How to use the Gnome hidden shell screen recorder in Debian 10

The use of Screencasts is constantly growing. They are great for learning or sharing ideas, because text alone is not enough to provide instructions, describe problems, and share knowledge. Various tools are available for recording the screen. But today in this article we will introduce you to a secret Gnome shell screen recorder that you don’t even need to install. It is built into Linux and allows you to capture screen activity and save the results in your Videos directory.

Gnome’s built-in screen recording tool is kept hidden, so you won’t find either the application launcher or the command line options to launch it, like in other software. You can launch it using the keyboard shortcut.

In this article, we will see how to use the Gnome shell secret screen recorder. It is designed to be as simple as possible and has a minimal user interface. I will use Debian 10 to describe the procedure mentioned in this article.

Screen Recording on Debian 10

You can launch the built-in Gnome shell screen recording tool with a keyboard shortcut, since it does not have an application launcher. This shortcut will work both to start and to stop recording.

Start screen recording

To start recording your screen, use the following shortcut:


After using the aforementioned shortcut in the upper right corner of the screen, you will see a small red circle indicating that the recording process has begun. It will record the current screen activity of your desktop.

Stop screen recording

The default recording time is 30 seconds. After that, recording stops automatically. Use the same shortcut above Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R manually stop recording. In this case, the program will stop recording screen activity, and you will notice that the red circle has disappeared.

Find Records

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

Linux file explorer

Screen recordings in a video folder

Increase Record Length

The built-in Gnome shell screen recorder, by default, records screen activity for 30 seconds. However, if you are not comfortable with this short record length by default, you can increase it by running one command in the Terminal.

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

Then enter the following line in Terminal:

$ gsettings set max-screencast-length X

Replace X with the desired recording duration in seconds. If you do not want to specify a restriction, replace X with 0.

How to use the Gnome hidden shell screen recorder in Debian 10

In this article, we explained how to use the secret screen recording tool in Gnome. In general, it was a good tool that allowed you to easily and conveniently record your actions on the screen without having to install any application. However, it has several limitations because it lacks audio recording and cannot record a specific area. Instead, it records the entire desktop screen.

How to use the Gnome hidden shell screen recorder in Debian 10