How to Fix the OBS Capture Window Black Issue

In OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software), the capture window allows you to capture what is being displayed on your screen. You can capture the footage from any window on your computer and include it in your stream broadcast.

You could use this to capture the footage from a game during a live playthrough, capture the footage from Photoshop when you’re streaming your work in progress art, or capture the footage from some software as you stream a live tutorial for it.

OBS makes it easy to capture your window and this can all be set up with just a few clicks (click “Add Source” and follow the prompts). However, sometimes OBS breaks, preventing your window from being captured properly or making it so that you can’t see (and confirm) what footage is being broadcast.  


What is the OBS Capture Window Black Issue?

The OBS capture window black issue isn’t an uncommon problem. Users say that when they’ve tried to capture footage from the Chrome window on their desktop, in OBS, it just shows up as a black screen.

However, it’s not just in Chrome. Some have also said that they have experienced the problem when trying to record or stream footage of their games. The games themselves are running as expected (according to posts about the issue on forums and on social media), but they aren’t showing up properly in OBS.

OBS Capture window black.png

The issue means that when OBS users go to start streaming on Twitch, there are large black blocks in their broadcasts. A screenshot of the black capture window issue shows how one OBS user ran into the problem when trying to capture footage from a Chrome window, in order to display their Twitch alerts.

If the issue persists then it means that your viewers aren’t able to see what you’re playing, what you’re looking at on Chrome (if that’s part of your stream), and features of your stream that rely upon Chrome Window Capture won’t be available.

You will have to fix the problem and make OBS capture the footage in your windows properly so that you can broadcast professional, good-looking streams.

How to Fix the OBS Capture Window Black Issue

There are several reasons why OBS is unable to run a capture window properly and why the footage from the window is being displayed as black. There are several different ways to fix the issue and we’ve outlined the most common reasons for the issue and the most common fixes here.

How to Fix the OBS Capture Window Black Issue With Chrome

Most people who have come across the OBS capture window issue say that they’ve experienced the problem with Google Chrome. The content of their tabs just refuses to show up and is replaced by a black screen.

The reason for this is something called “hardware acceleration.”

Chrome is a very intensive piece of software and Google uses a feature called hardware acceleration to make the most of your hardware and help Chrome to run properly. Chrome sends most of the graphical tasks to your computer’s GPU. By doing this, it frees up the CPU of your computer to handle other tasks. The GPU is also best equipped for these graphical tasks and should help to boost Chrome’s performance.

However, hardware acceleration may also be why OBS is unable to properly capture what’s being displayed in the Chrome window. Disabling hardware acceleration takes just a handful of clicks.

OBS.Live hardware acceleration gif.gif
  • Click the three horizontal dots in the right-hand corner of Chrome to open the menu

  • Select “Settings” (it’s towards the bottom of the list)

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Settings page and select “Advanced”

  • Under Advanced, find the category called “System” (it’s near the bottom)

  • Uncheck “Use hardware acceleration when available”

Once you’ve done this, restart Chrome and restart OBS so that the changes are reflected. Try using window capture on Chrome to see if the issue has been fixed.

How to Fix the OBS Capture Window Black Issue With Games

OBS users may also experience the capture window black issue when trying to capture gameplay footage. There are lots of potential causes for this problem with games, but we’ve listed fixes for the most likely causes below.

Disable Windows 10 Game Mode

When the Windows 10 Creators Update was released in 2017, it added a feature called Game Mode. Game Mode is designed to improve the process of your computer when playing games. Although it is a useful feature, many streamers have reported that it interferes with their broadcasts.

In our guide to streaming Apex Legends, we recommend disabling Game Mode because it can direct GPU resources away from OBS and cause viewer-side sluggishness. Game Mode may also be the reason for the OBS capture window black issue.

To disable Game Mode in Windows 10, you can go into the Settings menu, type “Game Mode” in the search bar, and toggle the feature off. Then, restart your computer to make sure the changes have been performed and OBS will no longer be affected by it.

Capture Footage With Game Capture, Not Window Capture

Another solution that may work, is if you tell OBS to capture the gameplay footage with the Game Capture option, not the Window Capture option. Game Capture is designed for capturing gameplay footage and is recommended.

You’ll also want to put the game in full-screen mode, not windowed or borderless.

Run OBS as an Administrator

OBS.Live run OBS Studio as administrator.png

Our final suggestion for fixing the OBS capture window black issue is to run OBS as an administrator. Running a program as an administrator in Windows 10 is a standard process.

Just right-click on the OBS icon (or wherever it’s listed in your computer’s files) and select “Run as Administrator.” Follow the prompts to run OBS as an administrator.

How OBS.Live Supercharges Your Streaming

Capturing window footage is just one awesome feature that you get from OBS Studio, but why not take it to the next level? StreamElements OBS.Live is an add-on (not an OBS alternative or a fork) that supercharges your streaming by adding lots of helpful features:

  • Activity Feed and Chat integrated into OBS

  • Media Request, to let your viewers suggest YouTube videos to play during your stream

  • Alerts Management (skip, replay, and mute)

  • Custom Bot Name

  • Access all of your favorite StreamElements tools like Tipping, Chat Bot, and more

Legendary Support, 24/7

For more help with streaming or using OBS.Live, message us on social media and join our fun and friendly Discord community. Other StreamElements users are happy to answer your questions and our legendary support team is on hand 24/7 too.

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