Is there a way to record a computer monitor's output?

I remember when I was a kid I used to make movies of myself playing video games–like a movie recording of the actual output from the video game consol itself.

Is there some way to do this with a computer?

(Do I need to make this question more clear?)


Yes, many graphics cards have a TV out these days, and can be plugged into a TV or VCR.


I was hoping for a way just to record it into an wmv or mpg file, not onto a tape… Sorry I know I didn’t make that clear.


There are some things available but they tend to slow your computer down considerably.

You can check this search at to see if one will work for you. There are also tons of others that are mainly used to spy on other people’s activities but you could probably force to work for what you want if you insist.

      • What you want is typically called “screen recording software”, that produces a movie file of screen motions. I don’t know any free ones right off, but a lot of the same companies that have screen grabbers (that grab still image screenshots) also have recording software.

Fraps is one such program, but as mentioned you need a bit of computing grunt and HDD space for effective results.

Snapz Pro, if you’re on a Mac.

SnagIt might work for you.