Help Windows Desktop

Webcam/Video Troubleshooter

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If you're having problems with video on a Skype call, and you've already tried the steps in the Connection Troubleshooter, there are a few things you can check to make sure your webcam is working properly.

Before proceeding with the troubleshooting steps below, first ensure that you are in a room with proper lighting (bad lighting can make your video too dark to be seen by the people you're calling.

Also, if you're using a webcam that plugs into your computer via USB, you might not be sending great video (or your webcam might not work at all) because you’re using other USB devices. An overloaded USB port can make your computer think the webcam is in use by another program, even when it's not. Try disconnecting your other USB devices, or try connecting your webcam to an alternative USB port. If your webcam is plugged into a USB hub, try plugging it directly into a USB port on your computer instead and see if that helps.

Is your webcam working properly with Skype?

To make sure that your webcam is working correctly with Skype:

  1. Sign into Skype.
  2. In the menu bar, click Tools > Options...

Options… selected from the drop-down menu displayed after clicking Tools in the menu bar.

  1. Under General, select Video Settings. If you have a webcam connected, you should see live video of whatever your webcam is pointed at. If you can see the video stream, your webcam is working correctly.

    The live picture displayed after selecting Video Settings.

    If you can’t see the video stream, your webcam is not working correctly with Skype. Until you resolve this, you won’t be able to send any video if you make a video call. This is most likely because your webcam drivers have a problem, or your webcam drivers aren't loading.
     

  2. If required, click Webcam settings to adjust video capture settings, such as light, brightness and contrast.

Is Skype using the correct webcam?

If you’re using multiple cameras (such as a laptop camera and a separate USB camera), you can easily switch between them:

  1. Sign into Skype.
  2. Select a contact, start a Skype call, then click the call quality icon The call quality icon  in the call window.

The call quality icon selected in the conversation window.

  1. Click the Webcam tab, then select the webcam you want to use from the Choose the camera you want to use drop-down menu.
    If you can’t see the camera you want to use in the drop-down list, reinstall the latest device drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

Integrated camera selected from the Choose the camera you want to use drop-down menu.

Is another application using your webcam?

Close all applications that may be using the webcam. These include video-editing software, virtual-camera software, instant messengers, and browsers (such as Internet Explorer).

Also, if your camera isn't integrated into your computer, try to plug the camera to another USB slot or unplug other unused devices that share the same USB slot as your camera. If you are trying to change your camera during the call and experience an error message, try to end the call, change the camera and restart the call.

After you’ve done this, check whether Skype can see and use your webcam.

Is there a problem with your webcam drivers?

Check that your webcam is listed in Device Manager.

  1. Depending on your version of Windows:
  • Windows 7: Click the Windows button and select Control Panel. Make sure that Category is selected in the top right corner, next to View by:. Click Hardware and Sound. Under Devices and Printers, select Device Manager. Click the little arrow beside Imaging Devices.
  • Windows Vista: Open the Start menu and select Control Panel. Open System and Maintenance and click Device Manager.
  • Windows XP: Open the Start menu and select Control Panel. Open System and, in the Hardware tab, click Device Manager.
  1. Check that your webcam is listed under Imaging devices.

An example of a webcam listed under Imaging devices.

If it’s not listed, or if a question or exclamation mark is displayed, you need to reinstall the drivers for your webcam.

Are your webcam drivers loading?

To let your webcam drivers load, you need to change the start-up settings of Skype:

  1. Sign out of Skype by clicking Skype > Sign Out in the menu bar.
  2. In the Welcome to Skype window, uncheck the Sign me in when Skype starts option.

The Sign me in when Skype starts checkbox.

  1. Restart your computer.

Sign in to Skype and make a video call.

Are you using an old version of DirectX?

Make sure that you have the latest version of Microsoft DirectX. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can get the latest version of DirectX by updating Windows with the latest service packs and updates. For Windows XP, you can download it here.

Before proceeding with the troubleshooting steps below, first ensure that you are in a room with proper lighting (bad lighting can make your video too dark to be seen by the people you're calling.

Also, if you're using a webcam that plugs into your computer via USB, you might not be sending great video (or your webcam might not work at all) because you’re using other USB devices. An overloaded USB port can make your computer think the webcam is in use by another program, even when it's not. Try disconnecting your other USB devices, or try connecting your webcam to an alternative USB port. If your webcam is plugged into a USB hub, try plugging it directly into a USB port on your computer instead and see if that helps.

Now, check that your webcam settings are correct in Skype.

  1. With Skype open, move your mouse to the upper right corner or swipe from the right of the screen to bring up the charm bar.
  2. Tap or click Settings.
  3. Tap or click Permissions.

  4. Check the settings under Webcam. If it is turned off, drag the slider to turn it on.

  5. Next, check to ensure Skype is using the right camera. With Skype running, move your mouse to the upper right corner or swipe from the right of the screen to bring up the charm bar.
  6. Tap or click Settings.
  7. Tap or click Options.

  8. In the Camera drop-down, choose the webcam you want to use; if you're using your device's built-in webcam, this option will read Integrated camera. If your camera is picking up video, you will see what the camera sees.

If none of the above seems to work, you can use the Windows 8 Camera app to make sure your webcam is working:

  1. In the Start screen type “camera” and press Enter to open the Camera app.
  2. If asked, select Allow to give your computer permission to use the camera.
  3. Check if you get any output on your screen. If not, your camera might be malfunctioning; contact the camera's manufacturer.
  4. Close the Camera app by pressing Alt+F4 key combination on your keyboard, or swipe down from the top of the screen (on touchscreen devices). 
     

Before proceeding with the troubleshooting steps below, first ensure that you are in a room with proper lighting (bad lighting can make your video too dark to be seen by the people you're calling.

Also, if you're using a webcam that plugs into your computer via USB, you might not be sending great video (or your webcam might not work at all) because you’re using other USB devices. An overloaded USB port can make your computer think the webcam is in use by another program, even when it's not. Try disconnecting your other USB devices, or try connecting your webcam to an alternative USB port. If your webcam is plugged into a USB hub, try plugging it directly into a USB port on your computer instead and see if that helps.

Now, check that your webcam is working correctly with Skype:

  1. Sign in to Skype.
  2. Go to the menu bar, select Skype > Preferences…, then click Audio/Video.
  3. In the Audio/Video preferences, if the correct camera device is selected, you should see a live picture from your webcam. If you can see the live picture, your webcam is working correctly.

    Live picture from the camera in the Audio/Video window

    If your video is not displayed, your webcam is not working correctly with Skype. Until you resolve this, you won’t be able to send any video if you make a video call. These tips can help to resolve this problem.
  4. If you have more than one webcam connected to your computer, you can select a different webcam from the Camera drop-down list.
  5. If required, test your Microphone and Speakers while viewing this screen.
  6. When you’ve finished, close the window.

 

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