I used to be able to capture a video of my desktop in Windows 7 in an older version of VLC media player. But they've recently changed the UI, and I can't seem to work out now how to record my desktop in the latest version of VLC media player 1.1.7.

I've searched the Internet, but all the tutorials and "how-tos" target an older version of VLC media player.

What are all the steps (how you chose what file you want to save the recoding to, etc.), not just to use screen:// or choose desktop. The problem I'm having is actually saving it out as a file.

Perhaps it's because my Windows 7 is 64 bit and VLC is 32 bit?

  • I can't remember now, I put it down in the end to a mismatch of 32 bit VLC on 64 bit Windows. Oct 10 '15 at 5:38
  • Still doesn't work now. I just tried 32 bit VLC on 32 bit Windows 7 and got 1 1KB file. Makes you wonder if anyone has ever tested this in 5 years! Oct 10 '15 at 5:41
  • This works using ActivePresenter the posted answer below doesn't for me.
    – William
    Jan 22 '16 at 23:39

I'm running VLC v1.1.8

  1. Go to Media
  2. Click Open Capture Device
  3. In the capture mode dropdown (where it says DirectShow by default), select Desktop

The show more options checkbox will allow you to adjust extra functions

Next click the dropdown arrow next too play and select convert

This will allow you to select the file save location (remember to add the file container e.g MP4) preform a test run in case you are unsure which file container you require.

Next select the settings you require from the drop down box you can edit them as required.

When you select convert the vlc screen will black out and recording will begin. Please note there is no audio capture (at least not in the settings I used)

Press stop to finish recording

Edit: Updated too add notes from my comment for an easier read

  • The "Capture Mode" is also available from the "Streaming" menu option on the "Capture Device" tab.
    – heavyd
    Apr 7 '11 at 2:57
  • And then what do I do? There's a play button. Do I press that? Apr 7 '11 at 4:54
  • Sorry I hadn't looked into this properly, I selected the arrow dropdown then selected Convert, specified the location and saved as filename.mp4 and selected the video profile for MP4 (this may be different for you) this then blacks out the vlc screen and starts recording a file too the place you specified, too stop recording press the stop button. (There was no audio recorded even though i had audio playing)
    – Arch Angel
    Apr 8 '11 at 14:25
  • 2
    When I try your example I get a file (I called it out.mp4) with only 717 bytes, and which won't play in VLC afterwards. Apr 12 '11 at 3:46
  • 2
    Just tried on 1.1.9 too but still no luck. Apr 13 '11 at 1:10

If you are really looking for a screencast, then why do you need VLC? You can always go for software such as screen-capture-recorder-to-video-windows-free and virtual-audio-capture-grabber-device which are free and open source. If you want to see how it works before trying it out, you can visit this tutorial.

The basic logic behind these is that they use ffmpeg2 which in turn uses 'screen-capture-recorder-to-video-windows-free' for its video input and 'virtual-audio-capture-grabber-device which are free' for its audio input. Both of these are configurable. The tutorial shows how smooth the recording goes. These software also provide a UI (developed in Java) for changing settings as suited to the user.

e.g use (from command line):

ffmpeg -f dshow -i audio="virtual-audio-capturer":video="screen-capture-recorder" ScreenCast.mp4


I believe "screen://" is what you are looking for.

Good discussion here: http://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=48324

  • 1
    I tried screen:// and then tried to get it to stream/convert to a file but it only ever seems to make a file with zero bytes in it. Mar 24 '11 at 6:23
  • also discussion refers to a version from 3 years ago. VLCs UI has changed a bit since then Apr 7 '11 at 5:02

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