Troubleshooting when your webcam won’t work in Windows 10

James Walker

Microsoft Lifecam Hd 3000 Webcam

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Starting a conference call, only to find your webcam’s playing up? There’s a few things to check when troubleshooting camera issues in Windows 10.

Begin by checking the obvious: is your camera actually connected? Some models may also have a physical on/off button which you’ll need to turn on before use.

Windows Settings

Next, make sure Windows apps are allowed to use your camera. Open the Settings app, click the Privacy category and swich to the “Camera” page from the menu on the left. Make sure that you see “Camera access for this device is on” displayed under the “Allow access to the camera on this device” heading.

Enabling camera in Windows 10 privacy settings

You should also check the “Allow apps to access your camera” toggle button – make sure that’s turned on too. Finally, at the bottom of the page, turn on the “Allow desktop apps to access your camera” toggle button to make sure that “traditional” programs (outside the Windows Store) are able to use the camera.

Another thing to check is that the specific app you’re using has permission to use the camera. Make sure the toggle button next to the app’s name is in the “On” position, if the app’s displayed in the “Choose which Microsoft Store apps can access your camera” list.

Device drivers

If you’re still having problems, consult Device Manager. Search for “devmgmt.msc” in the Start menu and press enter. Look under the “Cameras” or “Imaging devices” category and make sure your webcam is listed. Right-click the camera – if you see the “Enable device” option, click it. Your camera should now work normally.

Enabling webcam in Device Manager

Otherwise, it may be worth checking for device driver updates using the “Update driver” option. You can also do this via Windows Update, back in the Settings app.

Per-app settings

The problem might lie with the app you’re trying to use. To check if this is the case, open another app that uses the camera and verify whether it’s working correctly. A good candidate for this test is Windows’ built-in Camera app.

Although we can’t advise on a per-app basis, you should try opening your app’s settings and looking for any camera options within. Make sure that any relevant setting is turned on and that the correct camera is selected as the video device. These settings will be labelled differently app-by-app.

Web browser permissions

This final section applies specifically to web browsers. If you’re embarking on an in-browser video call, you may need to pay particular attention to ensuring the website can access your camera.

Allowing site camera access in Google Chrome

For example, when using Chrome, click the lock icon to the left of the address bar to expand the site permissions dialog. Make sure the “Camera” permission is set to “Allow” and refresh the page. This should enable the site to access your camera. If this doesn’t help, the problem may lie with the Windows settings detailed at the top of this guide.