A method and apparatus for recording and playing back computer graphics data, including cursor movement data, and audio data which requires no X-Window command extensions. During recording, the command data stream to a display controller is intercepted, time stamped at regular intervals, and sent to and stored in a first file in a mass storage device. Cursor movement and operation data also is intercepted, time stamped and stored in a second file. During recording, display state data is generated and recorded into a third file at specified intervals. For playback, the system operator is presented with a graphic user interface resembling the control panel of a video cassette recorder. The system operator can play back the recorded information starting from a designated instant by operating the "buttons" on the control panel. For playback, the third file is read and forwarded to the display controller. The first and second files are then merged utilizing the time stamps to ensure synchronization and forwarded in a stream to the display controller for playing back the recorded events.