How to record screen and take screenshots of VirtualBox Virtual machines

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If you want to use more than one operating system in today’s world using a virtual machine is the best option, if you don’t want to mess with your system or your hard drive by creating multiple partitions to run multiple operating systems through multiple boot or dual boot. Using a virtual machine, you can install as many operating systems as you want, as long as your hard drive permits and also depending upon the RAM and processor capability if you want to run multiple virtual operating systems at the same time. But depending upon who you are, you might sometimes need to record the screen of a virtual machine just the same way you do on a normal computer.

Talking about screen recording, you can find hundreds of programs available on the Internet to record your screen and they can also be used to record the complete session of a virtual machine. You just have to start with selecting the area on the screen for recording or the complete display area of your screen including your host operating system and later trim the unwanted parts off. But as long as you are using a virtual machine using VirtualBox, you don’t need any third-party application to record the screen. VirtualBox comes with an option to record virtual machine sessions and I will discuss, how to do that here.

Recording virtual machine sessions on VirtualBox

Step 1: Open VirtualBox and turn on the virtual machine whose session is to be recorded.

Step 2: Once the operating system is turned on, simply click on the input and click on the ‘Recording’, under the ‘View’ menu.

Step 3: Under the ‘View’ menu, as well, you can take a screenshot using the ‘Take Screenshot…’ option. Alternatively, you can even use the ‘Host+E’ shortcut key to take a screenshot. The default host key is the right ‘Ctrl’ key, and thus, the shortcut key will be ‘Ctrl+E’.

Enable screen recording on VirtualBox 20

Step 4: Now the screen recording will start and will only be limited to the virtual machine area on the screen. It means all the activities that you carry on your host machine will not be recorded by the virtual machine at all.

Step 5: Once you are done with the complete recording, simply click on the ‘View’ menu again and click on ‘Recording’ to stop it.

*When a recording is going on, you can see a tick mark corresponding to ‘Recording’, which means, the session is currently being recorded.

Record virtualbox screen

Step 6: Now that the recording is complete you can find the recorded video in WEBM format on your virtual machine folder. To see the recording, simply go to the folder where the virtual machine is kept which should by default be the virtual machine folder within documents. If you have multiple virtual machines choose a virtual machine whose session was recorded, and you can find the recorded video in the respective folder.

Save Virtualbox screen recordings

Step 6: Now you can open the video in any of the video players that you have installed on your computer.

You can even change the virtual machine specific recording settings or even enable automatic recording once the virtual machine is turned on.

Step 7: To enable automatic screen recording on your virtual machines, simply right-click on the virtual machine, whose recording settings are to be changed, and click on ‘Settings…’.

enable automatic screen recording on your virtual machines

Step 8: Choose ‘Display’ on the left side of the virtual machine settings page and open the ‘Recording’ tab under it.

Virtualbox virtual machine screen recording settings

Step 9: If you click on enable recording all the sessions full automatically be recorded and you can find a small cassette tape icon rotating on the below right corner of the virtual machine that you are running.

click on enable recording all the sessions

Step 10: Here, you can change all the settings associated with the recording, including the frame size, the frame rate, video quality, and the screen, where the recording will be carried out. You can even find the approximate size of the video per 5 minutes to help you understand how the quality will be, and what amount of disk space will be consumed. Finally, click on ‘OK’.

Enable screen recording on VirtualBox 80

However, I didn’t find any option to change the video recording format, which is WEBM by default. At least, the option is not available on Oracle VirtualBox 6.0.

Even though the default recording format is WEBM, you can always change the format using some video conversion software, so that you can always get the best quality if you convert it to some other video format that you need. WEBM is optimized for sharing files through the web and that is why the following format is chosen by VirtualBox as an only format for recording virtual machine sessions. This tutorial can be of much help if you are recording some tutorial to share it with your friends, family, others who don’t know how to do something all in case you want to record the company screen instead of taking screenshots just in case you lose something important during the session.

So, that was all about how you can record a virtual machine station without using any third party programs. Do you have any questions or facing problems? Feel free to comment on the same below.

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Sarbasish Basu
From B.Tech (Hons.) Electronics & Instrumentation Engineer to Photography and Writing blogs; he ultimately has answers to everything. Oh, and he's also quite good in rapidly building a relationship and set up the trust; his articles are proof of that...


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