How to Install and Connect a Webcam to Your PC

Get ready to video chat or record the world around your PC

Before connecting a webcam to a computer, lay out the webcam materials so you have a clear picture of what you need to do. Most webcams have a USB connection, a software disk for drivers, and a camera. The camera is where the lens is. Put the camera somewhere where you can see it and where it can see you.

Information in this article applies generally to webcams used with a PC that has Windows 10 installed.

Install Your Webcam Software

Before you can use your webcam, install its drivers on your computer. Depending on the webcam, it came with either a disk containing the drivers or with instructions to find the drivers online. If your computer doesn't have a disk drive, go to the "No Disk" section of this guide.

Use the Provided Disk

Unless otherwise instructed, insert the disk that came with the webcam before you plug it in. Windows recognizes that you are attempting to install software and starts a wizard to guide you through the process.

If the wizard doesn't start automatically, go to the Windows taskbar and select File Explorer (on Windows 10) or My Computer (on older versions of Windows). Or, in the Search box, enter This PC. Then, click the disk drive (usually E:) to install the files on the disk.

Optical drive (E:) on Windows 10

No Disk? No Problem! Plug and Play

If the web camera didn't come with a software disk, plug it in and see what happens. Most often, Windows will recognize it as new hardware and can use it. If Windows can't use the webcam, you're guided through the process of searching for drivers (either online or on your computer).

As disk drives become less common, webcam manufacturers increasingly provide the latest drivers online.

To use Windows Update to look for drivers manually:

  1. Go to the Search box and search for Device Manager.

    Device Manager in Windows 10
  2. The Device Manager displays a complete list of devices on the computer. Go to Cameras or Imaging Devices, right-click the webcam, then select Update driver. Walk through the wizard to see if Windows can find the drivers.

    Update driver for webcam in Device Manager/Imaging devices
  3. If nothing happens when you plug in the webcam, and Windows can't find the drivers, read the instruction manual or visit the webcam manufacturer's website to locate driver software for the webcam.

Find Your Webcam's USB (Or Other) Connection

Most webcams connect with a USB cord or something similar. Locate a USB port on the computer. It's usually on the front or the back of the computer and looks like a tiny rectangle with a USB icon.

USB Ports
Image credit: Sharleen Chao/Moment Open/Getty Images

Typically, when you plug in the webcam, Windows automatically opens the installed software. Or, go to the Start menu to open the webcam software.

Keep Your Webcam on a Flat Surface

You don't have to be a professional photographer to take effective webcam videos or photos, but a few tricks of the trade do apply. Place the webcam on a flat surface​ so that pictures and videos don't appear crooked or skewed. Use a stack of books or a tripod to align the webcam to shoot video of something other than what's directly in front of the screen.

Clip Your Webcam to Your Monitor

Depending on the style and model of the webcam, it may or may not have an adjustable clip to attach it to the monitor. Clipping your webcam to the monitor is helpful when recording a webcast, making a video diary, or chatting with friends or family. If the monitor is thin, it might take some creativity to secure it.

The built-in clip feature puts desktop webcams a step above standard laptop webcams, given that they tend to be stuck in the same place centered at the top of the monitor.

Once Connected, Browse to Your Webcam Software

After you connect the webcam and position it as desired, turn it on and see what it can do.

Logitech Webcam Software on Windows 10

To use the software that came with the webcam, go to the Start menu and browse to the webcam program, shown here as Logitech Webcam Software. Yours will be associated with the brand and model of your webcam.

If you don't like the software that came with your webcam, Windows 10 comes with a Camera app that works well with most brands of webcams.