Fix: Hardware access error in Chrome [Microphone, Camera]

Tashreef Shareef
by Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
Tashreef Shareef is a software developer turned tech writer. He discovered his interest in technology after reading a tech magazine accidentally. Now he writes about everything tech from Windows to iOS and streaming services... Read more
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  • Been getting Hardware access error in Chrome lately? It must be your mic or your camera! 
  • Actually, when getting a hardware error, access to your camera is prevented. 
  • To fix that, you'll have to take a look at the camera settings.
  • More so, if the camera is new, removing it or the related software might help.
hardware access error chrome
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Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers for the Windows platform, but sometimes errors such as Hardware access error occur.

When the browser tells you that an error occurred when trying to get access to camera and/or microphone, the first thing to do is check the settings for that hardware.

Actually, when a hardware error has occurred the webcam can rarely be turned on anymore. So try the solutions below and we hope that you’ll get rid of the error in no time.


How can I fix Hardware access error in Chrome?

  1. Consider using a different browser
  2. Turn access for camera and microphone
  3. Enable camera and microphone access in Chrome
  4. Remove recently installed hardware
  5. Remove recently installed software
  6. Uninstall/update microphone and camera driver

1. Consider using a different browser

If the problem persists even after trying all troubleshooting steps, then your only option left is to simply switch to another browser.

One browser that is just as good, if not better, than Chrome is Opera. Both tools are based on the Chromium engine, so their extensions are cross-compatible, but Opera focuses more on speed and a high level of customization.

More so, Opera is updated frequently, so any potential errors that you may find will not be there for long, especially since you can easily send error logs if they do happen somehow.

Finally, if you love private browsing, you’ll like knowing that Opera has a built-in VPN and an ad-blocker, unlike most browsers that have these only via extensions, and most of the time those are limited anyway.

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2. Turn access for camera and microphone

  1. Open Settings and go to Privacy.
  2. Under App permissions select Camera.
    Camera for this device on Hardware access error Chrome
  3. Click on the Change button and make sure Camera access for this device is turned on.
  4. Do the same with the Microphone tab.

Restart your PC and check for any improvements.


3. Enable camera and microphone access in Chrome

  1. From Chrome, click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the search bar on the top, type Content Setting.
  3. Scroll down and click on the Content Settings tab highlighted in yellow.
  4. Click on Camera. Make sure Ask before accessing (recommended) is displayed instead of Blocked.
  5. If it says Blocked, enable it using the toggle switch.
    Camera Chrome Ask before accessing hardware access error chrome
  6. Also, check the Block and Allow section to see if no important websites are blocked from accessing the hardware.
    Chrome Microphone hardware access problem
  7. Next, navigate to the Microphone. Make sure the Microphone is set to Ask before accessing and not blocked.
  8. Click on the drop-down menu and select Default Microphone array.
  9. If you are using a third-party Microphone, make sure you select the same.
  10. Close the Chrome browser and restart it.

If you have blocked access to your camera and microphone for any website, you may encounter Hardware access error. To avoid this, make sure that Camera and Microphone access is enabled in the Chrome browser.


4. Remove recently installed hardware

  1. Open Settings and go to Devices.
  2. Look for any of the recently installed hardware like a Mouse or Bluetooth speaker.
    Windows Settings Remove Devices hardware access error
  3. Click on the Device name and select Remove Devices. Do this for all the recently installed devices.

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If you noticed Hardware access error after you installed a new hardware device to your PC, remove the device or uninstall it.

Some hardware devices such as Bluetooth speakers and other wireless devices can create conflict with the web browser and apps resulting in this error. Make sure you uninstall the hardware device completely and restart the PC.


5. Remove recently installed software

  1. Close all running applications.
  2. Open Task Manager and check which apps are running in the background.
  3. Select the app and select End Task.
  4. Go to the Startup tab. Select all the apps and click Disable all.
    Disable All Startup apps hardware access error chrome
  5. Restart your PC. After the restart, check if any other third-party app automatically restarts to make sure no app is running in the background.
  6. Launch Chrome and check if the problem still appears.

Third-party software like cause Hardware access error due to the incorrect configuration. The best way to check this is to completely stop all the services related to the programs that may be running in the background and try to recreate the error.


6. Uninstall/update microphone and camera driver

  1. Right-click on the Start and select Device Manager.
  2. In the Device Manager, expand Audio inputs and outputs.
    Update Microphone driver Windows 10 hardware access error
  3. Right-click on Microphone Array and select Update Driver.
  4. Select Search automatically for updated driver software option.
  5. Next, expand the Camera section.
  6. Right-click on Integrated Camera or any other camera that you use and select Update driver.
    Update Camera Driver Windows 10 hardware access error chrome
  7. Restart the PC after the drivers are installed.

A better way to update your drivers is to use third-party tools such as DriverFix . By using it, you’ll be able to automatically update all drivers on your PC with just a couple of clicks.

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Disclaimer: Some functions of this tool might not be free

If updating the driver did not work, right-click on Cameras and select Uninstall. Do the same for the Microphone as well.

Restart the PC. Windows will automatically reinstall the drivers for the hardware after the restart.

These are our proposed solutions to fix the hardware access error on Chrome. If you used another way to restore your mic or camera functionality let us know in the comments.


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Frequently Asked Questions

  • This is an error that occurs when you’re trying to access a website. It implies a conflict between an app and your camera or mic that you should fix

  • The cause might be the camera settings. So access the webcam settings on your device and check permissions. 

  • Windows 10 has a helpful set of troubleshooters that you can use. Alternatively, use professional troubleshooters to detect the exact problem and find a solution.

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