Windows 11 Webcam Not Working? 14 Ways to Fix It

Troubleshooting common issues with webcams

A webcam not working in Windows 11 can apply to a built-in camera or an external one. How to tell if the camera isn't detected? Simple: it could be displaying a black screen, the camera light might be off, or nothing happens when you try reaching the webcam.

Why Your Windows 11 Camera Isn't Working

There are two possible broad reasons: hardware or software. Unlike something within Windows malfunctioning, a webcam is a physical device, so the issue could lie in the device itself or in your computer's understanding of how to connect to it.

Most Windows webcam issues have something to do with software. That is, Windows 11 doesn't understand the camera is plugged in or the software you're using (like a browser or video program) doesn't have the right permissions enabled, effectively blocking access to the camera.

How to Fix a Webcam Not Working in Windows 11

If you've already connected and set up the webcam with Windows, but your computer isn't detecting it, walk through these troubleshooting steps to identify where the fault is and what you can do about it. Test the webcam after each step to see if it's fixed before moving on to the next tip.

  1. Check the camera manufacturer's website to confirm it's compatible with Windows 11. Most webcams show the maker somewhere on the front.

    Really old cameras likely won't work with newer versions of Windows and won't respond to any of these troubleshooting tips. Your only option in that case is to purchase a newer camera.

  2. Restart your computer. A reboot is often the fix for problems which don't have a clear source. If you haven't tried this yet, don't overlook it as being too simple a solution; it might be all you need to do.

    Plus, there might be another app or browser tab already using the camera. Restarting the whole PC ensures the webcam gets disconnected from those sources.

    One quick way to reboot Windows 11 is through the Start menu: right-click it and go to Shut down or sign out > Restart.

  3. If the webcam is attached through a cord, unplug it and then plug it back in. Take this opportunity to use a different port to eliminate the first port as the problem.

    Also unplug unnecessary USB devices (e.g., external hard drive, printer). Although unlikely, other plugged-in devices could be interfering with the camera's ability to communicate with Windows.

  4. Although it might seem obvious, it's important for the camera lens to be free from debris. If it's new and has plastic over it, or includes a privacy cover, ensure those aren't in the way.

    This could be the fix for a camera which appears to be really low quality or shows only a black screen.

  5. Verify the application you're using the webcam with is set up properly. This might be a web browser or desktop program, so how this is done differs for everyone.

    If you're using Chrome, for example, ensure the webcam isn't blocked. If there's webcam software installed, look through the menus to confirm the camera isn't disabled.

    Windows 11 has its own controls: Settings > Privacy > Camera. Toggle on both Allow access to the camera on this device and Allow apps to access your camera. A bit further down the page are toggles for specific apps; check the apps you need are have enabled rights to use the webcam.

    Camera app permissions
  6. Temporarily disable antivirus, firewall, and privacy software. Some programs have webcam protection built-in, which could be what's blocking it.

    If turning off these programs makes the camera work, examine their settings to find out what needs to be changed, and then promptly re-enable them. There's probably a Webcam Protection option enabled, or something similar that's preventing your apps from using the camera.

  7. Test your webcam to see if your computer can even recognize it. If you use an online tester like webcammictest.com, assuming the browser isn't blocking camera access, this will confirm the webcam is functioning and your computer can effectively use it.

    Connection to device message on webcam test site

    If this works, but you still can't get the webcam to work with a different program, reinstall the software. Starting fresh will delete any customizations you've made in the program and re-establish a connection to the webcam.

    If this doesn't work, there could be a problem with the camera hardware or there might be another software issue at play. Continue with these steps.

  8. Open Device Manager and either enable or disable the camera, depending on your situation:

    • Enable the webcam if it's disabled. This is an unlikely solution unless you disabled yourself, but it's still something you can check. The hardware must be enabled for Windows 11 to use it.
    • Disable the webcam if there's an internal and external one installed and the wrong one is being used. Windows won't use both webcams at once, and some apps don't let you pick which one to prioritize. For example, if the built-in camera is active, but you'd rather use the external one, disable the internal webcam in Device Manager.

    Even if the camera is already enabled and only one is installed, use this time to disable the webcam in Device Manager, and then enable it again. This could 'wake it up' to Windows 11 and allow access again.

  9. Uninstall the camera from Device Manager to force Windows to reinstall the driver.

    To do this, open the Imaging devices area of Device Manager, right-click the camera, and choose Uninstall device > Uninstall. Finish by restarting the computer.

  10. Run a driver updater tool. This will check for missing, corrupt, and outdated drivers, and install them for you. One of them could be related to your webcam.

    HD Pro Webcam C920 driver details
  11. Upgrade the software that's using the webcam. This might be a dedicated app from the camera company, a program like Zoom or Skype, your web browser, etc.

  12. Run Windows Update. Microsoft might have a webcam fix available.

    If there's a driver update, it might be accessible only through the View optional updates link when checking for updates.

  13. Run the built-in camera troubleshooter to have Windows attempt to automatically diagnose and fix the webcam problem. It will likely use some of the same techniques you tried above, but will also reset services and try other methods.

    Get there through Settings: Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters > Camera.

    Run the troubleshooter highlighted in Windows 11 settings
  14. Plug the webcam into a different computer, if possible. If it works there, revisit the steps above. If it doesn't work on another system, assuming it's properly set up there, the camera itself is more than likely damaged, and your only option is to use a new/working one.

FAQ
  • How do I fix my microphone not working on Windows 11?

    To fix your Windows microphone, make sure the mic isn't muted and check the connections. Also, check to make sure the mic is enabled for the specific app you're using. If you're still having problems, run Windows Troubleshooter.

  • How do I disable my Windows 11 webcam?

    Disable your Windows webcam in the Device Manager. Choose your webcam, go to the Drivers tab, then select Disable.

  • How do I connect a webcam to my Windows PC?

    Windows should set up your external webcam as soon as you plug it in. If it doesn't, you may need to install software from the manufacturer.

  • How do I test my webcam?

    Go to a website like webcammictest.comturncameraon.com, or webcamtests.com. Alternatively, use Skype or the Windows camera app.

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