Quick Tip: Corel's ScreenCap Recording Utility - Problem Recording Audio, "Prepare Record Failed" Error [A FIX]

[Update/Addendum 2016-12: I recently received PaintShop Pro X9 as a 'Christmas Eve Gift From Santa' and did a quick test of this again, to find that this 'FIX' also works for the Screen Capture "Stand-Alone" version that was recently released with PaintShop Pro X9! Thank you to everyone that is stating this 'still works' with VSPx10!]

I just wanted to share a Quick Tip for those having problems recording audio with the Corel ScreepCap utility, especially if you are seeing a "Prepare Record Failed!" Error/Popup, upon trying to begin recording. I experienced this myself at first, when trying ScreenCap, so began Troubleshooting to see what could be the cause. While I did not find out the exact reason for the error I did find a fix that worked and is repeatable, allowing me to record audio with Corel's Screencap utility from then on. Hopefully, this will work for you, too...

I purchased VideoStudio x8 about a week ago [as of the time of this post] - and I have been having a blast learning it and exploring all of the great content that came with it. While I might do a "First Impressions/Review" article on the program, and maybe even some Tutorials eventually, for now I want to focus on this error/problem with the ScreenCap module, especially since experiencing it myself and then seeing it in the Corel User Forums, finding out that it is in fact an 'older' problem for many. To begin, I will present the steps I found to enable working audio recording with ScreenCap.

The "Prepare Record Failed" error from Corel's ScreenCap module that pops-up when this problem is encountered,,
captured within Windows 8.1, at the time (the solution below was done in Windows 10)

Here are the steps I took, that solved the problem with 'no audio' when recording with the ScreenCap utility, causing it to crash (and display the error message shown above):

[Note: These steps assume that the user is attempting to utilize the onboard (built-in) audio adapter of the mainboard - if you are using a differing device (eg. a sound card), then merely follow the steps replacing that device with the ones mentioned below. As well, I took screenshots of these steps in Windows 10, which is why my Desktop may appear slightly different than if you are running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 - the steps should work in the same manner, however]

  • There are a few ways to open the Sound Devices list in Windows, but one of them is to right-click the little speaker icon in the System Tray (the area in the lower-right corner with the date and time).
    In the sub-menu that pops up, click "Recording Devices".
  • In the Recording Tab of the Sound panel/window that comes up, let's make sure you can see Disabled and Hidden devices in the list. To do this, right-click somewhere in the white inner area (but not on a device in the list) and a pop-up menu should appear, saying "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices".
    If these do not have a checkmark beside them, click on each of them one at a time, to enable these options. Now, you should see all the recording devices currently attached to your system. Some will be 'greyed out' if they are not plugged in or nothing is plugged into them.
  • In the list of devices, right-click the "Stereo Mix" device and choose "Enable", to 'turn on' the recording capability of your onboard audio adapter (the built-in audio capability in many modern mainboards).
    If a green checkmark is on the icon representing the device, it is also the Default Device  for Recording (that is, the one that a program will try to use first, for recording).
    If there is no green circle with a checkmark, right-click once again on the same device and choose "Set As Default Device", and now one should appear next to the "Stereo Mix" device.
    [if your system is already configured with the motherboard audio enabled and recording, this step may not be required]
  • Click OK to close the Sound panel/window and close the list of audio devices.
  • Start up Corel's ScreenCap utility by double-clicking the icon on the Desktop for it, or navigating to the Tile or Shortcut in the Start Menu, to launch it.
    [In my case, I had an icon on my desktop that said "Corel ScreenCap x8" and I used that]
    Once it opens, click on the word "Settings" near the bottom of the panel, to open up the options/settings for Screen Capture.
  • In the Audio Settings category/area, click on the Circle next to "System Audio" to Disable Screen Capture from attempting to record from there
    [this seems counter-intuitive, but this is what I tested in Troubleshooting and doing this 'workaround' allowed me to 'fix' the problem and get it working - it seems more of a 'workaround' with getting the program to work, than a true 'fix' however, but this is what can be done, for now]. 
  • Just above the "System Audio", click on the "I" next to "Voice" to Enable recording from that input
    [this seems counter-intuitive again, as we are not going to use a microphone in this example, but this is the second part of the 'workaround' to get Screen Capture to record audio, for now].

  • Now, we will tell Screen Capture to use a different device for recording sound (as input).
    Click on the "Sound Check" button, next to the "Voice" setting.
    This will open up the Sound Check window/panel.
  • Next to the "Input Device" setting, click on the pull-down menu and your device that we enabled earlier should show up in the list, as "Stereo Mix".

    Choose that device from the pull-down list and if you want to check to make sure it is receiving sound, you can click on the "Record" button.
    Once you click on this button, it will automatically record for ten seconds. If you quickly start a sound file, song or game, it should record exactly what you hear. Then, it will play the short test recording back for you, automatically.
    [this should verify that ScreenCap can now record audio through that device]
  • Click the "X" in the upper-right corner, to close the Sound Check panel/window. 

That's it!

Now you should be able to hit the big red circle button at the top of the Screen Capture panel to begin recording - and it should now capture everything that you can hear through your speakers/headphones...

The ScreenCap utility does not seem to like 7.1 (8-channel) or 5.1 (6-channel) or even Quadrophonic (4-channel) audio as of the time of this post - you may still get the "Prepare Record Failed" Error if you do not change your system's audio adapter to Stereo (2-channel) Mode.

The above steps are the ones I took to enable these devices - and although it is mainly for users who have a similar type of audio device that I have at the time of this posting (a "Realtek High Definition" audio adapter/chip in their system (on their motherboard)), other devices may be slightly different in the naming if you are using a different audio device (the hardware and name listed for it, eg. "VIA HD Audio" or "SoundBlaster Z", etc) - but the steps should still be quite similar (the windows to open up, what to click on, etc). These are the exact steps I took, and they enabled me to record audio through the Screen Capture utility; and so I wanted to share them in the hope that they will work for you, too.

 [I may return to this post and add a tutorial video showing visually how to do the steps in Windows in the near future - if I do, it will be located here]

Enjoy -  and See You In The Games!

[Editor's Log: Just a note about my Wallpaper in the images within... For fun, I had created a background (desktop wallpaper) and a logo (shown in the above material) about The Blog , done in the style of the AMD Badge Logo and AMD Background Pattern - as I am currently enjoying an AMD GPU - but I do not have a preference between AMD GPUs and NVIDIA GPUs, I have owned both in the past and will use both in the future. I am not endorsed or affiliated with either AMD or NVIDIA in any commercial manner. Just letting my precious readers know I am impartial and like both of them!]

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