Windows 10 and 11 logos

You should always check and make sure that your webcam works before an important video meeting. Here’s how to do it in Windows 10 and 11—and in some popular video-chatting apps, including Zoom, Google Meet, and Discord.

How to Test Your Webcam With the Camera App

The easiest way to test your webcam is with the built-in camera application. Click on the Start button, type “camera”, and then click the Camera app.

If everything is working correctly, you should see video from the camera immediately.

How to Test Your Webcam in Common Apps

Most applications and browser-based video chat services include the ability to test your audio and video. Here are some basic instructions for some of the most popular options.

Zoom

In Zoom, click the gear in the top-right corner of the screen.

Then, click “Video” on the left. If your webcam is working correctly, you should see yourself.

Google Meet

There are two places you can check your camera with Google Meet. The first is on the Google Meet home page. Click on the gear in the top right corner of the page.

Then, on the left-hand side, click “Video.” There will be a small video to the right side of the popup if your webcam is working correctly.

Google also put the option to check your video directly on the meeting page. Once you’ve joined a meeting, click “Check your audio and video.”

If you don’t see yourself, try clicking the red camera icon.

Slack

In Slack, click on your profile icon in the top-right hand corner of slack, and then click “Preferences.”

Click “Audio & video” on the left-hand side bar.

You should see yourself — if you don’t, make sure that the video device is set to the correct webcam.

Skype

To check your webcam in Skype, click on the three dots near the upper-left of Skype’s main page, and then click “Settings.”

Click on “Audio & video” on the left-hand side, under Settings.

You should see a video stream from the webcam to the right side.

Discord

Once you’ve launched Discord, click on the small gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner of Discord.

Click “Voice and Video” on the left-hand side, then, in the middle, click “Test Video.”

Your image should appear once you hit “Test Video.”

How to Troubleshoot Your Webcam

There are a few things that can result in your webcam not working. Fortunately, most of them are pretty easy to fix.

Check the Connection

Webcams that plug into a USB port can come loose, or the USB port itself can be bad. Double-check that your webcam is securely plugged into a USB port. You should also try changing which port the webcam is plugged into — sometimes the USB port itself can be the problem. If you have a desktop PC with USB ports on the front or top of the case, try connecting to a USB port on the back of the computer.

Download Webcam Drivers

Your webcam might require special software from the manufacturer to work correctly. The easiest way to find these is to go directly to the manufacturer’s website — driver downloads are usually found on the support page.

Check Windows Privacy Settings

Windows limits programs’ access to your webcam and microphone to help protect your privacy and security. Normally this is excellent, but it can occasionally result in your webcam working in some programs and not others.

To check your settings, click the Start button, type “Camera privacy settings” into the search bar, and hit Enter.

Click the switches for “Camera access” and “Let desktop apps access your camera” if they’re set to off. Then look through the list of applications and make sure that the program you’re trying to use has been set to “On.”

Note: Some video calling services, like Google Meet, work through your browser. If you’re trying to use a browser-based service, make sure you enable camera access for your browser.

While you’re here, you should double check your microphone settings. Click the back arrow in the very top left-hand corner of the window. Then, scroll down until you see “Microphone” and click it.

The controls for the microphone are exactly like the camera. Make sure enable access for the program you’re trying to use.

Check Your Browser Privacy Settings

Your browser also has security measures in place to prevent websites from accessing your microphone and camera without permission. Normally a website will prompt you when it is trying to access your webcam or microphone. Each browser is a little different, but they all look similar to the one below.

Camera and microphone permission popup

If you don’t see something like that, you’ll need to check your browser’s privacy settings.

Click the three dots or three bars in the top right of your browser and go to Settings. Then look for a “Privacy” menu. The controls for webcam and microphone access are there in most browsers.

RELATED: How to Change a Site's Camera and Microphone Permissions in Chrome

If none of those steps help, you should try the webcam on another computer. If it isn’t working there either, it is most likely the webcam itself is broken, and you’ll need to replace your webcam .

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Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
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