Facebook shows the hardware access error mainly because it cannot access the camera or microphone on your computer. This occurs mainly due to permissions and browser incompatibilities or outdated Windows/system drivers. This issue might also be caused by conflicting devices, drivers, or applications. Users come about this problem when they want to make a video call from the Facebook messenger (in a web browser) but fail to do so. This is the error message thrown:
“An error occurred when trying to get access to Camera and/or Microphone: Hardware Access Error.”
This is a very common problem and is usually solved by enabling permissions on your computer. If the permissions are already there, it probably means that there is a problem with your browser or other software modules. Before diving into other technical solutions, we will first go through some basic workarounds and troubleshooting steps.
First, to rule out any hardware issue, check if other video calling applications like Skype, Hangouts, Zoom, etc. are working fine. Also, make sure that your browser is updated to the latest built and try to refresh the Facebook page by pressing F5 to rule out any temporary communication glitch. Furthermore, consider disabling your antivirus or turn off your firewall and use the incognito or in-private mode of your browser or clear the browsing data of your browser.
Solution 1: Allow the Use of Mic and Camera in the Privacy Settings
Windows 10 has implemented privacy settings very well in which applications are not allowed to access certain Windows features and resources until not allowed by the user. If the access to your mic and camera are disabled in the privacy settings of your system, then you may encounter the Hardware access error. In that case, enabling access for your browser to use your mic and camera may solve the problem.
- Press Windows key and type Camera Privacy Settings. Then in the search results, click on Camera Privacy Settings.
- If Camera Access for this Device is Disabled, then click on the Change button and toggle the switch to Enabled.
- Now, check under the heading of Allow apps to access your camera and if the option is Disabled, Enable it.
- Then under the heading of Choose which Microsoft Store apps can access your camera, scroll down to find your app (if using a store app like Messenger) and allow the camera access for it.
- Now, Enable the option of Allow desktop apps to access your camera setting.
- Repeat the same steps for your microphone. Open Facebook and check if it is operating fine now.
Solution 2: Reset the Site Permissions
Your browser uses site permissions to manage access of the site to different resources. If any of these permissions are not configured properly for Facebook, then you may encounter the error under discussion. Here, resetting the site permissions may solve the issue. For Chrome, follow the steps mentioned below:
- In the Address bar of the browser, on the left side of the Facebook address, click on the padlock icon and then click on Site Settings.
- Now, in front of permissions, click on Reset Permissions.
- Relaunch Chrome and open Facebook. If asked for access to camera and mic, allow it and check if it is operating fine.
Solution 3: Update Windows and System Drivers
Outdated Windows and system drivers are the root cause of many system issues. If the outdated Windows version or system driver is not compatible with the Facebook website, then it may result in the current hardware access error. Given the conditions, updating Windows and system drivers may solve the issue.
- Update Windows to the latest built.
- Then, update your system drivers. It will be a good idea to check the vendor’s website for the latest version of the system drivers, especially for your camera and mic drivers.
- After updating Windows and system drivers, power cycle your computer and check if Facebook’s issue is resolved.
Solution 4: Remove Conflicting Applications
If any of the resources are not available to the browser/Facebook website due to a 3rd party application, then the Facebook website will throw the hardware access error. Third-party applications run side by side with your browser. To rule out any software conflict, it will be a good idea to clean boot your Windows.
- Clean boot your system (to rule out drivers’ issues, you can boot using safe mode).
- Now open Facebook, and use the messenger to check if the error message has gone.
- If it has, then find and uninstall the conflicting applications. Two such applications are Corel Video Maker and Messenger Beta.
If you are having trouble diagnosing which application might be conflicting, you can enable applications bunch by bunch and until the error shows up again. Then you can narrow it down to which application was causing the issue.
Solution 5: Disable Conflicting Devices
If there are devices that are creating issues in the operation of the camera/mic like a Bluetooth device or a secondary camera, then Facebook might not be able to access the camera and hence show the Hardware Access error. Here, in this case, disabling extra devices like extra cameras or microphones which you aren’t using may solve the problem.
- Click on the Windows button and in the Windows search box, type Device Manager. Then in the search results, click on the Device Manager.
- Now expand the category of the suspected device. Then find and right-click on the device that you suspect of creating the issue and click on Disable device.
- Problematic devices could be Bluetooth devices, secondary cameras, IR sensors, secondary mic, etc. But keep in mind disabling these devices may bring other types of issues like the disability of Windows Hello etc. You can always turn these back on if this doesn’t work.
Solution 6: Reinstall the Problematic Drivers
Windows has its own library of built-in drivers. The hardware error can occur when any of the required device i.e. camera and mic are using a third-party driver or using an outdated one. Given the circumstances, uninstalling the problematic driver and installing the compatible Windows driver may solve the problem.
- Open Device Manager, find and right-click your camera (which can be under Cameras, Sound, video and game controllers or Imaging devices) and then click on Uninstall Device.
- Also, check the checkmark of Delete the driver software for this device.
- Now click on the Uninstall button and restart your system.
- Upon restarting, your device should install automatically install the default drivers. If not, open Device Manager and click on Scan for Hardware Changes.
- Repeat the same process for your Microphone.
- Now open Facebook using the browser and check if it is working fine.
Solution 7: Creating EnableFrameServerMode Key in Registry
Windows Registry is the central hub for all configurations and settings of your system. Even some settings that are not available anywhere in the OS can be managed by using the registry. If nothing has helped you so far, then let us try the registry workaround to solve the hardware access issue.
Warning: Proceed at your own risk as editing registry requires a certain level of expertise and if not done properly, you may end up in causing everlasting damage to your system.
- Back up your registry before proceeding with the solutions. Press Windows + R, type Regedit and then press Enter.
- Navigate to the following path:
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation
- In the left pane of the registry window, select the Platform key. If there is no Platform key, then create one (right-click the Windows Media Foundation and select New >Key name it as Platform).
- Now in the right pane of the registry window, right-click in an empty area and then hover over New and select DWORD (32-bit) Value
- Now rename the new key as EnableFrameServerMode and select its value as zero.
- Exit the registry editor after saving your changes and restart your system.
- Upon restart, open Facebook using your browser to check if it is clear of the hardware access error.
Solution 8: Use Microsoft Store Messenger App
Windows Store has its own library of many popular applications. If you are having issues using the Facebook Messenger in the browser and still cannot make it to work, then using the Windows Store app may solve the issue for you.
- Open Microsoft Store and near the top right corner, click on Search and type Messenger.
- In the search results, click on Messenger (published by Facebook).
- Click on the Get button and then the Install button. Wait for the completion of the installation process.
- Now launch the Messenger app and use your credentials to sign-in.
- Try to make a video call through the newly installed app to check if the issue is resolved.
Solution 9: Try Another browser
The Facebook hardware issue could be caused by the bug in your browser. Every browser has temporary configurations and storage stored alongside installation files. If any of these are corrupt or incomplete, you will have problems like the one under discussion To rule that out, try using another browser.
- Download and install another browser. But keep in mind if you are having issues in the chromium-based browser like Chrome, then you may encounter the same error if another chromium-based browser is used. In that case, try to use a non-chromium-based browser like Mozilla Firefox.
- Now launch the newly installed browser and open Facebook to check if it has started to operate fine.
Solution 10: Start A Voice Call and Then Switch to Video Call
If nothing has worked for you so far, then there is a workaround that can let you make the video calls in a web browser if are getting the Hardware error when you do so. We will first start the voice call and then switch it to a video call.
- Open Facebook in your browser and select the contact you want to call.
- Then start a voice call with the contact.
- After the establishment of the voice call, when both persons can hear each other, click on the camera icon to switch to the video call.
- If you are trying to make a group call, then, after the establishment of the voice call, the users should switch the camera one by one to start the video call.
If you are still having issues, then either reset your browser or try another app/platform like Skype.