Free Desktop Recording Tools

By Chris Moore

Desktop recording software is a useful tool for recording tutorials or troubleshooting videos on your computer, and has other uses as well. While professional-level recording programs are available, simpler tools also exist that you can download for free. These programs often have very easy-to-use controls you can quickly learn after downloading.


CamStudio is a free software program that records your screen movements and audio as an AVI video file. The program also includes an SWF producer to convert the files into Flash videos for streaming online. Captioning and "picture-in-picture" options are also available. The software is compatible with both Windows XP and Vista. There are also options for adjusting the picture while recording, depending on whether you want a smaller video or DVD-quality footage.

Desktop Activity Recorder

Desktop Activity Recorder, produced by SpeedAps, is downloadable from websites such as BrotherSoft. This freeware application records all activity on your computer desktop, and can record the file in AVI format for burning onto a DVD, or in SWF files for Flash streaming. Sound is also recorded through your computer's built-in microphone. Your computer screen can be recorded in full, or just one small section. Activity Recorder is compatible with every form of Windows operating system, from Windows 2000 on up.

Wipedio TV

In terms of file size, Wipedio TV is one of the smallest recorder downloads, at just 381 to 428 kilobytes. It is compliant with the XP and Vista operating systems and can record both compressed and uncompressed AVI video files with no limit on length.

Jing Project

The Jing Project was developed by Techsmith, which has helped produce numerous other types of screen-recording software. Along with being free, Jing is much simpler than its professional-grade counterparts, such as SnagIt or Camtasia Studio. This Mac-compliant program has options for changing the size of the recording screen, as controls the ability to pause, resume and mute during recording. Recorded videos can be saved for distribution anywhere, but Jing is also directly compliant with the file sharing website you have a user account.