How to use Gnome shell’s hidden Screen Recorder in Debian 10

The use of Screencasts is continually rising. These are great for teaching or sharing ideas because only the text is not sufficient for delivering instructions, describing problems and sharing knowledge. There are various tools available for screen recording. But today in this article, we will introduce you towards a Gnome shell’s secret screen recorder that you do not even need to install. It is built into the Linux OS and lets you capture the screen activity and save the results on your Videos directory.

The Gnome shell’s inbuilt screen recorder tool is kept hidden so you will not find any application launcher or command-line option to launch it like other software. You can launch it by using a key shortcut.

In this article, we will see how to use a Gnome shell’s secret screen recorder. It is designed to be as straightforward in use as possible and it possesses a minimal user interface. I will use Debian 10 for describing the procedure mentioned in this article.

Screen Recording on Debian 10

You can launch the Gnome shell’s built-in screen recorder tool with a keyboard shortcut as there is no app launcher for it. This shortcut will work for both starting and stopping recording.

Start Screen recording

To start recording your screen, use the following shortcut:


After using the above shortcut, you will notice a small red circle at the top right corner of the screen indicating the recording process has started. It will record the current screen activity of your desktop.

Start Screen Recording on Debian

Stop Screen recording

The default recording duration is 30 seconds. After that, the recording stops automatically. Use the same above shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R to manually stop the recording. By doing so, the program will stop recording the screen activity and you will notice that the red circle has disappeared.

Find recordings

You can find the recordings in the Videos folder under the user’s home directory. Videos are saved in WebM format along with date and time when they were taken.

Linux File Explorer

Screen Recordings in Video Folder

Increase recording length

The Gnome shell’s built-in screen recorder records the screen activity for 30 seconds by default. However, if you are not satisfied with this default short recording length, you can increase it by executing a single command in the Terminal.

To launch the Terminal application in your system, go to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your Debian desktop. Then in the search bar, type terminal. When the Terminal icon appears, click on it to launch it.

Then type the following line in Terminal:

$ gsettings set max-screencast-length X

Replace X with the recording length you want in seconds. If you do not want to specify a limit, replace X with 0.

In this article, we have explained how to use the Gnome’s shell secret screen recorder tool. Overall, it was a good tool that let you record your screen activity with ease and comfort without the need of installing any app. However, it has few limitations as it lacks audio recording and it is unable to record a specific area. Instead, it records the entire desktop screen.