Round up: The best free screen recorder 2016

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Record games and tutorials

Fancy becoming the next PewDiePie, showing other people how to play big name games on YouTube? Would you like to make demos to show off your apps, or to teach others how to use specific software? Then you need a screen recorder.

The simplest screen recorders record what you do as you do it, but many offer editing, additional audio, picture in picture and on-screen drawing. These are our favorites.

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Download CamStudio free
CamStudio is an open source project, meaning it’s in constant development and is completely free to download and use

1. CamStudio

A free, open source recorder more flexible than many paid-for tools

Download CamStudio freeMany free screen recorders are very limited in what they do, because they’re intended as adverts for paid-for products. Not CamStudio. This open source software is completely free to download and use for whatever purpose you see fit.

The app is designed to record in AVI format, which you can also convert to Flash video, and you can adjust the video quality and choose between capturing the entire screen or just part of it. The app also offers picture-in-picture video and anti-aliased captions.

Download CamStudio freeThis flexibility and absence of watermarks or time restrictions makes it our number one choice for recording what’s happening on your screen. Read on for four more of our top picks.

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Download FRAPS free
FRAPS is the tool of choice for many gamers wanting to record Let’s Play videos, though you’ll need the paid-for version to record for longer than 30 seconds

2. FRAPS

A good choice for gamers, but the free version is limited

Designed specifically for recording games, FRAPS is free to use if you don’t need your clips to be longer than 30 seconds. That’s not enough for a Minecraft tutorial, of course, but it’s fine for shorter clips – and with a maximum possible resolution of 7,680 x 4,800 it’s capable of recording even the most cutting-edge graphics.

Download FRAPS freeThe software’s developers recommend using Windows Live Movie Maker to convert your clips into web-friendly formats, which is an extra step we’d rather avoid.

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Download ezvid free
Some of ezvid’s handiest functions are the ability to annotate your recordings on screen and upload the results directly to YouTube without spending time converting video formats

3. ezvid

Record, annotate and upload directly to YouTube

The marketing is a bit excitable – it compares ezvid‘s feature list to expensive paid-for packages without mentioning that free apps such as Windows Live Movie Maker boast the same editing options – but if you’re looking for a straightforward screen recorder then ezvid is very easy to use.

Download EzvidIt enables you to edit your recordings, add slides, change the speed and upload directly to YouTube, and you can draw on screen or turn typed text into spoken audio. It’s particularly popular with Minecraft players.

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Download Rlystim Screen Recorder free
If you’re interested in recording software walkthroughs rather than games, Rlystim is a neat little tool that makes capturing your screen incredibly simple

4. Rylstim Screen Recorder

Not one for gamers, but ideal for software tutorials

Screen recording doesn’t get much simpler than this: launch Rylstim Screen Recorder, click ‘Start record’, and press F9 when you’re done. It’s not one for would-be games vloggers – there’s no support for sound recording – and it doesn’t include any editing tools, but there’s a good range of export formats and you can always add audio later in another free app.

Download Rylstim Screen RecorderRylstim Screen Recorder is ad-funded, but the advertisements are just small ones at the bottom of the options window.

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Download TinyTake free
TinyTake offers handy annotation tools, and you can record from your webcam as well as your screen

5. TinyTake

Quick and simple to use, but lacking some advanced options

TinyTake makes some big promises: not only is it free, it claims to be the best of its breed. It enables you to capture the whole screen or just a region for up to 120 minutes, to annotate the video and to share the results online – provided you have a MangoApps account.

Download TinyTakeIt’s a well crafted app, but it’s best suited to educational and business use where the lack of export options isn’t an issue.

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