The Windows 10 platform is designed to automatically configure most in-built and external cameras once detected. As such, issues with cameras either from the Windows default camera app or from a third-party app like Skype or Zoom usually result from driver incompatibility, corrupt drivers, or some physical issues with the camera circuitry. For the case of a third-party like Skype or Zoom not being able to access your camera; if the camera and drivers are properly configured, then it is likely that such issues are coming from some Windows settings mostly related to access from the privacy settings. Below are the most common camera problems and detailed instructions on how to troubleshoot them.
Common Camera Problems
- Windows camera app not listed when you search Windows.
- The camera stuck on this blue camera launch screen and never shows actual images.
- An error message: “Something went wrong”.
- An error message: “We can’t find your camera”.
- Zoom or Skype or some other video applications not being able to access the camera.
- Images from the camera are automatically flipped upside-down.
- Not able to see your camera among the devices in your device manager.
The solutions below are equally applicable for both the built-in camera on laptops and the external USB Webcam that you can attach to your laptop or desktop. There might be a few differences in the procedures for troubleshooting a built-in webcam compared to an external USB webcam, but I will be highlighting those as we proceed with these different solutions.
Here, the solutions are arranged in the order of complexity so you can start off with the simpler fixes before advancing to the more demanding ones.
SOLUTION 1: Grant Apps Access to Camera
For most people, the only time they get to use their webcam is during video calls or online meetings through third-part apps like Zoom or Skype or some other video apps.
So for such situations where you’re unable to access your camera when using such third-part apps, the first suggestion would be to check that such apps are allowed to access your camera under your Windows privacy settings. You can do that using the following steps;
- Open Start.
- Click on the gear icon to open your Settings.
- On the Windows settings page, click on Privacy.
- On the left pane, click on Camera.
- Here you have the option to allow or not allow the camera on your device entirely, so first ensure it says “Camera access for this device is on”. If not, click on the Change button and allow your device access to the camera.
- Next, you want to ensure that the option “Allow apps to access your camera” is turned on, you can simply flip the switch to turn it on (if not already on).
- Finally, you need to check through your individual apps to be sure that the app you’re trying to use the camera on, has the camera enabled for it.
Here, I have mine turned on for Skype and Zoom. Zoom is under the desktop apps category, so you need to have the entire category turned on for Zoom to be able to access the camera. So with the Camera now turned on for your required apps, check again to see if your camera now works properly again. If not, you can proceed to the next suggestions.
SOLUTION 2: Run a Full Windows Update
This suggestion is mainly for situations where your default Windows camera app shows up in the search but is not able to launch your camera. So you’re either stuck on a blue camera window, or some black screen saying something went wrong or we can’t find your camera.
This could also fix the case of having your images flipped upside-down.
For these cases, the first thing would be to run a full Windows update. This is recommended especially if you start experiencing these issues after a fresh Windows installation. As mentioned earlier, a vast majority of webcams are designed to configure automatically once attached to a motherboard either through the USB or some other connectors.
If for some reason they don’t get configured automatically, then running a full Windows update in a way is like reminding Windows to do what is necessary to get your camera and other devices working properly again.
Remember to restart after running the updates so as to fully implement the solution.
If you encounter some errors trying to run Windows update, check out our article on How to Fix Windows 10 Update Error 0x80080008.
For external USB cameras, you might need to visit your manufacturer support page to download the required drivers or check your package to see if it has a CD with the drivers and then install accordingly. Also, ensure that the camera is properly hooked up to the USB port.
Needless to say that any issues with the physical connection would hinder the effective operation of your camera, you can also try a different USB port to be sure it is not a physical connection problem. If you still don’t have it working, then you might want to test with some other computer to see if it’s an issue with your computer or the camera before proceeding with the other suggestions.
If you verify the camera is working properly on some other computer, then you can return and proceed with the other suggestions.
SOLUTION 3: Reinstall Your Camera Driver (without deleting driver software)
This would help to resolve issues resulting from corrupt drivers or some error during an update. Follow the steps below to reinstall your camera driver;
- Right-click on your Windows start icon and select Device Manager.
- On the device manager, search for Cameras, Integrated Cameras, or Imaging Devices.
- Click on the arrow to the left to see your actual camera driver.
- Right-click on the camera driver and select Uninstall device.
- Here do not check the box next to delete the driver software for this device if you have that option. Then hit uninstall to complete the process.
- After uninstalling restart your computer.
Upon restarting, Windows will automatically reinstall the drivers again. Afterward, check to see if your camera works properly again.
SOLUTION 4: Install Another Version of the Camera Driver
This suggestion is similar to the previous, except that this time, we will also be deleting the driver software.
Before implementing this suggestion, ensure your computer is connected to the internet. Only then would you be sure that it will automatically download and install back the drivers. Sometimes this would also work without an internet connection, that is for situations where you have multiple versions of the driver software already stored on your computer, so by uninstalling and deleting the current driver software, it forces Windows to automatically install another version of the driver from the stored drivers.
However, if you do not have stored drivers on your computer and you delete the current driver, then you would need an internet connection to download and install the needed drivers again if not there won’t be any drivers to run your camera.
The idea of deleting the current driver is to force Windows to install a different version of the driver, because sometimes you get an incompatible driver version and that could be causing such issues with your camera, especially issues like your images being flipped upside down. So by uninstalling and deleting the driver software, you signal to Windows to try another version and that could possibly solve the issue.
To uninstall and delete the driver software, follow the steps below;
- Open the Device Manager.
- Locate the camera driver, right-click, and select Uninstall device.
- Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device and click Uninstall.
- After uninstalling, Restart your computer and check to see if the camera now works fine.
SOLUTION 5: Manually Download and Install Camera Driver
Here we will be manually downloading and installing the required camera drivers. This procedure will vary depending on your PC model and manufacturer. The idea is to visit your manufacturer support page and download the required camera drivers.
It is advisable to always download drivers from the manufacturer support page whenever possible. That is the most reliable way to obtain genuine drivers that do not pose any security or malware threats to your computer. There are also some reliable third parties out there you can try downloading from, but of course, it is best from the manufacturers.
For instance, for this Lenovo Thinkpad T530, I will simply search Lenovo Thinkpad T530 drivers.
Then click on the link from pcsupport.lenovo.com. On this page, I will ensure is on Drivers and Software.
Here I will click on Manual Update. The look for where it says Camera and click on it.
Here there are two Integrated camera drivers for Windows 10. Click to expand, and check out the details especially the version. Some manufacturers will provide multiple versions and might even indicate what problem each version resolves, so from there you might get a hint on which version could resolve your issues.
You can also compare the available versions with the version you have currently installed. You can check your current version by right-clicking on the camera from the device manager and selecting properties;
Here as you can see I have version 10.0.1. Meanwhile, the current version on the support page is 220.127.116.11, so if I’m having issues with my camera, I would download and install this other version to see if that will resolve the issues.
SOLUTION 6: Modifying Windows Registry Configuration
This will likely resolve the issue if you started experiencing this problem after installing some Windows updates. So for that got to your Windows search and type “Registry”, select Registry Editor from the search results and hit yes on the user account control.
On the registry editor, expand the folders in the following order.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform
On the platform folder, right-click on a blank space to the right and point on “New” and select “DWORD (32 bit) Value”.
Here right-click on the created file and rename it as EnableFrameServerMode. Then double-click on the file and change the value data to 0. Close the registry and then restart your computer.
If none of these suggestions have worked for you, then the next suggestion is more on the hardware side.
Disclaimer: This suggestion is for those who are familiar with taking their laptops apart, so if you are not familiar with taking your laptop apart, you might be better off seeking the help of a technician to avoid complicating your problem further, because this process requires some mastery and a lot of caution.
So here the idea is to detach and reattach the camera connector to ensure is properly seated and that it is in full contact. To do that you need to carefully open the screen bezel using appropriate tools, then using a small flat screwdriver, carefully lift the camera connector cable enough to allow me to detach the connector itself. Then reattach it more firmly and cover back the bezel.
While here, there’s one more important thing to look out for. If your camera is not working entirely, try to turn it on and then observe the temperature around this metal region of the camera, if you notice an unusually high temperature, then is likely that your camera is bad and would need a replacement. If you choose to do that, be sure to use your full laptop model to be sure you get the right camera for your PC.
I hope one of these was able to help you out. If you have any questions regarding the procedures, please post in the comment section to get more help.
Below is a video tutorial of these solutions.
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