General webcam troubleshooting

Updated: 08/03/2018 by Computer Hope

Computer webcamThe webcam troubleshooting steps below can help to fix a non-working webcam. The steps are more general and not specific to any brand of webcam. Some webcams may require different, specific steps to troubleshoot than what is provided below.

Unplug and Replug

Note: If you have an internal webcam (e.g., laptop with a webcam inside the bezel) this step can be skipped.

Today, nearly all webcams connect to a USB port on a computer. USB devices, including webcams, can sometimes stop working due to glitches in the operating system or with the USB port itself. One of the quickest ways to try and fix a USB device is to unplug it and then plug it back into the computer.

Unplug the webcam from the computer, then plug it back into the computer. You may also want to try plugging the webcam into a different USB port than it was plugged into previously.

If unplugging and replugging does not work, unplug the webcam again. Restart the computer with the webcam unplugged. After the computer has restarted and loaded back into the operating system, plug the webcam into a USB port.

The unplug and replug process often fixes issues with USB devices by causing the operating system to re-recognize and reload the device drivers or software. If the unplug and replug process did not work, continue to the next section.

Uninstall and Reinstall

Device drivers or software for a webcam can sometimes become corrupted. Uninstalling and deleting the device from the computer, then re-instaling it can resolve driver or software corruption.

Follow the steps below to uninstall and re-install the webcam on your computer.

  1. Uninstall any webcam software on the computer.
  2. Open the Device Manager.
  3. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section and look for the webcam in the device list. It should include the brand or model number of the webcam in the name of the device.
  4. Select the webcam device in the list, then right-click on the device and select Uninstall device.
  5. Unplug the webcam from the computer.
  6. Restart the computer.
  7. After the operating system has loaded, plug the webcam into the computer again. The operating system should recognize the webcam and re-install the drivers for it.
  8. Re-install any additional software that came with the webcam.

Test the webcam and see if the uninstalling and re-install fixed the problem. If the problem persists, you can also try the following.

  1. Download the install the latest drivers for the webcam from the manufacturer's website.
  2. After installing the latest drivers, restart the computer.

Test the webcam again and see if installing the latest drivers resolved the problem. If the problem persists, continue to the next section.

Connect to another computer

It's possible the computer is not recognizing the webcam or has some problem with allowing the webcam to work, due to an issue with the operating system. If possible, connect your webcam to another computer and see if it works. If the webcam works on another computer, then the issue is likely related to the operating system on your computer or a problem with the USB ports.

If the webcam does work on another computer, continue to the next section. If the webcam does not work on another computer, skip to the last troubleshooting section.

Activate a Windows restore point

If the webcam stopped working recently, you might be able to activate a Windows restore point to fix the problem. Click the link for instructions on how to activate a restore point on your computer.

If activating a restore point does not fix the problem, continue to the next section below.

Repair Windows

Your webcam might not work due to corrupt Windows system files, causing problems with Windows being able to recognize the webcam or allowing the webcam to work at all. Fixing corrupt system files will require the Windows Repair process to be executed. Click the link below for instructions on how to run the Windows Repair process.

If the Windows Repair process does not fix the problems with the webcam, continue to the last section below.

Defective webcam

If none of the troubleshooting options above work to resolve the problems with your webcam, the webcam is defective and does not work anymore. If the webcam is still under the manufacturer's warranty, contact the manufacturer's support or customer service team for help on getting the webcam fixed.

If the webcam is no longer under warranty, it is best to replace it with a new one. It is not economical to try and have it fixed, as it likely would cost more to fix it then it would cost to buy a new one.

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