The causes of why the Windows 10 webcam is not working can be many. Whether it’s an integrated webcam, like on Microsoft Surface devices, or a separate piece of hardware, there are a variety of tips and tricks you can use to fix the problem.
Why is the Windows 10 webcam not working?
A camera that doesn’t work on a Windows 10 computer, tablet, or laptop is typically the result of faulty or outdated drivers. Another cause is incorrect settings in the Windows 10 operating system or associated webcam software, which can disable or hide a webcam.
What to do when the Windows 10 webcam is not working?
- Unplug and plug it back in. If your webcam connects to your Windows 10 device via USB, this is a quick way to fix the problem. Turning the webcam off and back on will reset it. A reset can also force your Windows 10 device to detect the camera once connected.
- Try plugging it into another USB port. If your Windows 10 device doesn’t detect your USB webcam at all, try another USB port.
- Restart your computer. It’s an old trick like me, hahaha, but it works. Restarting a Windows 10 computer, laptop, or tablet can often fix a variety of problems, including a webcam not working on your Windows 10 PC.
- Disconnect and connect. Try a combination of the two previous solutions. Disconnect the USB webcam, restart your computer, then reconnect the webcam.
- Check for Windows updates. Updating Windows 10 can fix any problems and download firmware and driver updates that can improve the performance of your webcam.
- Check the camera body. It is possible that the webcam has broken and is in need of repair. If no bump marks or small dents are visible, the best way to check if it is broken is to connect it to another compatible computer or laptop.
If it doesn’t work on that device either, you have the answer. If you don’t have another webcam-compatible computer, laptop, or tablet, try connecting the webcam to an Xbox One console.
- Check the app you are using with the webcam. It is possible that the webcam is working, but an app is causing problems. The easiest way to check this is to try using the camera with another Windows 10 app like Skype, Instagram or Camera. If the app is the problem, you may need to grant camera access in the app settings.
- Check your privacy settings. In Windows 10, you need to allow apps to access your webcam before using it. Go to Settings> Privacy> Camera and turn on Allow apps to access the camera.
With this option, you will also see switches for individual apps. It’s worth taking the time to scroll through this list to enable or disable webcam access for each app so you can get the camera to work for the apps you want. So you will know which apps can and cannot access your webcam.
- Check the webcam software settings. Some webcams come with software that manages device settings. The Lenovo Settings app, for example, has a Privacy Mode setting that completely disables the webcam.
- Check the Bluetooth connection if you are using a wireless webcam. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled in Windows 10 so your device can detect it. You can do this by opening the Windows 10 Action Center and clicking on the Bluetooth tile.
To open Action Center in Windows 10, click the Notifications icon in the lower right corner of the taskbar. Alternatively, you can swipe from the right side of the screen if your device has a touchscreen.
- Check if the camera is disabled in Windows 10 Device Manager. To enable it again, open Device Manager and click the arrow to the left of Cameras to view all of your webcams. If there is a small arrow icon on the camera icon itself, it means that it is disabled.
You can re-enable it by right-clicking on it and clicking Enable. To open Device Manager, search for it in the search box on the Windows 10 taskbar.
- Disable and enable the webcam in Device Manager. Doing so can sometimes trigger Windows 10 to notice a device. Find the Windows 10 webcam not working in Device Manager like in the previous step, right-click the camera name and click Disable. Then right-click again and choose Enable. Do not click Uninstall.
- Update the webcam driver. Drivers keep devices working properly and updates are often required to be compatible with the latest versions of Windows.
To check for a new driver for your webcam, locate the webcam again in Device Manager, right-click on it, click Update Driver> Automatically search for updated driver software.
- Roll back the driver to an earlier version. Occasionally a new version of a driver adversely affects the device. To reset, locate the camera in Device Manager, right-click on it and click Properties> Driver> Roll Back Driver> Yes. Restart Windows 10 when the process is complete.
- Check compatibility with Windows 10. Some webcams were created for earlier versions of Windows and may not be compatible with a desktop, tablet, or laptop running Windows 10. One way to check this is to look on the box or manual that came with your camera.
Another is to locate it in Device Manager, right-click on its name and click Properties> Driver> Driver Details and look in the file list for a file called stream.sys. Unfortunately, if you see this file, your webcam is too old and not compatible with Windows 10. In this case, you will have no choice but to purchase a new one.