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Webcam Troubleshooting (Windows 7)

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This document pertains to HP desktop tower computers with Windows 7.
An external USB Webcam can be used with your desktop computer to capture video motion or still images. A webcam is a video input device, similar to a scanner or camera, and will not work unless you have software that works with your webcam hardware. The two most common types of software that use webcams are Internet messaging software (for making video calls over the Internet) and video editing software (for creating and sharing video files).
Use one of the following sections to learn more about webcam troubleshooting.

View a video on webcam troubleshooting in Windows 7

Tips for webcams

  • Do not enter standby and then wake the system immediately, before the power light turns yellow. If you do, the webcam might not function correctly until the computer is restarted. To avoid this issue, allow the system to fully enter standby before waking up the system.
  • Make sure the webcam drivers and software are compatible with your version of Windows.
  • Make sure you install any webcam software from the CD before you plug the webcam to your computer. Without the software, the webcam might not be recognized by your computer and this can cause error messages.
  • If the camera does not display Connected to computer, disconnect the webcam, wait for a minute, and then reconnect your camera.
  • Try testing the webcam on another computer. If it functions properly on a different computer that has the same operating system, then you might need to install hardware drivers for your computer to work with the webcam. If an external webcam fails to work on several computers, your webcam might be defective. Contact the webcam manufacturer for specific diagnostic information and troubleshooting instructions.
  • Your webcam might not work properly across some network firewalls in Internet chat software. If you have trouble viewing or sending video to someone, make sure the software that you are using has access through your firewall. Refer to the support information for the firewall or contact a network administrator for assistance.
  • If video from the webcam skips while video conferencing, reduce the size of the image, close all other applications and background tasks, and limit your Internet browsing or streaming to preserve bandwidth. Dial-up Internet connections lack the data transfer capacity to handle both video and voice simultaneously. A broadband Internet connection is highly recommended for video messaging.
Almost all HP desktop tower computers do not come with webcam hardware. However, you can connect any USB webcam as long as your computer meets the webcam's minimum system requirements. When adding a webcam, you should install and use the software that comes with the webcam to avoid possible installation and compatibility problems. If you have an HP webcam, you can download the software from the support site for your model of webcam.
Figure 1: Example of an external USB webcam attached to a monitor
An external USB webcam attached to a monitor
You can open webcam software, such as YouCam, Skype, or Live Messenger, but video does not appear in the main viewing window. Use the following steps, in the order they are presented, until webcam video appears in your webcam software or it has been determined that the computer requires service:

Step 1: Making sure the webcam is the selected video/capture device

Your webcam must be selected as the video capture device in your webcam software. If the computer has multiple video input sources, your webcam software might be connected to something other than your webcam.
To select the webcam as your video source, open your webcam software and look for video camera, video source, or video caption in the software's properties or preferences. Here are some common examples of selecting the webcam as the video source:
NOTE: The name of your webcam appears as USB Video Device, HP Webcam, USB 2.0 Camera, HP Pavilion Webcam, or similar. If you do not know the name, select a name to see if video appears. If not, try selecting other video device names until you see the video from your webcam appear in the window. If a webcam is not listed, then see Webcam is not listed in Device Manager (Windows 7) .
  1. In YouCam, click the Configure icon .
  2. Select the name of your webcam from the Capture Device drop-down list.
    Figure 2: YouCam settings
    YouCam settings with Capture Device selected
  3. Select OK to accept the selection. Exit and restart the YouCam application to view an image.
NOTE:These steps pertain to Skype version 5. The version on your computer might be different.
  1. In Skype, click Tools, and then click Options.
  2. Click Video Settings from the left side of the page.
  3. Select the name of your webcam from the Select webcam list.
    Figure 3: Setting the webcam in Skype
    Skype options
  4. When the video displays in the pane, click Save.
  1. In Live Messenger, click the arrow icon on the Windows Live Messenger toolbar.
  2. Click Tools, and then click Audio and Video Setup.
    Figure 4: Windows Live Messenger Audio and Video Setup selection
    Opening the Audio and Video Setup
  3. Click Next.
  4. Select the name of your webcam from the drop-down list.
    Figure 5: Selecting a webcam in Live Messenger
    Selecting a webcam in Messenger
  5. Click Finish.
To select the webcam as the default video input device in muvee autoProducer 6 software program:
  1. Click Start , click All Programs, and then click muvee autoProducer 6.
  2. Click the Import Video/Pictures from a device button .
  3. Select From My Camcorder.
    Figure 6: Selecting the input device
    muvee autoProducer
  4. In the Select camcorder area, select HP Webcam or USB 2.0 Camera. Then click Done.
    Figure 7: Selecting the webcam
    Importing video from webcam
NOTE: There are many other types of software that can access the webcam and display video, such as Skype, Yahoo Messenger, YouCam, HP TouchSmart Webcam, and others. Each of these has their own settings and menu items. Explore the options for each program in order to set the webcam device.
Video should appear after selecting the webcam as a source. If not, continue to step 2 and restart the computer.

Step 2: Restarting the computer to correct webcam problems

The webcam might be associated with another software program or not responding. Often, simply restarting the computer can correct the problem. Restart the computer and open your Webcam software as soon as Windows finishes loading.
If restarting the computer does not correct this problem, continue troubleshooting by downloading the latest drivers and updates for your webcam software.

Step 3: Downloading the latest drivers and updates for your webcam and your video software in Windows 7

Some webcams might not be recognized by some software programs unless you have the most recent drivers and updates for your webcam hardware and webcam video software. Also, if the video footage from your webcam is in a format not supported by your video software, you might need a third-party plug-in or utility to view or convert the video footage to a format supported by your webcam video software.
  • If you installed the webcam separately, go to the webcam manufacturer's Web site and download the latest drivers, updates, plug-ins, or conversion utilities for any webcam video software. Make sure the webcam drivers and software are compatible with Windows 7.
  • If you are having problems getting the video playing or editing software to recognize the webcam, go the software manufacturer's Web site to find and install any updates or patches.
  • If your HP or Compaq computer came with the webcam included, go to the HP Software and Driver page , select your country/region, search for your computer model, and then download any drivers that might be available for the webcam.
  • Check Windows Update for any Windows 7 drivers that might affect your webcam and your video software. Click Start , click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.
If Windows is unable to recognize your webcam hardware, then the name of the webcam will not appear in Device Manager or as a video source in your webcam software. To resolve this problem, use the following steps until your webcam is listed in Device Manager:
NOTE:Software drivers required by the webcam must be installed prior to using these steps. The webcam drivers are automatically installed when you install the webcam software from the webcam manufacturer's installation disc or the software package from their Web site.
  1. Disconnect the webcam from the USB port and wait at least 10 seconds.
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Wait until Windows fully loads, about 1 minute, and then plug the webcam into a different USB port.
  4. Click Start, type Device Manager, and select Device Manager from the list provided.
    Figure 8: Opening Device Manager
    Control Panel opening Device Manager
  5. If there is no Imaging devices category listed, select Action, then Scan for hardware changes.
    Figure 9: Device Manager
    Device Manager with Scan for hardware changes selected
  6. If Device Manager does not recognize the webcam after the scan, Use Microsoft System Restore to go back to a time when the Webcam was working properly.
  7. Make sure the webcam drivers and software are compatible with Windows 7. Go the webcam manufacturer's website to download and install any driver updates.
  8. To automatically resolve several known problems with Windows recognizing the webcam, click the Microsoft Fix it Solution and try using the webcam again.
  9. If problems persist, test the webcam on another Windows 7 computer. If the webcam works correctly on another Windows 7 computer, use System restore to restore all the system files back to a time when the webcam was working properly. For more information, see Using Microsoft System Restore in Windows 7 .

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