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It might be your camera is not on the Skype support list.
What make and model laptop, with what version of Windows?
What version of Skype are you running? You can get the Skype version at Help > About Skype.
Have you tried going to Tools > Options > Video Settings? If you click on the down arrow next to the Select Webcam selection, is your camera not listed?
In Device Manager, is your camera listed under Imaging Devices?
I guess the obvious question here is do you actually have a webcam fitted? If we assume yes then does the camera actually work? Again assuming yes, and assuming we're talking about skype then go into tools>options>video settings. Your camera should be listed, if it is and you are just getting a blank screen, you could try installing a program like many cam http://download.manycam.com/ Now it gets a bit weired. Open the many cam program and go into sources and select your webcam and (hopefully) it should show it working. Assuming it is then re-open skype as before and select manycam as the camera and it should then work. I've had to do this work around on a few HP laptops where the built in cam wouldn't work on skype.
Web Camera’s have to be
setup on the program they are to be used with.Just installing the camera on your computer does not set it up to
broadcast on messengers or Skype.
Each program has Options that have to be setup in order for
the Audio and Video to function properly.
If you're running Windows XP, have an available USB port, and decent (not dial-up) internet, you're good to go! Any camera on this page should do it for ya, though I'd recommend any Logitech or Microsoft camera:
They're also very easy to install, and usually include some sort of chat software. If the included software doesn't suit you, install any popular instant messenger (MSN Messenger would work well) or Skype and you'll be on your way.