How to Disable a Webcam

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These screen shots are from a laptop operating on Windows 7.

If you’re a parent, there are a few reasons why you may want to disable your webcam, all of them having to do with safety. Video instant messaging and websites like Chatroulette aren’t always child-friendly, and you may decide disabling your webcam is your best recourse.

Note that these steps are for integrated webcams only. If you have an external webcam, disabling it is easy -- unplug the USB cord that connects the camera to the computer, and hide the camera somewhere your kid won’t find it! (Just kidding. You can also use these steps to disable an external webcam, but you'll probably have better luck simply by removing the device.)

To begin, go to the Start menu on your desktop and click on "Control Panel."

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Click on “Hardware and Sound.”

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Click on “Device Manager.”

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Click on “Imaging Devices” and select your webcam by double-clicking on it.

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Click on the “Driver” tab and select “Disable” to disable the webcam.

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Click “Yes” when asked if you really want to disable it.

Your webcam is now disabled. To re-enable the webcam, simply click on “Enable” in the same window.