Windows

Fix: Webcam is Being Used by Another Application

Several Windows users are encountering the “Your webcam is currently being used by another application” error when trying to use their camera with Skype or a similar program. This is reported to occur with both built-in and external camera devices. The issue is not specific to a particular Windows version since it’s commonly encountered on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Your webcam is currently being used by another application

What is causing the “Your webcam is currently being used by another application” error?

We investigated this particular issue by looking at various user reports and the repair strategies that they used to in order to repair the error and start using their camera again. Based on what we discovered, there are several fairly common scenarios that are known to trigger this particular issue:

  • Glitched Windows 10 version of Skype – This issue can sometimes occur if the preinstalled version of Skype (Windows 10) has become corrupted or is somehow conflicting with a different app. A quick fix around this problem is to use the classic version of Skype.
  • Corrupted / Incomplete Imaging device/camera driver – This particular issue is known to occur in those instances where the built-in or dedicated camera driver is improperly installed or has become corrupted. In this case, the solution is to simply uninstall the driver responsible from Device Manager to encourage the OS to install it again.
  • The application doesn’t have access to Camera – It’s also likely that the reason why you can’t use the camera with Skype (or other application) is that your Windows version is configured to restrict the access of the installed applications to your camera. In this case, the fix lies in accessing the Camera settings and modifying the permissions.
  • Files from the Camera app have become corrupted – We managed to identify a few instances where the problem was caused by the Camera app itself. Several affected users have managed to resolve this particular issue by resetting the Camera app.
  • Webcam protection is restricting app access to the webcam – There is one security feature called Webcam Protection that might end up causing this particular issue. Is commonly encountered on ESET Smart Security, but there might be other security applications that feature an equivalent.

If you’re looking for some steps that will allow you to start using your camera again on Skype (or similar software), this article will provide you with a list of verified troubleshooting steps. Down below, you’ll discover a collection of methods that other users in a similar situation have used to get the issue resolved.

For the best results, we advise you to follow the methods in the order that they are presented as they are ordered by efficiency and severity. You will eventually stumble upon a fix that is effective in your particular scenario.

Method 1: Using the old Skype Classic (Windows 10 only)

If you’re looking for a quick fix that will allow you to use your camera on Skype, the easiest way to do it is to simply install the classic version of Skype. But keep in mind that this will not fix the issue – it’s simply a workaround that a lot of users have used to avoid the problem rather than fixing it.

Note: This method is only applicable to Windows 10 since it’s the only Windows version that has a dedicated Skype version (which comes preinstalled).

Here’s a quick guide on installing the latest version of Skype classic:

  1. Visit this link (here) and click on the drop-down menu under Skype for Desktop.  Then, from the newly appeared drop-down menu, select get Skype for Windows.
    Downloading the classic version of Skype
  2. Once the installation executable is downloaded, double-click on it and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation.
    Installing the Classic version of Skype
  3. Once the installation is complete, restart your computer.
  4. At the next computer startup, you can distinguish between the two Skype versions by looking at their short description. The classic Skype version is described as “Desktop app” while the built-in Windows 10 version is described as a “Trusted Microsoft Store App”.
    Skype for Windows 10 vs Classic Skype
  5. Open classic Skype and see if the error is no longer occurring.

If you’re still encountering the “Your webcam is currently being used by another application” error, move down to the next method below.

Method 2: Reinstalling the Imaging Devices drivers (Cameras drivers)

Another popular fix that is known to resolve the “Your webcam is currently being used by another application” error is uninstalling the Cameras drivers (Imaging Device Drivers). This procedure is confirmed to be effective by a lot of affected users, but we discovered that the fix was only temporary for several users.

Here’s a quick guide on reinstalling the cameras drivers (imaging device drivers):

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “devmgmt.msc” and press Enter to open up a Run dialog box.
    Running Device Manager from Run box
  2. Inside Device Manager, expand the drop-down menu of Cameras (or Imaging Devices), right-click on your webcam and click on Uninstall.
    Uninstalling the webcam driver
  3. Click Uninstall at the confirmation prompt, then restart your computer.
    Confirming the uninstall of the webcam driver
  4. If you have Windows 10, the operating system will automatically reinstall the missing driver with the next startup.
    Note: If you’re not on Windows 10, you will have to reinstall it manually by visiting your manufacturer website and downloading the required website.
  5. Open Skype (or any other application that was displaying the error) and see if the issue has been resolved.

If you’re still encountering the  “Your webcam is currently being used by another application” error, move down to the next method below.

Method 3: Allowing apps to access your camera

Another possible reason why you’re encountering this particular issue is that your current Windows settings are preventing installed apps from using your camera. Several users encountering the same exact problem have reported that the issue was fixed after they accessed the Settings app and discovered that their system was prevented from allowing apps access to the camera.

Fortunately, this problem can be corrected very easily. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “ms-settings:privacy-webcam” and press Enter to open up the Camera tab under Privacy Settings.
  2. Inside the Settings app, move over to the right-hand pane and make sure that the toggle associated with Allow apps to access your camera is turned On.
  3. Then, click on the Change button (under Allow access to the camera on this device) and ensure that the toggle associated with Camera access for this device is turned on.
  4. Restart your computer and see if the issue has been resolved at the next startup.
Allowing apps from the Settings menu

If you’re still encountering the same error message, move down to the next method below.

Method 4: Resetting the camera app

If you’ve come this far without a result, there is one more repair strategy that you should try. If the error is caused by a glitch/bug with your Camera settings, a Reset will resolve the issue with minimal hassle. Several users in a similar situation have reported that the issue was resolved indefinetly after they managed to reeset the Camera app.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “ms-settings:appsfeatures” and press Enter to open the Apps & Features screen of the Settings app.
  2. Inside the Apps & features screen, scroll down to the list of apps and locate Camera.
  3. Click on Camera, then choose Advanced options from the list to open the advanced settings menu of Camera.
  4. From the next window, scroll down to the Reset tab and click the Reset button.
  5. Confirm once again by clicking Reset from the newly appeared pop up.
  6. Restart your computer and see if the issue has been resolved at the next startup.
Resetting the Camera app

If you’re still encountering the same  “Your webcam is currently being used by another application” error, move down to the next method below.

Method 5: Disable Webcam Protection on ESET Smart Security (if applicable)

If you’re using ESET Smart Security, chances are Skype (or a different program) is prevented from accessing the camera by a security option called Webcam Protection. This culprit is harder to identify than others because the security rule remains enforced even if ESET Smart Security is turned off.

If you’re using ESET Smart Security, access the Settings (Setup) menu and make sure that the Webcam protection toggle is disabled. Do it even if your 3rd party antivirus is disabled.

Disabling Webcam Protection

After the security feature has been disabled, restart your computer and see if the “Your webcam is currently being used by another application” error has been resolved at the next startup.

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Fix: Webcam is Being Used by Another Application

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