Is there a way to do screen recording on Windows 7 without installing third-party software? (Doing it with Microsoft software would be okay.)

Specifically, I'd like to be able to run a program and generate a video file (for example, .avi) of the session. These would be short 30 second or so clips.

5 Answers 5


The closest thing I can think of is Problem Steps Recorder.

You can access it by clicking the Start button and typing "psr.exe" and hitting enter.

This tool will record each mouse-click and save it as an image, then compile everything into HTML (more specifically, a Microsoft MHT file). However this is not a video capture tool. As far as I know, there isn't one built-in to Windows.

You may look into downloading the free VLC player. With VLC, you can use your desktop as a capture device:

  1. Click Media
  2. Click Open Capture Device
  3. Choose Capture Mode: Desktop (at this point, you may want to set a higher FPS)

..and then stream it to a file:

  1. Click the arrow icon to the right of play, and click "Stream"
  2. Leave the default "Source: screen://" and click "Next"
  3. Select "File" in the dropdown and click "Add"
  4. Choose a filename then click "Next"
  5. Choose your encoding and then click "Next"
  6. Click "Stream"

Hope this helps.

  • 2
    VLC for capturing screen is really annoying Jun 29, 2011 at 13:28
  • VLC is really a great option unless you need to track mouse movement and events and/or track multiple screens Jun 19, 2012 at 12:01
  • 3
    More information on screen capture with VLC: superuser.com/questions/261167/… May 16, 2013 at 19:26
  • @Travis I tried this several times with different encoders. I have to uncheck "Activate transcoding" or they crash. Mar 21, 2016 at 0:18


You asked for "without third party software". I suggest you Microsoft´s Expression Encoder 4. There´s a limited free version that captures the screen for 10 minutes.


You can use "Screenrecorder" which is a utility from Microsoft, based on Windows Media Encoder.

It's not included by default in Windows, but can be downloaded from this Microsoft Technet page.

  • It records into WMV. Unfortunately it doesn't show mouse clicks on the record in any way. Just the cursor. May 2, 2019 at 21:33

I've used CamStudio in the past. You could install it elsewhere, copy to a USB drive, and use it portably from there?


If the problem is specifically installing third-party software, you can use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to your Windows 7 box from another PC that does have recording software installed, and record just the Remote Desktop Connection window.

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