choose the best screen recorder for me?
It depends on what’s your purpose, your computer skill and the budget. If you only need to keep a record of some screen actions or media content and don’t want to shell out some cash, freeware is just enough and perfect. If you’re an advanced user and have more requirements on video format, quality, size, and even want to do annotation, edits, or scheduled capture, paying for a premium like RecMaster will save you much time to implement your plan.
Supported OS: Any Windows system with browser and web connection
ApowerRec is a popular screen recording service online. Once you visit its official site and click the “Start Recording” button, you can download and install an Apowersoft Online Launcher. With this launcher, you can record the full screen or a specific region (with sound / webcam) into MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV etc. Also, an easy annotation tool is given for marking or highlighting something during the capture process. When the capture is over, you can save the video file to your hard drive or upload it to cloud space.
Cons: Unable to capture webcam/audio only, no editor tool
Note: Another similar free online screen recorder named screencast-o-matic also works in the same way and it has a 15-min time limit. If you are willing to have a try, just search the name on Google. We won’t review it later in this post.
Supported OS: Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
CamStudio is able to record the full desktop screen, a Window, a (fixed) region with audio and output the file into AVI, MP4 or bandwidth-friendly SWF format. As a feature-packed stuff, it also supports adding facecam, caption/watermark/time stamp annotations, and cursor effects into screencast. The built-in and unique SWF Producer is a great tool to convert AVI clip into SWF without turning to another video converter. From the available system versions, we can see the CamStudio is a little bit outdated. In fact, its latest version V2.7.2 was released in October, 2013, and the developers do haven’t upgraded their item for a long time. But, it’s still worth your try because no upgrading doesn’t mean it’s out of service.
Supported OS: Windows XP3, 7, 8, and 10
ezvid, claimed as the world’s easiest screen capture program for Windows, is capable of capturing gameplay, desktop and your voice alone. For desktop recording, you are free to enable microphone/webcam/capture area selection and use handset mode or transparent mode to achieve a better performance. Besides, ezvid does offer many down-to-earth abilities like writing video title/description, adding free background music, “Speech Synthesis”, inputting text/picture/video into recorded file, screen drawing, splitting and changing playback speed of the clip.
Cons: No webcam recording only, support WMV video only, 45-minute capture length at most, microphone & handset ads (if you don’t like it)
OS: Windows 10/8/7 32- and 64-bit
Free Cam is a quite lightweight free tool for screen recording and editing. It features recording full screen, selected area or any selected application with your voice or system sound on Windows. Two 720p sizes at 16:9 and 4:3 are preloaded respectively. Also, you can show mouse cursor with highlight and click sound effects. As to the embedded video editor, it has more features than general freeware. You can trim/silence/delete video, remove noise, adjust volume, apply fade-in or fade-out effect into the clip’s audio. After that, Free Cam allows you to one-click share the screencast to YouTube or save it WMV format.
Cons: Unable to capture screen with webcam/capture audio only, only output WMV, user can only download it with email
Supported OS: Windows XP or higher
As usual, FlashBack Express Recorder gives options for recording full screen, region and window. You can use either of them and add microphone, PC sounds and webcam into it. Compared to other competitors, FlashBack is equipped with more settings on capture details like file size limit, recording time limit, quality level, frame per second/fps, hiding desktop icons/taskbar, change resolution while recording and similar. Better still, the scheduled recording function on the main UI help you create any timed recording in the future. The only thing you should note is that this excellent free screen recorder for Windows only outputs video in FBR format. In this way, you have to use its player fellow or pro version for conversion or playback.
Cons: Only save video as its own .fbr format, no annotation tool, no edit feature unless upgrade to Pro vesion
Supported OS: Windows 10 only
As an integrated feature of Windows 10 system, Game bar helps users capture MP4 HD screen video on gameplay, application or browser alone quickly without downloading any third-party program. You are allowed to set fps, quality and what audio to take in. As long as it’s enabled, you can tap “WIN + G” to pop it up and start the screencast at one go. Born to bring about more convenient screen capture, Game bar has some shortcomings indeed, for example, it’s unable to grab the full screen, capture a user-defined area, and the maximum recording length is 4 hours.
Cons: Only capture a single window, time limit, no annotation or editor tool
Supported OS: Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
OBS Studio is a freemium and open source application that tops the ranking of many best (free) screen recorder lists. As a professional-level screencast app, it makes it possible to create different scenes with whatever sources and gives you the power to switch between them via transitions at will. The source range covers everything that may appear on the desktop screen such as (full screen) display capture, game capture, window capture, browser, video capture device, VLC, photo slide show, audio input/output capture and text. Besides diversified sources, there are still quite many settings on video, audio and output you can customize, including capture size, quality, encoder (support QuickSync X264), format (support remixing recorded video to MP4) and audio track number (up to 6).
Cons: No editor or annotation tool attached, unfriendly to novices, maybe black screen
Supported OS: All Windows versions from Windows XP SP3 to the last Windows 10
Without doubt, VLC, even though it’s not a dedicated screen recorder, embraces the most Windows systems than any expert screen recorder, either free or paid. Therefore, if you didn’t find out the ideal one that’s workable on old your computer or laptop or you happen to have VLC installed on your machine, why not give this media geek a chance to show his capture talent? The hidden gadget for screencast is called Capture Device, which you can press Ctrl + C or click from Media menu to navigate to. Three capture modes are given and they are DirectShow, TV-Digital and Desktop. Desktop is the most commonly used for screen filming. So choose it, tweak fps (to at least 20), finish convert settings (if necessary), and end go back to the main UI to start and end the record. >> VLC Screen Capture Guide
Cons: Record desktop only, no editor or annotation toolbox
There are also many top-ranked “free screen recorders” we didn’t mention in this list, say TinyTake, Free Screen Video Recorder, Bandicam Free Screen Recorder and Loom. They are all good screencast bets, however, since they may have a short time limit or act as a free trial role with obvious upsell prompt, we just leave them out and pay more attention to the real freeware with longer or no time limitation. We still didn’t cover these free services coming from hardware or gaming company like Nvidia Shadowplay, AMD Radeon ReLive and Xbox APP’s Game DVR feature, because if you are an avid PC or gaming nerd, you must have got the names by yourselves or from your fellows. By the way, we’ve also published related list articles on best screen recorder for Windows (Free & Paid) and 2020 top game recording software for Windows. Click to check if you are interested in.
RecMaster – Record Every Moment on Your Computer Screen
Record 1080p or even 4K clips at 60fps to maintain the high quality still.
Flexible settings for mouse cursor effects, watermark and annotations.
Preloaded with recording scheduler, video editor. Allow one-click sharing.