15 Best Fixes: OBS Game Capture Black Screen Issue

obs game capture black screen

OBS Studio is a free screen capture and live streaming application for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s a common issue to see a black screen during game capture when the gameplay is totally fine. This problem is usually from the OBS studio app’s end, as you may have guessed. Let’s see the causes and the best solutions for this issue.

Causes of OBS Studio Black Screen Output for Game Capture

  • OBS Studio doesn’t have administrator permission to access or edit data on any drive or a specific drive.
  • Game capture isn’t added in the sources
  • 64-bit OBS is installed on a 32-bit computer
  • The program isn’t using the correct GPU
  • Other screen capture applications are interrupting OBS
  • Full-screen mode is on
  • The game mode is enabled on Windows
  • OBS Studio is out of date

How To Fix the OBS Game Capture Black Screen Problem?

  1. Restart Your Computer
  2. Remove and Add Game Capture in Sources
  3. Run OBS Studio as Administrator
  4. Choose the Correct Version of OBS Studio (32-Bit or 64-Bit)
  5. Allow Drive Permission for Your PC User Account
  6. Disable Game Mode on Windows
  7. Switch the GPU Being Used for OBS Studio
  8. Use the Compatibility Mode to Test Run OBS on Different Windows Versions
  9. Switch from Full Screen to Windowed Mode
  10. Disable or Close Other Screen Capturing Applications
  11. Close any Running Overlay Process
  12. Update OBS Studio
  13. Reinstall OBS Screen Capture Program
  14. Update Your Graphics Drivers
  15. Use Any Other Screen Capture Application

1. Restart Your Computer

In some cases, the OBS black screen during game capture is due to a temporary bug. These bugs are fixed with a PC restart. Most of us don’t turn off our computers and usually put them to sleep when we aren’t using them. When a computer isn’t restarted for a very long period, it shows temporary bugs. So, restart your computer every few days.

  • On Windows, open the start menu and select the power button.
  • Choose ‘Restart’.

2. Remove and Add Game Capture in Sources

Firstly, check if Game Capture is added in the Sources section. One possibility is that Game Capture isn’t added there at all. If it isn’t there, add it.

  • Click the + button in the ‘Sources’ section located at the bottom.
  • Select ‘Game Capture’ from the list.
Adding game capture on OBS Studio
  • A small window will open. Select ‘Create Source’ and write the name of the Source. This option will capture any program running on full screen.

But if Game Capture was added, but you’re only seeing a black screen in the recording, follow these steps:

  • Right-click the ‘Game Capture’ option and select ‘Remove’.
  • Press the + button in the Source section and choose ‘Game Capture’.
  • Select ‘Create Source’.

If reselecting Game Capture doesn’t fix the problem, change the Game Capture to select your specific game with these steps:

  • Remove the ‘Game Capture’ by right-clicking it and selecting ‘Remove’.
  • Run your game on full screen and when it starts, press the Windows button on the keyboard to return to OBS Studio.
  • Now on OBS, add a new source again by clicking the + button and choosing ‘Game Capture’.
  • Choose ‘ Add Existing Source’ in the ‘Create/Select Source’ and select your game from the running applications.

3. Run OBS Studio as Administrator

If Windows blocks OBS Studio from accessing a file or feature necessary for game capture, the result may be a black screen. The solution for this is easy. When running OBS Studio, run it as an administrator.

  • Open the Start menu, type ‘OBS Studio’, and select ‘Run as administrator’.
Searching OBS Studio on Windows 10

Or

  • Right-click the OBS Studio icon on your desktop and choose ‘Run as administrator’.

Start game capture to see if this solves the problem. If it is the solution, make it mandatory for the OBS Studio application to run as administrator whenever you open it. Use these steps:

  • Right-click the OBS Studio icon and select ‘Properties’ on your desktop.
  • Go to the ‘Compatibility’ tab.
  • Checkmark the box next to Run this program as an administrator.
Compatibility options for OBS Studio on Windows 10
  • Click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’.

4. Choose the Correct Version of OBS Studio (32-Bit or 64-Bit)

It’s not common for OBS Studio problems because most people use the 64-bit version of Windows and other operating systems, but you should still check it out. If your Windows is 32-bit and you’re using 64-bit OBS Studio, it won’t function properly, and you may experience audio, video, and black screen issues.

When you open the download page for OBS Studio, it automatically detects your system architecture and provides you with the correct file to install. However, you should inspect this yourself as well.

  • Open the Start menu, type ‘System Information, and choose the app.
  • Find ‘System Type’ and check if it’s written x64-based PC or x86-based PC next to it. (x64 means 64-bit, and x86 denotes 32-bit PCs.)
System Information on Windows 10/11
  • Now, check the version of OBS Studio installed on your computer. Open OBS Studio.
  • Click ‘Help’ on the menu bar at the top and choose ‘About’.
  • You’ll see the version number and whether 32-bit or 64-bit OBS Studio is installed on your PC. Make sure that it matches your PC type. For example, if your PC is 32-bit, OBS Studio should also be 32-bit. However, if your computer is 64-bit, you can install any (32-bit or 64-bit) version of OBS Studio.
OBS Studio about
  • If the correct version isn’t installed, uninstall OBS Studio, and install the correct version. But if the version is correct, move to the next solution.

5. Allow Drive Permission for Your PC User Account

In some cases, granting administrator access still won’t allow OBS Studio to access the file system or drive where it’s saving the data or capturing the data. 

Ensure your Windows user account is the administrator, OBS Studio is running as administrator, and your user account has permission to access the drives.

  • Right-click the drive where OBS Studio is installed, where the screen capture will be stored, and where the game is installed. (If they are separate, use these steps for each drive.)
  • Choose ‘Properties’.
  • Go to the ‘Security’ tab.
  • Check if your user account has the marked ‘Full Control’ option.
Local Disk C: Security tab
  • If not, click ‘Advanced’ and select your user and press the ‘Change Permission’ button.
  • After this, select the user again and click ‘Edit’.
  • Check the box ‘Full Control’ and click OK.
Permission Entry for Local Disk C: on Windows 10
  • Now, click Apply and OK on the previously opened windows.

6. Disable Game Mode on Windows

The Game Mode on Windows is designed to enhance the gaming experience. When activated, Windows allocates the most CPU, RAM, and GPU resources to the game for the experience.

This is a useful feature, but their performance might suffer if you’re using OBS Studio or any other screencasting application. And in some cases, you might see a black screen on OBS Studio instead of game capture. 

Moreover, similar things happen when the Game Bar is activated. Game Bar is a native Windows screen recording program. If it’s enabled, it may interfere with OBS Studio and result in OBS black screen.

  • Open the Start menu and select Settings.
  • Choose ‘Gaming’.
  • Select ‘Xbox Game Bar’ and toggle off the button for Game Bar.
Xbox Game Bar window options on Windows 10
  • After this, choose ‘Game Mode’ and turn it off.

7. Switch the GPU Being Used for OBS Studio

This is for users who have two graphics cards, especially if one of them is an NVIDIA graphics card. The black screen issue happens when the OBS Studio and the game to be captured are on different graphics cards.

This is because OBS needs to acquire the image from its device. But when both are on different graphics cards, OBS can’t find the game to capture because it’s on another device (GPU). So, you see a black screen even when the game is working fine. 

To prevent this problem, make sure that OBS Studio and the game both use the same GPU. 

To know if you have single or multiple graphic cards:

  • Open the Start menu, type ‘Device Manager’, and select the app.
  • Double-click ‘Display Drivers’.
  • If there is one device in the list of Display Drivers, you have one graphics card. If there are two, then you have two graphics cards.

When there are two GPUs, the first is the computer’s internal GPU which is low performance, and the other is an external GPU from a popular brand like NVIDIA, which is high performance. 

Once you have two or multiple graphics adapters, follow these steps to run OBS and the game on the same GPU. Games by default run on the high-performance GPU of the two, so we need to make sure that OBS runs on the high-performance graphics adapter as well.

7.1 For NVIDIA Graphics Cards:

  • Open the NVIDIA Control Panel.
  • Select ‘Manage 3D settings’ from the side panel.
  • Navigate to the tab ‘Program Settings’.
  • Find ‘Select a program to customize option’ and click ‘Add’ near it.
  • Click ‘Browse’ and go to the OBS Studio installation folder to choose OBS Studio (The installation folder is usually C: > Program Files > obs-studio > bin > 64bit)
  • When selected, it’ll take you back to the NVIDIA Control Panel. Choose the drop-down menu under ‘Select the preferred graphics processor for this program’ and pick ‘High-performance NVIDIA processor’.
  • Select ‘Apply’.

7.2 For Other Graphics Adapters

If you have any other GPU, you can perform the same steps from Windows settings.

  • Right-click on your desktop and pick ‘Display settings’.
  • Scroll down and select ‘Graphics settings’ at the bottom of the window.
Display settings on Windows 10
  • You’ll find a list of apps with their graphics preference (high-performance or low-performance) on the next screen.
  • Find OBS Studio in the list. If you can’t find it, click ‘Browse’, go to the OBS Studio installation folder (C: > Program Files > obs-studio > bin > 64bit), and select OBS Studio from there
  • Click ‘OBS Studio’ and select ‘Options’.
Graphics settings on Windows 10
  • Choose ‘High Performance’.

(Optional) You can also use the same steps to ensure your game uses a high-performance GPU.

8. Use the Compatibility Mode to Test Run OBS on Different Windows Versions

In some cases, the black screen on OBS Studio is due to compatibility issues. It means that OBS Studio is not working correctly with the Windows version on your PC. To fix this, you should try compatibility mode. 

What is compatibility mode? It is a feature in every Windows that allows you to run an application in different Windows versions. For example, if you’re running Windows 11 and have a legacy program (old program), you can enable compatibility mode and run it with Windows 7.

Follow these steps to enable compatibility mode for OBS Studio:

  • Right-click the OBS Studio icon on your desktop and choose ‘Properties’.
  • Switch to the ‘Compatibility’ tab.
  • Under ‘Compatibility mode’, tick the box next to ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for’.
Compatibility options for OBS Studio on Windows 10
  • Select the drop-down menu under the checkbox and choose the Windows version you want OBS Studio to run on. If unsure, try every option one by one. For instance, select Windows 7, click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’, run the program, and see if the black screen issue is resolved. If not, try another Windows version.
Compatibility options for OBS Studio on Windows 10

9. Switch from Full Screen to Windowed Mode

It’s possible that due to some reasons, OBS Studio can’t capture your full-screen game even when you have included ‘Game Capture’ in the Sources (Method 2). In this scenario, run your game in windowed mode and select ‘Windows Capture’ and ‘Game Capture’ on OBS Studio. Follow below:

  • Run your game. Navigate to its options and graphics settings, and select windowed mode.
  • Keep your game running. Press the Windows button on your keyboard to return to the desktop.
  • Now, open OBS Studio.
  • Press the + button in the ‘Sources’ section at the bottom and choose ‘Window Capture’.
Adding Window Capture on OBS Studio
  • Select ‘Create New’ and choose OK.
  • If ‘Game Capture’ isn’t selected, select it by clicking the + button.

Try to record the game screen with these settings. If the issue persists, change this setting:

  • Right-click ‘Window Capture’ and select ‘Remove’.
  • Click the + button and choose ‘Window Capture’.
  • Select ‘Add Existing’ and choose the game window from the list.

If this fails, go to your game graphics options and switch the mode to window mode borderless and try the above in this section again.

10. Disable or Close Other Screen Capturing Applications

Screen recording and screencasting programs can interrupt each other’s operations. Perform these things:

  • Make sure any other screen-capturing app isn’t running in the background.
  • Use Method 6 to disable the Windows default screen recording app. 
  • If you can, uninstall all other screen recording programs because some programs run in the background without the user’s knowledge.

11. Close any Running Overlay Process

This method can be considered another part of Method 10, but it’s unique enough to have its section. An overlay process runs on the top level of your screen. In some cases, they’d be running, and the user wouldn’t know because the overlay won’t be visible.

  • Finding an overlay process is difficult. Many games and screen capture programs also use overlays, so close all of them.
  • Disable Windows in-built game capture app (Game Bar) from Method 6. 
  • Open Task Manager by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting ‘Task Manager’.
  • Look for unknown opened processes and close them.

12. Update OBS Studio

Application updates are released when improvements are made, or bugs are detected and fixed in the form of updates. This is why keeping all the applications updated is necessary for the smooth working of your PC.

If you’re seeing a black screen on OBS Studio when capturing a game, the outdated version of the program may be responsible for the issue. Use these steps to check for updates:

  • Open OBS Studio.
  • On the menu bar, click ‘Help’.
  • Choose ‘Check For Updates’ from the list.
Checking for Updates on OBS Studio
  • It’ll check for updates and install any available updates.
  • After its update, restart your computer and try game capture again.

13. Reinstall OBS Screen Capture Program

If your copy of OBS Studio is corrupted, it might not update properly. Even when updates are available, it might show that it’s up-to-date. Many other problems happen when a program itself is corrupted.

If you updated OBS Studio and the black screen problem persists, uninstall OBS Studio and install it again.

  • Open the Start menu, type ‘Add or remove programs’, and open the app.
  • Find OBS Studio in the list of programs.
  • Click OBS Studio and select ‘Uninstall’.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the program.
  • Open your web browser, search on Google ‘OBS Studio’, go to the official OBS Studio website, and get its latest version.

14. Update Your Graphics Drivers

Similar to applications, you need to keep all the device drivers updated. If the graphics driver is outdated, it will show problems, including the black screen on OBS Studio during game capture. Follow these steps to update your graphics adapter:

  • Click the Start menu, type ‘Device Manger’, and open the app.
  • Select ‘Display Adapters’ to open the list of GPUs under it.
  • Right-click your graphics card and select ‘Update driver’.
Device Manager on Windows 10/11
  • On the next screen, choose ‘Search automatically for drivers’.
Graphics driver update options on Windows 10
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

15. Use Any Other Screen Capture Application

If the above solutions didn’t fix the issue, then it’s possible that OBS Studio is not right for your PC. You should try another free screen capture application. We’ll show you the free options.

Windows Game Bar

Windows 10 and above feature a pre-installed screen recording app, Game Bar. If your system supports it, it’s a free and robust screen capture tool.

  • Type ‘Game Bar’ on the Start menu and open the app.
  • Click the filled dot button at the top right widget to begin screen capture or game capture.
Game Bar widgets on Windows 10
  • For settings, select the cogwheel icon on the main horizontal bar at the top of the screen.

Other Screen Capture Tools for Game Recordings

If Game Bar is complicated or doesn’t work on your PC, there are many free screen recording applications you can use:

  • Free Cam
  • ShareX
  • CamStudio
  • Debut Video Capture

For more search, on Google ‘best free screen recorders for Windows’.

Conclusion

Fixing the OBS game capture black screen is easy in some cases and difficult in others. Make sure to implement every fix from the first to the last to solve the issue.