How to Fix Webcam or Camera Not Working in Windows

Webcam not working in Windows? Find out what could be the cause and the fix for it.

How To Fix Webcam Or Camera Not Working In Windows Featured

Have you run into trouble with your PC’s camera? Do you get a message saying, “We can’t find or start your camera” with error codes 0xA00F4244 or 0x200F4244?

Often operating system updates in Windows can result in webcam and camera issues. Of course, hardware and software issues may also be the culprits.

Our troubleshooting tips below will help you figure out where the problem lies – with your antivirus software, a particular driver, your camera’s privacy settings, or something else.

Laptop Webcam Fixes

Having a webcam integrated into your Windows laptop makes life a lot simpler, but it can get a little complicated if something goes wrong, as it’s not just a simple case of plugging it into another USB port or buying a new one.

Another notable feature is that many laptops let you turn the webcam on and off with a physical button or keyboard shortcut. It’s possible that at some point you pressed this button to deactivate the webcam. On many MSI laptops, for example, the shortcut is Fn + F6. Carefully inspect your keyboard or research to see whether your laptop has such a button or shortcut and press it.

Fix Webcam Camera Not Working Windows 10

If your webcam isn’t being detected, you can also try pressing on the bezel around the camera. These are often made of plastic, making them relatively easy to “flex” with your fingers. The idea is that a connector to the webcam may have come loose, and by giving it a little squeeze, you can pop it back into place.

Windows Webcam Not Working in Zoom

A problem that manifested itself during the pandemic is the Windows webcam not working for popular video-calling apps like Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, Messenger and so on. This could be due to some Zoom versions not playing nice with secondary or virtual cameras, and the solution could be to try an older version of the software.

You can find older versions of Zoom on Uptodown here. Try rolling back to a version before your current one and see if that works.

Specifically for Lenovo users, there’s been another problem affecting the webcam in Zoom, Skype and other video-chat apps.

To fix this, go to Lenovo Vantage, then click “Device -> My Device Settings -> Display & Camera.” Once here, turn off Camera Privacy Mode to make the webcam available for video-calling apps.

1. Check Whether Settings Are Correct

If your webcam is disabled here, no applications – not even desktop apps – will be able to use it. This option changed with the Windows 10 April 2021 update. Before this update, only apps from the Windows store (UWPs) were affected – not desktop apps. Look in your Windows settings to check for this issue.

  1. Open “Settings -> Privacy -> Camera.”
Webcam Privacy Settings on Windows 10
  1. At the top, look for “Camera access for this device is on.”
  2. If it is off, click the “Change” button and turn it on.
  3. Under that, check for “Allow apps to access your camera” and make sure it is On.
Settings to Allow Apps Access to the Webcam
  1. Next, look at “Choose which apps can access your camera.” Make sure apps you want to use with your camera are enabled.
  2. Re-enable the device.

While Windows 11 wasn’t affected by the same issue, you should still check to ensure the app(s) you want to use do have permission to access your camera. Go to “Settings -> Privacy & security -> Camera.”

How To Fix Webcam Or Camera Not Working In Windows 11 Settings

2. Check the Windows Device Manager

  1. Open Device Manager. Right-click the Start menu or press Win + X.
  2. Expand “Cameras,” “Imaging devices” or “Sound, video, and game controllers.”
  3. Right-click on your device.
Context Menu Option to Enable Webcam in Windows Device Manager
  1. Select “Enable Device.”

3. Check Your Antivirus Settings

Antivirus software, which is designed to protect your privacy, can sometimes affect the ability of your webcam to work. It doesn’t want to allow the camera to turn on to avoid unauthorized access. Check the settings in your software and contact the manufacturer for more information.

If your antivirus program is blocking your webcam, in most cases all you have to do is allow access in your antivirus. This can mean whitelisting your webcam and any apps/sites that need access to it.

4. Install or Update Drivers

Most of the time Windows will install the necessary drivers when it installs the hardware, but occasionally this will not work correctly. If your webcam is not working, you may need to visit the manufacturer’s website and download the driver installation package from them. Even if your driver installed initially, it’s possible that there is an updated version that will solve your problem. Often, the website will offer other device-specific troubleshooting advice.

To check for an outdated driver:

  1. Type “Device Manager” into the search box and click on the result to open it.
  2. Open “Cameras, Imaging devices” or “Sound, video, and game controllers.”
List of Devices in Windows Device Manager
  1. Right-click on your webcam and click “Properties.”
Properties Option in Context Menu for Selected Webcam in Windows Device Manager
  1. Open the Driver tab and click on “Driver Details.”
Webcam Properties Pane with Driver Details button Highlighted
  1. Look for a file called “stream.sys.” If it is there, your camera is outdated and not able to be used by Windows.
Driver File Details for Webcam
  1. If it is not there, try rolling back the driver to a previous version by selecting “Roll back driver” on the Driver tab. If it is greyed out, you cannot perform this action.

5. Uninstall Your Webcam Driver

Access the Driver tab in Device Manager as explained above.

  1. Select “Uninstall -> Delete the driver software for this device.”
  2. Click OK.
  3. Go back to the Device Manager and open the Action menu. Wait for it to reinstall the drivers.
  4. Restart your PC.

If you don’t see an option to uninstall the driver software, choose “Uninstall Device” instead. You can also simply right-click your webcam or camera in Device Manager and choose “Uninstall Device.”

How To Fix Webcam Or Camera Not Working In Windows Uninstall Device

Restart Windows. As the system starts, Windows will attempt to reinstall the webcam/camera automatically.

6. Check for Faulty Connections and Ports

If you have an external camera and none of your apps can use the webcam, it’s always worth a shot to make sure that any physical connections are secure. Don’t worry – it’s easy to overlook. Even the most experienced among us will sometimes make this mistake. Simply unplug the cord and plug it back in again, making sure it’s securely attached.

It’s also possible that there is a problem with the USB port itself. Try plugging the webcam into another port. You should also try plugging in another USB device or a flash drive to verify the port is working correctly.

Be aware that some newer laptops are including built-in covers for the webcam, so make sure there is not one covering the camera.

7. Choose the Right Device

If you have multiple video capture devices connected to your computer, the application you are trying to use may be attempting to select the wrong one.

Fix this by going to the settings screen of your application and looking for an option to select your preferred device.

If your device is not listed in the application settings, your app may not support the webcam you are trying to use. For example, the new Windows 10 and Windows 11 store apps only support more recently manufactured webcams, so if you have an older one, it may not work with a new app. Most desktop apps are still compatible with the older webcams.

Finally, if you have an external webcam, plug it into another computer and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, it’s probably done for.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If none of these steps work, can I replace my built-in webcam?

Technically, you can replace it. However, it will void any warranty you may have on it. Plus, it involves opening up your system, and replacements may or may not fit well. You may also encounter driver and compatibility issues.

Even though it’s not always convenient, especially on a laptop, to have a removeable webcam, it’s the easiest and best option if your built-in webcam stops working.

2. How will I know if my webcam is compatible with Windows and the apps I use?

Usually, the manufacturer lists the operating systems and commonly-used apps that the device is compatible with. You can find this information on the product’s purchase page, such as on Amazon, or the manufacturer’s website.

3. Will my webcam stop working if I upgrade to Windows 11?

While there are many great reasons to upgrade to Windows 11, many users are afraid of compatibility issues. However, if your webcam works great with Windows 10 and the most current updates, you shouldn’t have a problem in Windows 11.

If you upgrade and can’t get your webcam to work, check the app permissions in the Windows 11 camera settings.

Plus, upgrading to Windows 11 shouldn’t have any effect on video streaming platforms.

The only other issue you’ll have is when using an older app that’s not compatible with Windows 11. If that’s the case, the app won’t work correctly, and your webcam won’t work in the app. Check with a newer app to ensure it’s the old app and not your webcam.

4. Why does my webcam work in one browser but not another?

Some browsers have all privacy settings turned on by default. For instance, your webcam may not have any issues when you use it on Chrome, but not work when you use it on Brave. The cause is usually your browser’s privacy settings. Most sites will request permission, which appears around your address bar. Alternatively, go to your browser’s privacy settings to allow or block access to all sites or just the ones you choose.

Crystal Crowder
Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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