The very first step is of course to check your webcam connection.
Most webcams use the USB port to connect to the PC, so check if your
USB cable is properly plugged. For build-in webcams this steps does of
course not apply. Many new laptops have a build-in webcam. Also try
connecting your webcam directly to your PC instead of through a USB hub
(if you are using one).
The next thing is to do is to check your Windows Device Manager
and see if the hardware is recognized and installed properly.
It might be that the hardware is recognized as a camera, but the
right drivers are not installed. The yellow explanation mark will
indicate a problem.
If the device is not recognized in Windows XP, it will be listed under Other Devices
In either case you can try to update the drivers. Right-click the device, and in the popup menu select Update Driver Software
. Then follow the instructions on screen, but make sure you allow Windows to search the web for updated drivers.
In case no driver for the webcam can be found, you can try a third party driver finding program
that scans your PC for installed hardware and allows you to install missing drivers
If this fails, the next step would be to uninstall the software that came with your webcam. Use the Add or Remove Programs
feature in the Control Panel
. If that does not work you can use a third party uninstaller
After uninstalling the software, restart your PC and then reinstall
the webcam software. In most cases this will solve the problems.
Depending on the software, you might need to unplug your webcam during
the software installation.
If the drivers and webcam software are correctly installed, and you
still cannot see any video, there can be a problem with the program
settings. Most chat and meeting software have a configuration option to
select the video source for the webcam feature. If you have multiple
devices that qualify for video, you might need to select your webcam
device as the source for the webcam feature in that program.
Some webcams and programs require additional software, although that
should be installed with the webcam if things are right. But is does
not harm to check if your Java
software are installed and up to date. But certainly check your DirectX
software, since all video applications, including webcams, use DirectX
for video processing. Try downloading the latest DirectX version and
install it (Windows XP: DirectX 9.0c
- Windows Vista: DirectX 10
Lastly, if your webcam's image is not sharp, check to see if it has
a focus ring. A blurry image can sometimes simply mean the webcam is
not in focus. Adjusting the focus through the ring can solve that
Other picture quality problems with webcams can be addressed by
changing the video capture properties for the webcam. Most programs
that can use a webcam will have an option to access the properties of
the video source, which will bring up the video capture properties
Do keep in mind that not all settings will be enabled depending on
the webcam and the webcam driver installed on your computer. In the
example you can see that some settings are disabled. The example shows
the video capture properties for an Acer Crystal Eye webcam.
What else to try: download missing webcam drivers!
If you are using your webcam for instant messaging with one of the popular chat programs, have a look at EatCam
, which allows you to record your webcam chats from MSN, YM, ICQ, Skype, AIM and a few more!