Laptop cameras are essential, especially if you work from home and have a lot of video calls to make. If your laptop camera is not working, there can be quite a few reasons behind it; both hardware and software.
The following are some reasons why your laptop camera might not work:
- Hardware problem – your laptop camera might be faulty, or you might have disabled it accidentally via an external button.
- Insufficient permissions – If you are trying to use the laptop camera with a specific application, the application needs to have permission from the system to access the camera. If it does not have adequate permissions, you will fail to use the camera.
- Outdated or corrupt driver – the camera drivers must be working properly for you to use your camera application. If they are not working as they as supposed to, you can update them or reinstall them from scratch if needed.
- Generic corruption error – The camera application can also be affected by a temporary bug or glitch, preventing it from launching properly. The easiest and most efficient way to resolve this issue is to run the built-in Camera Troubleshooter that Microsoft has developed.
- Overly protective antivirus – Antivirus software may also detect suspicious activity on your computer and block the camera. If this happens, you can disable or uninstall the security program.
Now that we know about the potential causes, let’s have a look at the troubleshooting methods you can try to fix the problem.
1. Rule Out the Hardware Problem
Before we move on to the software-related troubleshooting methods, we recommend that you check the laptop camera for any hardware problems.
The first thing you should do is check for a dedicated camera button or switch on the laptop, and determine if it is turned off. Not all laptops have it, but it is worth checking yours for one. You can also make sure that the camera does not have any external damage while you are at it.
Once you are sure that the issue is not related to the hardware, you can move to the troubleshooting methods below.
2. Run the Camera Troubleshooter by Microsoft
Once you are sure that the issue is not related to the hardware, you can begin by running the built-in camera troubleshooter in the system, which you can access via the Settings app.
This is a good place to start the troubleshooting process because if any kind of corruption error or virus is causing the camera to act up, the troubleshooter will identify the issue and fix it as well. Fortunately, running the troubleshooter is not as complicated as it sounds!
Here is all that you need to do to proceed:
- Open Windows Settings by pressing Win + I together.
- In the Settings window, navigate to System > Troubleshoot.
- Click on Other troubleshooters.
- In the following window, locate Camera and click on the Run button against it.
- Allow the troubleshooter to finish its process. Click on Apply this fix if it identifies issues and recommends fixes.
After the fix is applied, check if you can use the laptop camera without any issues now.
3. Update or Reinstall the Drivers
As we mentioned earlier, the relevant drivers must be working properly for you to use hardware components like a webcam. If there is an issue with the driver, you can fix it by updating or reinstalling the driver easily.
In this case, we recommend that you first update the camera driver of your laptop. If that does not do the trick, then uninstall the driver and reinstall it from scratch.
Here is how to proceed:
- Type Device Manager in Windows search and click Open.
- In the following window, look for your camera driver under the Cameras section.
- Right-click on it and choose Update driver.
- Next, click on Search automatically for drivers and follow the on-screen instructions to proceed.
- Alternatively, you can also switch to a UVC (standard USB Video Class) driver if you are using a USB camera. To do that, follow steps 1-4 again.
- This time, choose Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
- Select USB Video Device and press Next.
Once the changes are made, check if the laptop camera issue is resolved. If it persists, then you can proceed with reinstalling the driver.
Here is how:
- Launch Device Manager and right-click on your camera driver.
- Choose Uninstall device from the context menu and checkmark the box for Delete the driver software for this device.
- Click Uninstall in the confirmation prompt again.
- Once the process completes, head over to the Action menu in the Device Manager.
- Choose Scan for hardware changes.
- Wait for the system to reinstall updated drivers and then restart your PC.
Upon reboot, hopefully, you will be able to use the camera without any problems.
4. Allow Apps to Access Your Camera
As we mentioned in the beginning, the apps on your system require specific permissions to be able to use certain hardware devices like the camera and your microphone. This is done to protect your privacy from any malicious programs that may be installed on the system.
If you are trying to use the laptop camera with an app that does not have the required permissions to access the camera, you will run into the error at hand. In this case, you can simply go ahead and allow the targeted app to access the camera. However, we recommend you only give these permissions to the applications you trust.
Here is how you can proceed:
- Press Win + I keys together to open Windows Settings.
- Now, select Privacy & security from the left pane.
- Click on Camera in the following window.
- If the camera access is off, turn the toggle associated with Camera access.
- Then, allow the desired apps to access the camera in the same window.
- Next, turn the toggle on for Let Desktop apps access your camera.
Once done, close the Settings app and check if the issue is resolved.
5. Disable Antivirus
This method is related to the one we just discussed above.
Just like your system, the security program installed on your system also wanted to protect your privacy both online and offline. In the process, it may block some features and functions from working properly. If you are using a third-party antivirus solution, then try disabling it and then check if you can use your camera now.
This is because there is a good chance that the antivirus program blocked your laptop camera from accessing the system. If disabling the antivirus works, you can uninstall the application and switch to Windows Defender.