How to Troubleshoot and Fix a Non-Working Laptop Camera

Laptop cameras are indispensable, particularly for those working from home who engage in frequent video calls. If your laptop camera isn’t functioning, the cause could be hardware-related or stem from a software issue.

Here are some potential reasons your laptop camera may not work:

  • Hardware problem – There may be a fault with your laptop camera, or perhaps you accidentally disabled it using an external button or switch.
  • Insufficient permissions – Certain applications require system permission to access the laptop camera. Without the proper permissions, the camera won’t function with those apps.
  • Outdated or corrupted driver – Camera drivers must be current and functioning correctly to use your camera application. Update or reinstall them if necessary.
  • Generic corruption error – A temporary bug or glitch may affect your camera application, preventing it from launching properly. Running Microsoft’s built-in Camera Troubleshooter can resolve this.
  • Overly protective antivirus – Antivirus software may mistakenly block your camera if it detects suspicious activity. Try disabling or uninstalling the antivirus to fix the issue.

Now let’s explore the troubleshooting steps to fix your laptop camera problem.

1. Rule Out the Hardware Problem

First, examine your laptop camera for any hardware issues.

Check for a dedicated camera button or switch on your laptop and verify that it’s not turned off. While not all laptops feature this, it’s worth a check. Ensure the camera is also free from any external damage.

Once you’ve confirmed the issue isn’t hardware-related, proceed to the software troubleshooting methods below.

2. Run the Camera Troubleshooter by Microsoft

Begin by accessing the built-in camera troubleshooter in your system via the Settings app, which can identify and fix issues like corruption errors or viruses.

  1. Open Windows Settings by pressing Win + I keys together.
  2. Navigate to System > Troubleshoot.
    Choose Troubleshoot in the Settings window
  3. Click on Other troubleshooters.
    Click on the Other troubleshooters option
  4. Find the Camera option and click on the Run button next to it.
    Click on the Run button
  5. Let the troubleshooter complete the process. If it finds issues and suggests fixes, click on Apply this fix.

After applying any fixes, test the laptop camera again.

3. Update or Reinstall the Drivers

Drivers play a crucial role in hardware functionality. Update or reinstall your camera driver if it’s causing issues.

  1. Type “Device Manager” in Windows search and click Open.
  2. Locate your camera driver under the Cameras section.
  3. Right-click on the camera and select Update driver.
    Update the camera driver
  4. Click on Search automatically for drivers and follow the prompts.
    Search automatically for drivers in the system
  5. For USB cameras, you may switch to a UVC (standard USB Video Class) driver by following the previous steps and selecting Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
    Pick a driver from within the system
  6. Select USB Video Device and click Next.
    Choose the USB video device

If updating doesn’t solve the problem, try to reinstall the driver:

  1. Open Device Manager and right-click on your camera driver.
  2. Select Uninstall device and tick the box for Delete the driver software for this device.
    Uninstall your camera driver
  3. Confirm by clicking Uninstall.
  4. After the process completes, access the Action menu in Device Manager.
  5. Select Scan for hardware changes.
    Scan for hardware changes in the Device Manager
  6. Wait for the updated drivers to be reinstalled, then restart your PC.

The camera should now work correctly upon reboot.

4. Allow Apps to Access Your Camera

Apps need specific permissions to access hardware devices such as the camera and microphone to protect your privacy.

If an app lacks the necessary permissions to use the camera, you have to allow it’s access from settings else it won’t work.

  1. Open Windows Settings with Win + I keys.
  2. Select Privacy & security from the left pane.
  3. Click on Camera.
    Access Camera in the App permissions section
  4. Enable the Camera access toggle if it’s off.
    Enable camera access
  5. Authorize the necessary apps to access the camera.
  6. Also, ensure the Let Desktop apps access your camera toggle is on.

With permissions set, the issue should be resolved.

5. Disable Antivirus

Just like the system permissions, antivirus programs aim to protect your privacy but may sometimes prevent the camera from working properly.

If you’re using a third-party antivirus program, try disabling it and check if your camera then functions. If this solves the issue, consider uninstalling the antivirus program and using Windows Defender instead.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.