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FIX: Laptop Camera Not Working in Windows 10 (Working Solutions)

If you need to use your Windows laptop webcam for remote working or to stay in touch with loved ones, it can be hugely frustrating if it isn’t working properly. In this guide, we have detailed eight simple fixes that should solve the vast majority of laptop camera issues.

Laptop Camera Not Working in Windows 10

With remote working now the norm for most people around the world and social distancing meaning that video chats are the only way many of us can keep in touch with friends and family, webcams have never been more important for our everyday lives.

But it is always when you need something the most that it starts to go wrong, so it is no surprise that we have been inundated with readers queries about problems with their Windows laptop cameras.

Why is my camera not working on my laptop?

If you are one of those who have had trouble getting your laptop camera working on video-conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, don’t panic. You are not alone and while it may be frustrating when things don’t work the way you want them to, most laptop camera issues are surprisingly simple to fix.

In this guide, we have compiled our researcher’s eight top tips to overcome the most common issues with laptop cameras. So, if you have had problems, just give these fixes a try. We are confident that by the time you have finished reading this article, the vast majority of you will have solved the problem.

We know that laptop camera issues are a big worry for a lot of readers, so we set our researchers the task of identifying fixes that would solve the majority of everyday problems that people have been writing to us about.

Laptop camera not working (8 possible fixes)

They set about their task with gusto and have identified no fewer than eight different fixes that should solve the overwhelming majority of issues.

Readers should note that all of these fixes have been tested on laptops running Windows 10. If you have a different version of Windows running on your device, they might still work, but in some cases, differences in the operating system might mean they don’t.

1. Hardware Troubleshooter

As a Windows user, you may well already be familiar with their troubleshooter tools. If you have a problem with your laptop camera, the hardware troubleshooter is the best place to look to first.

This diagnostic tool will scan your device for a wide variety of different issues and, once it identifies a problem, it should walk you through any steps you need to take to fix it.

If you have never run the hardware troubleshooter on your Windows 10 laptop, it is a very simple process, but here is a step-by-step guide for you to follow:

  1. Right-click on the Start button
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Click on the View by option in the top right corner of the screen.
  4. Select the drop-down arrow and then choose Large icons
  5. Click on Troubleshooting
  6. Choose the View all option on the left-hand pane
  7. Click Hardware and Devices
  8. Then click Next.

The Windows Hardware Troubleshooter when then run. Just follow the onscreen instructions as the process runs to identify and fix any problems.

Once the troubleshooter has finished, restart your Windows 10 laptop and then run your chosen video conferencing software to see if the issue with your laptop camera has been resolved.

2. Update the laptop camera driver

All hardware on your Windows 10 laptop is powered by drivers and these often need to be updated. Driver updates will usually be installed automatically when you run a Windows update, but if you haven’t done this for some time or for some reason a driver update hasn’t been pushed out through automatic updates, this can cause problems with how your camera works and how it interacts with some video conferencing software.

So, if you are having problems with your laptop camera, it is a good idea to update to the latest version of your camera’s driver. If you know the manufacturer and make of your camera, you will be able to download the latest version of the relevant driver directly from their website.

But don’t worry if you don’t as Windows is able to search automatically. There are a few steps you need to follow to do this, but it is another fairly straightforward process:

  1. Right-click on the Start button
  2. Select Device Manager
  3. Click on the arrow next to Imaging Devices (Some later versions of Windows just call this Cameras) to expand the menu.
  4. Right-click on the laptop camera or integrated webcam driver that is listed.
  5. Select Update Driver software
  6. You will then be prompted to choose How do you want to search driver? Select Search automatically for updated driver software. If you have already downloaded the latest version of your driver from the manufacturer’s website and saved it on your computer, choose Browse my computer for driver software then direct it to the appropriate location for updating it.
  7. Next, choose Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  8. Click on USB Video device
  9. Select Next and then follow the on-screen instructions

Once the new driver has been successfully downloaded and installed, you should restart your device, Then, open your videoconferencing software and check to see if your camera is now working.

3. Reinstall your laptop camera

If the troubleshooter and a driver update still don’t solve your problem, the next thing to try is a full reinstall of your laptop camera. This might seem like an extreme step, but if your camera or its software has become corrupted in some way or ended up with some kind of problem, a reinstall is the easiest way to clear away the issue and get the camera functioning properly again.

A reinstall will work just as well for an external or internal camera. Don’t worry. There is no need to physically remove the camera from your Windows laptop. Just follow these few simple steps:

  1. Right-click Start button
  2. Choose Device Manager
  3. Go to Imaging devices and click the arrow to the left of the words to expand the menu.
  4. Right-click on your camera in the list.
  5. Select Uninstall and confirm that this is what you want to do.

Once your laptop camera has been uninstalled, restart your computer. When your device restarts, it should automatically reinstall the latest drivers and software needed to run your laptop camera. Once it has done this, restart your videoconferencing software to see if the problem has been resolved.

4. Install the driver in compatibility mode

If none of the above solves the problem, the next tip is to try and install the latest version of the camera’s driver while your device is in compatibility mode. Compatibility mode is a function within Windows 10 that will not only let you install driver updates but will automatically check that they are working too.

This sounds like it should be a complicated process, but it is actually fairly straightforward. All you have to is:

  1. Download the latest version of the right driver from your camera manufacturer’s website
  2. Save the driver installation file on your local disk, remembering where it is.
  3. Go to the folder you downloaded the driver file into and right-click on the driver set up file
  4. Select Properties
  5. Choose the Compatibility tab
  6. Check the box next to Run this program in Compatibility mode
  7. Select the correct Operating System from the drop-down list
  8. The driver will now install, then automatically check its functionality.

Once the compatibility mode driver installation has finished, restart your computer and then open your videoconferencing software to see if it has solved the problem.

5. Rollback your camera driver

While most camera problems can be fixed by installing the latest version of the device’s driver, sometimes new drivers can actually unintentionally cause problems. Usually, the manufacturer will realize this fast and push out another new driver that fixes the issue. But this is not always the case.

If your laptop camera problem has been caused by a new driver download, the best way to fix the problem in the short term is to roll back your driver to a previous version. This is another process that can seem complicated, but if you follow our simple step-by-step guide, it should cause you no problems.

  1. Right-click Start button
  2. Choose Device Manager
  3. Go to Imaging devices and click the arrow to the left of the words to expand the menu.
  4. Right-click on your camera in the list.
  5. Choose Properties
  6. Find the Driver tab then choose the Driver details button
  7. In this tab, look for a file called stream.sys. If this file is present, your camera was designed before the launch of Windows 7 and this means you will probably need a new one.
  8. If that file isn’t present, go back to the previous menu and select Rollback driver.
  9. When prompted, click Yes. This will remove the latest version of your camera driver and restore the previous one.

Once again, reboot your computer once this process has finished and then open your videoconferencing software and test to see if the problem has now been resolved.

6. Check camera privacy settings

Online privacy settings are extremely important and your webcam is exactly the sort of thing that a malicious program might seek to access. It is therefore extremely important to keep an eye on what software you give permission to access your camera.

Sometimes, these privacy settings can get unintentionally changed. For example, if your default setting is to refuse permission and you download an updated version of your videoconferencing software, this privacy setting might default back to refusing permission without you knowing.

It is therefore worth checking your laptop camera privacy settings to make sure that the program you want to use your webcam in actually has permission to do so. This is a simple thing to check:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Type the word webcam in the search field box
  4. Click on the Webcam privacy settings option
  5. Check that the Let apps use my camera toggle is On

If it is set to on, it is a good idea to switch it off, save settings, reboot your computer, and then reset it to on again. This can iron out any glitches and make the camera work again too.

7. Check your antivirus software

One possible cause of problems with your Windows laptop camera that isn’t related to drivers is your antivirus software.

Obviously, antivirus software is extremely important and all Windows laptops should be equipped with a regularly updated antivirus program.

But your antivirus software can sometimes cause problems with your laptop camera. If it doesn’t recognize your camera or the software powering it, an antivirus program might mistake it for a virus and block it.

Alternately, if your laptop camera is running on outdated software or drivers, your antivirus program might flag these as viruses and stop them from working too.

To check that this hasn’t happened on your device, open your antivirus software and look for settings related to blocking access or permission to use your webcam.

If you can’t see anything, you might also want to check with the provider’s website and even raise a query with their customer support team to see how you can be sure your antivirus program isn’t the problem.

8. Create a new user profile

Our final solution is perhaps our most extreme, but if all else fails, it is definitely worth trying. Sometimes, an issue with something like a webcam can be triggered by a corruption in your user profile.

So, if all else fails, a possible solution is to create a new user profile and see if the issue is resolved when running your Windows laptop on that profile.

This is how you go about creating a new user profile:

  1. Click Start 
  2. Choose Settings
  3. Click on Accounts
  4. Select Add someone else to this PC
  5. Fill in the form that appears with the user name and password. This will create your new user account will be created.
  6. Now you will need to select Change account type
  7. Click the drop-down arrow and choose Administrator. This will set the account up at administrator level
  8. Restart your computer
  9. Log in to the new account

Now test your camera in your videoconferencing program. If there was a problem with your old profile, it should now work.

You can now choose whether to stick with this new profile or try to fix your old profile. The latter is a complex job so unless you have good reason to, we generally recommend sticking with the new profile.

Which one fixed your laptop camera problem?

Webcams are a vital tool on any Windows laptop but never have they been more important than in the past few weeks when so many of us have found ourselves remote working and home-schooling.

As they get used more, it is no surprise that more people are having issues with their laptop cameras. More readers than ever have reached out to us about webcam issues which is why we set our team the task of identifying some of the most effective fixes available.

In this guide, we have detailed the top eight fixes they have come up with and explained how they work as well as providing step-by-step guides for you to follow where necessary.

We cannot guarantee this will solve every problem but our researchers are confident that these eight solutions will fix the vast majority of Windows laptop camera issues.

Have you had problems with your webcam not working on videoconferencing software or with other programs? Did one of our solutions fix the issue for you? Do you have any other advice or foxes that you have used that we haven’t covered in this guide?

It is always helpful to get feedback and tips from our readers, so why not share yours with us now using the comment box below.

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