Unless you’re the type of Zoom caller who prefers to remain mysterious, you’ll need a working webcam to make high-quality video calls with your friends, family, and co-workers. Windows 10 offers many built-in and third-party apps for video calling (including Skype), but you need the right webcam to make it work.
Windows 10 is perfect for calling, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a problem with your webcam. If the Windows 10 webcam is not working, it will prevent you from staying in touch with your friends, relatives, family or just contacts. Thankfully, there are a few things you can try to get your camera up and running again.
Table of Headings
1. CHECK IF THE CAMERA IS CONNECTED
It is important to remember to check that the camera hardware is connected before looking for software fixes. If you are using a USB camera, make sure the cable is firmly connected to the USB port. If so, try changing the USB ports to see if that fixes the problem.
For Bluetooth cameras, you will need to double check that it is connected and that Bluetooth is working on your PC.
- Select the notification center icon in the lower right corner of the taskbar. From there, select the Bluetooth tab to turn on Bluetooth, then right-click and select Go to Settings to quickly access the Bluetooth settings menu.
- The Bluetooth camera should be listed in the menu. If not, select Add Bluetooth or other device to pair the camera with your PC and follow the onscreen procedure. Once paired, your camera will be available in your chosen app.
Integrated webcams are ready to use by default (unless privacy settings are locked). You can check this for yourself by opening the pre-installed Windows 10 Camera app, which you can find in the Start menu.
If the app shows the camera feed, you should be able to use it with other services like Zoom. If not, you will need to investigate further using the steps below.
2. CHECK THE LENS
When a camera lens is blocked, it may appear that the camera is not working. A common way to protect your privacy is to place a sticker or other obstruction on a camera lens (especially if you’re using a built-in camera on a laptop).
There is no way to verify this without visually inspecting the lens itself – the camera feed in the camera or call app will simply appear black. If there is an obstacle or sticker, remove it.
As long as the obstacle is the only thing preventing the camera feed from being displayed, this should fix the problem. However, there are other privacy settings available in Windows 10, so you’ll need to look into them later.
3. CONFIGURE THE WINDOWS CAMERA PRIVACY SETTINGS
It’s important to protect your privacy, especially when it comes to camera and microphone feeds. Thankfully, Microsoft is taking it one step further by introducing easy-to-use privacy settings to block unnecessary camera and microphone use in Windows 10.
If these settings are turned on, however, you may not be able to use the camera in third-party apps or services (or with other Microsoft apps). You can configure these settings and enable webcam access in the Windows Settings menu.
- To get started, right-click on the Start menu and select the Settings
- In the Windows Settings menu, select Privacy> Camera. To enable camera access, select the Change button in the Allow camera access on this device section, then select the slider in the pop-up menu to enable it.
- You’ll also need to grant camera access to apps by selecting Allow apps to access the camera slider below, making sure it’s in the On
- To give your camera access to apps from the Microsoft Store, scroll down to the Choose the Microsoft Store apps that can access your slider section. From here, select the slider next to a listed app to grant camera access.
- If you want standard desktop apps to have access to the camera, scroll down to the Allow desktop apps to access your camera section, then select the slider to the On
Some apps, like your web browser, can also be configured to block access to the camera for added privacy. In that case, you will need to enable browser access to your camera.
4. CLOSE THE OTHER CAMERA APPS AND TRY THE ALTERNATIVES
Most users will find that when a camera is detected and works in Windows 10’s built-in camera app, it should be accessible in any other camera or web calling app installed. This is not always the case, however, with unknown bugs and app conflicts sometimes preventing you from using the camera.
If you have two apps open trying to use the camera, you may find that the camera feed is stuck in one of them. Make sure only the app you are trying to use is open and has access to the camera feed before starting.
If your camera works, but your chosen app still doesn’t work, you may need to try an alternative. This will help you determine if the problem is software or hardware based. For example, if the Windows 10 Camera app works but a video calling app doesn’t, the problem is probably with the app and not the hardware.
5. REBOOT THE DEVICES IN DEVICE MANAGER
It’s a cliché in PC maintenance that turning a device on and off often solves a problem that’s hard to diagnose. If your Windows 10 camera isn’t working, you can force restart it by disabling and re-enabling it in the Device Manager menu.
- To access the Device Manager menu, right click on the Start menu and select the Device Manager
- In the Device Manager menu, find the camera device listed in the Cameras If you’re using a Bluetooth camera, you might find it listed in the Bluetooth category instead. Once you’ve found your camera, right-click, then select the Properties option.
- In the Properties menu, select the Driver tab, then select the Disable Device Windows will ask you to confirm, so select Yes to do so.
- Once disabled, select the Enable Device option in the same menu to re- enable the camera.
6. INSTALL WINDOWS SYSTEM AND DRIVER UPDATES
Microsoft regularly releases new system updates for Windows, introducing new features and bug fixes. A problem with a Windows 10 camera could be caused by a previously unknown bug, so installing updates may fix the problem.
Likewise, device manufacturers often release new driver updates that help resolve issues between the hardware (the camera) and the software (Windows itself, as well as any installed camera apps). You can install new drivers and system updates using Windows Update.
- To access Windows Update, right-click on the Start menu and select the Settings
- In the Settings menu, select Update & Security> Windows Update. Select Check for Updates to check for new system and driver updates and allow the Windows Update process to begin downloading and installing them. If a feature update is available, select Download and Install to get started.
If your device is new, supported drivers may not be available through the Windows Update system. If so, check your user manual and search the manufacturer’s website to download and install the appropriate drivers.
WINDOWS 10 CAMERA TROUBLESHOOTING
When a Windows 10 camera isn’t working, these steps should (in most cases) help fix the problem. If not, you may need to try a new camera or look into alternative video calling options.
For example, you might try a Facebook portal to take calls in front of your TV, or if you’re also a Mac, iPhone, or iPad user, you might think about making group calls using FaceTime. Mac owners will still need to make sure the built-in Mac camera works first.