How to Disable a Webcam in Windows 7

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Why Disable Your Webcam

Most laptops come with a built-in webcam nowadays. If you’re a parent, there are a few reasons why you may want to disable the webcam, all of them having to do with safety. Video instant messaging and websites aren’t always child-friendly, and you may decide that disabling your webcam is the best way to protect your children.

Even if you don't have children, you may want to disable the webcam for privacy reasons if you don't use it. This prevents malware from taking control of the camera.

Note that these steps are for integrated webcams only. If you have an external webcam, disabling it is easy—just unplug the USB cord that connects the camera to the computer, and hide the camera somewhere your kid won’t find it. You can also use these steps to disable an external webcam, but it's easier to simply remove the device.

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Getting Started

In Windows 7 on your computer or laptop, go to the Start menu on your desktop and click on Control Panel. Click on Hardware and Sound.

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Locate Your Webcam

Click on Device Manager. From the next screen select Imaging Devices and select your webcam from the list by double-clicking on it. 

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Disable Your Webcam

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

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Confirmation

Click Yes when asked if you really want to disable your webcam to disable it. To re-enable the webcam, simply click on Enable in the same window where you disabled it.