There are few things more frustrating than when the Windows 10 camera stops working properly. Whether or not you have a built-in webcam, for example on Microsoft Surface devices or on separate hardware, there are many tips and tricks you can use to fix it.

Cause of webcam errors in Windows 10

A webcam not working on a Windows 10 PC, tablet, or laptop is usually the result of faulty or outdated drivers.

Another reason is incorrect settings in Windows 10 operating system or related webcam software that can disable or hide the webcam.

A businessman is trying to use the webcam on his Windows 10 laptop.
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How to fix Windows 10 webcam

If your Windows 10 webcam is not working, all is not lost. There are a few things you can try to get it working again. Follow these steps one at a time, trying each one until you find a solution to your problem.

  1. Unplug it and plug it in again. If your webcam connects to a Windows 10 device via USB this is a quick way to fix it.

    Turning the webcam off and on again will reset it. The reset can also make your Windows 10 device detect the camera once it’s plugged in.

  2. Try connect it to another USB port . If your Windows 10 device doesn’t detect your USB webcam at all, try a different port.

  3. Restart your computer . It’s a trick as old as time, but it works. Restarting your Windows 10 PC, laptop, or tablet can often fix a lot of issues, including a broken webcam.

  4. Disable and restart. Try a combination of the two previous solutions. Disconnect your USB webcam, restart your computer, and then reconnect your webcam.

  5. Check Availability Windows updates . Updating Windows 10 can fix any issues and also download firmware and driver updates that can improve the performance of your webcam.

  6. Check the camera body. The webcam may be broken and needs to be repaired. If you don’t see any signs of damage, the next best way to check if it’s broken is to plug it into another compatible PC or laptop. If it doesn’t work on this device, you have your answer.

    If you don’t have another computer, laptop, or tablet that is compatible with the webcam, try connecting your webcam to Xbox one console .

  7. Check the application you are using with the webcam. The webcam may be working, but the app is causing problems. The easiest way to check this is to try use the camera in another Windows 10 app, such as Skype , Instagram or camera. If the problem is with the application, you may need to give it access to the camera in application settings .

  8. Check your privacy settings. On Windows 10, you need to give apps access to your webcam before they can detect and use it. Go to Settings > Confidentiality > Camera and turn on Allow apps to access your camera .

    Under this general option, you’ll also see toggles for individual apps. It’s worth taking the time to go through this list to enable or disable webcam access on a per-app basis so you can set the camera to work with the apps you want. Then you’ll know which apps can and can’t turn on your webcam.

  9. Check your webcam software settings. Some webcams come with software that manages device settings. Lenovo Settings app for example, has privacy mode settings, which completely disables the web — camera.

  10. Check compound bluetooth, if you are using a wireless webcam. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on in Windows 10 so your device can discover it. This can be done by opening Windows 10 Action Center and clicking tiles Bluetooth .

    To open the Action Center in Windows 10, click the icon Notifications» in the lower right corner of the taskbar. Also, you can swipe from the right side of the screen if your device has a touch screen.

  11. Check if the camera is disabled in the manager devices Windows 10 . To turn it back on, open Device Manager and click the arrow to the left of cameras, to display all your webcams. If the camera icon itself has a small arrow icon, that means it’s disabled. You can enable it again by right clicking on it and selecting Turn on .

    To open Device Manager, search for it in the search box on the Windows 10 taskbar.

  12. Disable and enable the webcam in Device Manager. This can sometimes cause Windows 10 to notice the device. Locate the camera in Device Manager as in the previous step, right click on the camera name and choose » Disable» . Then right click again and select » Turn on» . Don’t click Delete .

  13. Refresh driver webcams . Device drivers are maintained to function correctly, and updates are often required to ensure compatibility with these latest versions of Windows. To check for a new driver for your webcam, locate it again in Device Manager, right-click it, choose » Update driver» > » Automatic search for updated driver software» .

  14. Roll back driver to previous version . Occasionally, a new version of a driver adversely affects the device. To rollback, locate the camera in Device Manager, right-click on it, and select » Properties» > » Driver» > » Roll back driver» > » Yes» .

    Restart Windows 10 after the process is complete.

  15. Check compatibility with Windows 10. Some webcams were built for older versions of Windows and may not be compatible with Windows 10 desktops, tablets, or laptops. One way to check this is to look at the packaging or manuals that came with your camera. Another way is to find it in device manager, right click on its name, select » Properties» > » Driver» > » Intelligence about driver» and find in the list of files a file with the name stream.sys . Unfortunately, if you see this file, it means that your webcam is outdated and not compatible with Windows 10. If so, you will have no choice but to buy a new one.

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