How to Record Your Desktop With Fraps

Written by michael carroll
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How to Record Your Desktop With Fraps
Capture video of your screen using Fraps to show others how to do something. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Fraps is a software tool used to monitor the performance of 3D computer games. Fraps can also capture the screen during a game, so you can take pictures and videos of your gameplay. Since the release of Fraps 2.9.8, you can record the Windows desktop just as you would a game, which opens up new applications for Fraps in Windows Vista and Windows 7. For example, you can record yourself performing some task in Windows, and then post the video online so others can follow along with your actions.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Download and install Fraps from

  2. 2

    Launch Fraps from the Desktop or Start Menu. The Fraps interface appears.

  3. 3

    Enable the "Monitor Aero desktop" checkbox in the bottom left corner of the window. The framerate monitor, yellow numbers on a black background, immediately appears in the top left corner of the screen.

  4. 4

    Click the "FPS" button along the top of the window to reveal the benchmarking options. Click the "Hide overlay" radio button near the bottom right corner of the window.

  5. 5

    Click the "Movies" button along the top of the window. Note the directory where video recordings are saved, and change it if you like by pressing "Change." Also note the Video Capture Hotkey, which is F9 by default. This is the key you'll use to start and stop the video capture. Change it if you want by clicking in the text field, and then pressing a new hotkey.

  6. 6

    Minimise the Fraps window. Press the Video Capture Hotkey to start capturing. The numbers on the Fraps icon in the right side of the taskbar will turn red to indicate recording has started. Perform whatever actions you want to capture, then press the Video Capture Hotkey again to finish recording (the numbers will return to yellow).

  7. 7

    Launch Windows Explorer, and then navigate to the videos directory ("C:\Fraps\Movies" by default). Double-click your video, titled according to the date and time it was recorded, to see how it came out.

Tips and warnings

  • Enable the "Record external input" checkbox on the "Movies" configuration screen if you want to record a voiceover track as you capture. Enable the next checkbox to specify a key to use for voiceover recording, so you can "punch in" voice instructions as you execute certain tasks.
  • Adjust the Video Capture Settings options on the "Movies" configuration screen if your captures are too jerky or slow. Try lowering the framerate and/or using the "Half-size" option.
  • The free version of Fraps will only capture 30 seconds of video. Purchase the full version if you need more recording time.

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