How to Connect a Webcam to a Computer

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated August 6, 2022

Even the best webcams require a bit of setup before you can use them. That’s why learning how to connect a webcam to a computer is essential. This will give you greater control over video settings and have better image quality than a built-in camera allows. Today, you’ll find out the easiest way to install these devices so that you can use your new USB video device sooner.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Using an external webcam device will give you better image quality when video conferencing or chatting.
  • Some computers have a built-in webcam, but these are generally low-powered and unable to compete with external models.
  • Connecting a webcam is as easy as plugging it in using a USB cable, downloading the webcam software, and changing your computer settings.

How to Install an External Webcam

A connected webcam device is a powerful thing. They can significantly improve your video chatting experience and provide a far clearer image of you to anyone you’re speaking with. If you’re looking for an alternative method with better video quality, try learning how to connect a camera to a computer as a webcam.

Insider Tip

Using a high-quality external webcam can yield far better results when holding a video conference.

STEP 1 Plug in the Webcam

Plug your webcam into your computer. Most models use a USB cable to plug the webcam into your USB port. Once plugged in, your computer should automatically detect the new device.

STEP 2 Download and Install Drivers

Download any driver software that the webcam company requires to use their product.

STEP 3 Find the Webcam in “Devices and Printers”

Open the Device Manager and navigate to the “Devices and Printers” section under “Hardware and Sound.” From there, find your webcam on the device list.

STEP 4Right-click on the Webcam to Set as Primary

Right-click on your webcam and click on “Set This Device as Default.”

Warning

Troubleshoot your new video device with your videoconferencing software ahead of time to ensure the two work together.

You should now have a functioning webcam that you can use with Google Meet or any other video chatting software. If you want to learn more, It’s also super easy to learn how to connect a webcam to a TV.

STAT: During the 2018 survey, 51 percent of respondents stated they used webcam-based interviews as a research method. (source)

How to Connect a Webcam to a Computer FAQs

How do I test my webcam?

First, click the “Start” button in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Type in “Camera” in the search bar. From there, you’ll be able to test your webcam using this application.

Does my laptop have a built-in webcam?

You should be able to tell whether your laptop has a webcam quickly. It’ll be a small camera installed just above the computer screen into the bezel around it.

Are webcams Bluetooth-enabled for video?

That depends on the model that you have. Some webcams are specifically designed to be able to connect with your computer either wirelessly or wired.

How do I connect a webcam to a laptop wirelessly?

You’ll have to have a model compatible with a wireless connection. If it is, ensure your computer and webcam are in “pairing” mode. Then, set up the connection in your computer's “Devices” section.
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