How to Record Your Desktop Using VLC Media Player

If you have been looking for a simple way to record your desktop and may be share the video on YouTube, then you already have the means. The means is of course VLC Media Player. There are many features of this software besides the ability to play videos of any format. Recording your desktop in your desired format happens to be one of them.

To perform desktop video recording, we have to use the “Capture Devices” feature. It is accessible from Media > Open Capture Device. From there we will choose Desktop as a capture mode and stream it to a video file. Advanced users have already figured out the steps, but for the simple user- here are the steps in detail:

  1. In VLC, click on Media > Open Capture Device [CTRL + C].
    Open Capture Device
  2. For Capture Mode, choose “Desktop”. Also chose a desired frame rate.
  3. In the bottom, press the small down facing arrow and choose Stream.
    Capture Device Wizard
    A stream output wizard will open. Hit next.
  4. In “New destination” make sure “File” is selected and then click on Add.
    Stream to File
  5. Browse the location to save your recording file and give in a full filename like record.mp4. Hit Next.
    File Destination Stream
  6. Under profile choose the video format and container. The default H264 video format with MP3 audio is a great choice. Hit Next.
    Transcoding Options
  7. Click on “Stream” and the recording begins immediately.
    Begin Recording
  8. To end the recording, press the stop button in the main VLC screen.


  1. You will know that the recording is in progress as the timer in player screen increments.
  2. After stopping, locate the video file you just saved and play it to see your recorded screen.
  3. If you want a smoother video, then try increasing the frame rate. Higher frame rate means smoother videos but it requires greater computing power and resources of your laptop or desktop.

Display Mouse Pointer in Recorded Videos

If you’ve noticed that without additional configuration, your mouse pointer is not recorded when you capture your desktop using VLC. To configure a pointer to be displayed, you’ll have to download a mouse pointer image and configure it to be used as the screen mouse image.

To do so:

  • Download a mouse pointer image file. Here’s one for you.
  • Place the mouse.png file in your VLC Program files folder i.e. C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\
  • In step 7 of the desktop capture wizard—when you reach the Stream Output option step—add the following at the end:

    :screen-follow-mouse :screen-mouse-image=mouse.png

    mouse Stream Output
    In Generated stream output string and click stream

You can have all the fancy looking graphics as your mouse pointer.

19 thoughts on “How to Record Your Desktop Using VLC Media Player

    1. In response to those having problems with VLC crashing when capturing the desktop in Windows 7:
      I’ve found this to be a problem with VLC 2.2.1 or later (documented bug). Version 2.1.5 does not have this issue. If you’ve already installed the latest version (like I did), uninstalling the newer version must be followed by deleting the VideoLAN folder from Program Files (or Program Files x86 depending on version)…uninstall does not clean this folder out. Then install version 2.1.5.

      I also found that capturing to a network location doesn’t seem to work well either, so capture to a folder on the local drive.

      Spent hours until I found this magic combination to getting the capture desktop feature to work.

      Hope this helps.

      1. I just tried it – worked perfectly. Thank you so much for taking the time to figure it out and being willing to share.

  1. why can’t I put the image in my home folder and give the absolute path? how can i record the cursor if i have no admin/superuser privileges so i can’t put it in install dir?

  2. Found the issue is all the different parameters for web cams. Choose “device settings” you don’t need to bother setting size, frame rate just push play and the info for camera will appear and they are already set for you.

  3. I have issues with play back of video capture of web cam they play so slowly. Have changed the input rate to 30 and size to 1280×720……but then I get error msg file settings do not fit parameters. This win 7….the win 8 computer handles without problem.

  4. There is a drop down from view which allows you to select “advanced controls”. Another bar will appear at bottom you can hit the record button to capture video. It will automatically save to my video file.

  5. Same disappearing window here… only the “Play” option works with no audio and at 4GB/minute avi. You see the VLC icon for a second in the taskbar and then it’s just gone.

    1. There seems to be no limit but it is recommended to do the video recording in parts. That way you do not lose your content when there’s an error.

  6. I have been trying to capture my desktop (actually game video) or just the still desktop but every time I set up the capture and press start, the VLC window closes. When I try to re open it , I get an error message saying that VLC has crashed. This happens both when I try to capture or use the streaming to a file functions. Other media playback seem to work ok. I have twice downloaded the program and re installed but no success. I have used the default settings as well as creating my own profile for high motion capture. Nothing is captured or streamed and the resultant files have 1k only.

    Win7 pro 64
    i7 2.8 intel processor
    NVidia GeForce 580
    12 gb RAM

    1. I have the same problem, running roughly the same system.
      A file is created, but no program (including VLC) is able to read it.
      Also tried uninstall and installing from fresh download, same result.
      Also tried different settings, same result.
      I was hoping that by now there would be a solution.
      This happened with version 2.2.2 and now also with 2.2.3

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