Webcams allow you to communicate face to face (virtually) even when you are not in the same room through video calls on Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom and more. When your camera is not working in Windows, it might be missing drivers after a recent update, antivirus or privacy settings blocking an app from using the camera, or there is a problem with the app you want to use.
Webcams are usually integrated on laptops, all-in-ones, and select Dell monitors. External webcams are used on desktops and laptops using a USB cable.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, the steps below will help you test the webcam.
A simple reboot can resolve many issues almost immediately. Restarting the computer effectively clears the memory (RAM) and ensures that any errant processes and services that start are shut down.
Restarting the computer closes all the applications and software running on the computer. This includes applications running on the taskbar and services that are running in the background.
WARNING: Before restarting the computer, ensure to bookmark open web pages, save any open documents, spreadsheets, or other unsaved work.
In Windows 11 or Windows 10, privacy settings may prevent apps from using the webcam. Make sure you give your apps permission to use the webcam.
NOTE: Make sure that you are in a well-lit room. A dimly lit room will cause the webcam image to be dim or grainy.
NOTE: If your device has a sliding shutter built into the camera for privacy, slide it to the open position to ensure that the camera is not blocked.
NOTE: Some laptops have a physical switch or button on the keyboard that turns the camera on or off. When turned off, your laptop will not recognize that there is a camera installed or may cause your camera to show an image of a camera with a slash through it. See the user manual of your Dell laptop to learn about the keyboard layout and shortcut keys.
On some Dell laptops, in the BIOS or UEFI, there is an option to disable the webcam. If the webcam is disabled in the BIOS or UEFI, Windows or other operating systems cannot detect the webcam. This option enables system administrators to disable the webcam access for security purposes.
Resetting the BIOS or UEFI to factory default settings can help resolve any BIOS or UEFI issues that might be preventing your camera from functioning. Watch this video to learn how to reset the BIOS or UEFI to factory default settings.
NOTE: The BIOS interface on your Dell computer may vary. See the user guide of your Dell computer for product-specific information.
The SupportAssist application provides a quick and easy way to optimize your computer (including installing the latest Dell drivers and running a hardware test). SupportAssist also runs a hardware test and provides the results and suggested actions.
If you are using an external USB camera, try connecting it to a different USB port on your computer. If that did not resolve the issue or your camera is built-in, try these steps:
NOTE: Drivers for built-in camera of Dell laptops are automatically installed in Windows 11, Windows 10, or Windows 8 (8.1).
Ensure that Windows is up to date. Downloading the latest updates might resolve the camera issue.
Some antivirus and third-party security software come with privacy settings that can prevent apps from accessing the webcam.
In your antivirus or security software settings, look for settings that block access to your camera or permission to use your camera. To learn more, go to your antivirus software company’s website.
The troubleshooting steps above covers most common issues associated with webcam. If the issue persists, try these additional troubleshooting steps to fix webcam issues.