Try these 8 ways to fix your laptop camera when it isn’t working

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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There are many different uses for the laptop camera, but most people use it either to take photos, hold video chats like on Skype or Google Hangouts, among other uses.

But the laptop camera may not always launch or work the way it is ordinarily expected to. Here are solutions to help you fix your laptop camera when it just won’t work.

How can I fix my laptop camera on Windows 10:

  1. Run Hardware troubleshooter
  2. Update the laptop camera driver
  3. Reinstall the laptop camera
  4. Install driver in compatibility mode
  5. Roll back driver
  6. Check your antivirus software
  7. Check camera privacy settings
  8. Create a new user profile

Solution 1: Run Hardware troubleshooter

If you’re experiencing problems with the recently installed device or hardware on your computer, then run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter to resolve the issue.

This checks for commonly occurring issues and ensures any new device or hardware is correctly installed on your computer. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Go to the “View by” option in the top right corner
  4. Click the drop-down arrow and select Large icons
  5. Click Troubleshooting
  6. Click View all option on the left pane
  7. Click Hardware and Devices
  8. Click Next

Follow the instructions to run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.  The troubleshooter will begin detecting any issues.

You can’t open Control Panel? Take a look at this step-by-step guide to find a solution.

If the Troubleshooter stops before completing the process, fix it with the help of this complete guide.

Solution 2: Update the laptop camera driver

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Device Managerdevice manager
  3. Go to Imaging Devices and click to expand itdevice manager imaging devices
  4. Right click on the laptop camera or integrated webcam driver
  5. Select Update Driver software
  6. When prompted to choose How do you want to search driver, select Search automatically for updated driver software. If there’s an available driver on your computer, select Browse my computer for driver software then choose the appropriate location for updating it (make sure you’re online to do this)
  7. Select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  8. Select USB Video device
  9. Click Next then follow the on-screen instructions
  10. Restart your computer

If this doesn’t fix the chop, go to the next solution.

Did you know that the majority of Windows 10 users have outdated drivers? Be a step ahead using this guide.

Solution 3: Reinstall the laptop camera

In order to reinstall the laptop camera driver, especially for HP users, do the following:

  1. Right-click Start button
  2. Select Device Manager
  3. Go to Imaging devices and click the arrow to expand the listdevice manager imaging devices
  4. Right click on your laptop camera or integrated webcam
  5. Choose Uninstall
  6. Reboot your computer

Let it install the driver automatically on PC start, then launch the laptop camera again to check if this resolves the issue.

Windows can’t automatically find and download new drivers? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Solution 4: Install driver in compatibility mode

Follow these steps to install the laptop camera in compatibility mode:

  1. Download the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website
  2. Save it on your local disk
  3. Right click on the driver set up file
  4. Click Properties
  5. Click Compatibility tab
  6. Check the box next to Run this program in Compatibility mode
  7. Select the Operating System from the drop-down list
  8. The driver will install, then check its functionality.
  9. Restart the computer and check if the issue persists.

Solution 5: Roll back driver

If your webcam driver is outdated, do the following:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Device Managerldevice manager
  3. Go to Imaging devices and click the arrow to expand the list
  4. Right click on your webcamdevice manager
  5. Choose Properties
  6. Locate Driver tab then select Driver details button

Find a file name with stream.sys. If you have this on your computer, then your webcam needs to be replaced as this shows it was designed prior to Windows 7. If not, then roll back your webcam by going to Roll Back Driver using these steps:

  1. Select Device Manager
  2. Go to Imaging devices and click the arrow to expand the list
  3. Right click on your webcam
  4. Choose Properties
  5. Locate Driver tab then select Roll Back driverroll back camera drivers
  6. Click Yes

Once roll back is finished, reboot your computer and try to open webcam again.

If the rollback works, you’ll need to prevent Windows from automatically updating your driver in the future. To do that, follow the simple steps in this guide.

Solution 6: Check your antivirus software

If your laptop camera doesn’t work or open, or you get an error saying that the laptop camera cannot be found or cannot start, it may be caused by antivirus software that is blocking it or an outdated webcam driver.

In this case, check your antivirus software and look for settings related to blocking access or permission to use your webcam. You can also visit your antivirus software company’s website.

You want to check if your firewall is blocking a certain app? Follow the simple steps from this guide to find out.

Solution 7: Check camera privacy settings

Is your laptop camera’s privacy settings turned on? Do the following to execute this:

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

If you want to know more about Privacy setting and how to change them on Windows 10, check out this detailed guide.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

Solution 8: Create a new user profile

You can also create a new user account and check whether your laptop camera works under the new profile, then change settings to administrator privileges, and check if the issue of the laptop camera not working persists.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Click Start
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Accountswin 10 settings accounts
  4. Click Add someone else to this PCadd new user windows 10
  5. Fill in the form with the user name and password. Your new user account will be created.
  6. Click on Change account type
  7. Click the drop-down arrow and choose Administrator to set the account to administrator level
  8. Restart your computer
  9. Log in to the new account you just created

If the issue goes away, then it may mean your other user profile is corrupted.

Windows won’t let you add a new user account? Follow some easy steps and create or add how many accounts you want!

You can try the following in case of a corrupted user profile:

  1. On your new account, use it to downgrade your usual account
  2. Click Apply or Ok
  3. Raise back your old account to its default admin level
  4. Rinse and repeat a few times as this will help to remove any corruption
  5. Leave your account on as Administrator

Learn everything there is to know about the administrator account and how you can enable/disable it right here!

Your user profile is corrupted? Fix it now with the help of this amazing guide!

Check whether the laptop camera works when using the newly created account. If it does, then you can either Fix the old user account or migrate to the new account.

As an alternative, you can use an external webcam. Sometimes, this may be the best solution, especially if you want higher quality photos and videos. Take a look at this list with the best 4k webcams available right now!

Let us know in the comments section below whether any of these solutions worked to resolve the laptop camera issue. Also, leave there any other questions you may have.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.