Most laptops have built-in cameras but users often have trouble accessing them. They want to use the camera to record themselves or to create a video for YouTube, for example. If you cannot access your laptop camera, then you will never be able to use it.
In this guide, we will show you how to access your laptop camera so that you can use it for whatever you want. It doesn’t matter what Windows operating system you are using, we have you covered. After reading this guide, you will no longer be confused about how to turn on the camera in your laptop.
How to turn on the camera on a Windows 10 laptop
There is a camera application in Windows 10 that is very easy to use. Sometimes, this app does not work as it should, but we will show you how to troubleshoot this as well. So, if you have a laptop running Windows 10, then please follow these simple steps to access the camera.
Go to the magnifying glass or the search bar at the bottom of your screen on the left. Type in “camera” and you should see the camera application appear in the results. Click on this and you should find that the camera in your laptop turns on and there will be a window with whatever is in view.
You can use your laptop camera with other applications as well. To do this you need to enable your laptop camera so that the other applications can access it. Go to the Start button and then choose “Settings”.
In the settings screen, scroll down until you get to “Privacy” and then click that. There is a menu on the left of the next screen, scroll down a little until you see “Camera”. There is a slider or toggle switch here, which allows other applications to access your laptop camera, or not. Click on the switch to enable this.
If you follow the steps above, you should find that everything works as it should with your Windows 10 laptop. Sometimes there can be glitches that prevent you or other applications from accessing the camera. Below is what you need to do if you experience any problems.
How to use the webcam on a laptop running Windows 10 (Fixes)
You may find that the inbuilt camera in your laptop does not provide the quality that you require. In this case, you can purchase an external webcam and connect this to your laptop. If you have done so, then you may find that the external webcam doesn’t work immediately.
A lot of external webcams have their own installation software. You will need to run this installation software so that your webcam can communicate properly with Windows. Sometimes the manufacturers of external webcams update their installation software, so check on their website to see if there is a newer version.
Often, an update of the webcam software or drivers is all that is needed to get it working again. So, go to the website of the camera manufacturer and download the latest installation files and driver files. Update these in Windows and check to see if the webcam is working.
One really easy fix that you can try if your laptop camera has stopped working is simply to restart. There may be some updates that need installing and a restart will take care of this. Restarting your Windows laptop can cure a lot of problems.
When your laptop restarts, you may be prompted to enable access to applications to use your camera again. Click on “Yes” and then check to see that all is working with your camera through the camera app and with other applications.
Does your laptop have a physical switch on it to turn on your camera? Some laptops have this so check your user manual or the manufacturer’s website to locate the switch. Turn the switch on so that your laptop camera will work properly.
When you are using an external webcam, it is important that you check the connection with your laptop. Have you plugged it in correctly? If you get the camera window but nothing appears, is there anything blocking the lens of your laptop camera?
Sometimes you may find that your antivirus software prevents you from using your laptop camera. You should receive a message from your antivirus program when you try to access your camera, but this is not always the case. Go to the website of the antivirus program and look for issues with laptop cameras to resolve the problem.
How to turn on your laptop camera with Windows 8
If your laptop runs Windows 8, then there is an application that you can use to access your camera. Look at the bottom right hand corner of your Windows 8 desktop screen. When you position your cursor here, you will activate the Charms side bar.
Choose “Start”, which will take you to the start menu. Inside the start menu, you will see an icon for “Camera”. The icon is a purple box with a white image of a camera. The word “camera” appears underneath—you can’t miss it!
When you click on the camera icon, you may see a permission screen asking that you confirm that you want to access your camera. There are two choices here—“Allow” or “Block”. You need to choose “Allow”.
You should then see a screen that has a video icon and a still camera icon. If you want to use your laptop camera for streaming or recording a video, then click on the video icon. Use the camera icon if you want to take still images.
How do I use the camera on my laptop running Windows 7?
Sometimes it can be tricky to access your laptop camera when running Windows 7. This is usually because you do not have the correct software installed. If you are confident that you have the necessary software and drivers installed, then just use the search bar and type “camera”. This should bring up the application for your laptop camera.
You can then click on the application and it will open a window, which will include what your camera currently sees. Usually, applications such as Skype and others that require your laptop webcam will automatically access it in Windows 7.
Most Windows 7 laptop cameras require the CyberLink YouCam software in order to run properly. If you suspect that your laptop doesn’t have this software installed, then you will need to download it. You can easily find this by searching online. It is a small file of just over 1 MB.
Run the installation program and set the preferences that you want, such as language. Once you have installed the software, you should see a window open and your webcam screen. You can either use your laptop camera in video mode or still picture mode.
How to turn on the camera on a laptop with older Windows versions
Some older laptops with Windows XP or Windows Vista may have a built-in camera. You should be able to access the camera by typing “camera” into the search bar and opening the native camera application.
Another way to access your laptop webcam with these older versions of Windows is to open up Windows Explorer and navigate to “users”. You should see the camera application here. Just double click, and the camera application should open.
How to use my laptop camera
Now that you have accessed the camera on your laptop, what will you use it for? One of the most obvious things that you can do is to use your laptop camera when you are participating in video conferencing calls. You should find that applications like Skype and Zoom will detect your camera automatically and may ask your permission to access it.
If you use Facebook Messenger for video calls, then the same thing applies. In fact, any application that you can use for video calling or conferencing should be able to access your laptop camera if everything is setup correctly.
You can also record videos using your laptop camera. Many people do this to create tutorials, for example, and then they post the finished recording on YouTube. Check the quality of your laptop camera, as sometimes they are not great. You may need to invest in an HD external webcam and quality USB microphone if you are serious about creating videos.
If you have a Windows laptop, then it should be fairly easy for you to access your built-in camera. The same goes for using an external webcam. There are differences depending on the Windows operating system that you are using. Any problems with accessing your camera are usually due to out-of-date installation software or drivers.