Xbox Game Bar fails to record non-gaming activities for some

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A number of users recently reported that after updating their hardware to the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, they have lost some of the functionalities of the Xbox Game Bar.

They reported that whenever they try using the Xbox Game Bar’s screen recording function while outside of an actual game, they would be prompted with the following error:

gaming features unavailable windows desktop error

Most users have concluded that this is probably due to the fact that the Xbox Game Bar is mostly targeted at recording and streaming during gaming sessions.

They went on adding that:

Probably streaming focused update and trying to prevent people from accidentally live streaming their desktop/personal files. Seems like they provide you instructions right there on how to steam your desktop though.

What this means is that while the Xbox Game Bar is indeed a welcome addition to the Windows OS, it doesn’t fulfill the role of screen recorder entirely.

Users still have to rely on third-party software solutions in order to record their screens when performing activities other than gaming.


Looking for a really powerful tool to record your gameplay? Here are our top picks.


The community was quick to dismiss this restriction regarding the Xbox Game Bar’s functionality, stating that:

It’s silly to restrict video recording to games though. People take screen casts (of apps that aren’t games) all the time, they’re great for demoing something. Macros already lets people record screens the same way they take screen shots. Print Screen should just add video already.

Of course, there is a workaround the issue in that you can manually add programs that the Game Bar will see as “games”. This will force the Xbox Games Bar to launch every time you open a game or a program on the exception list.

Alternatively, you could just use the Win+Alt+R key combination during any activity in order to force the Xbox Game Bar to record it.

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