How to Connect a Webcam to a Laptop

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Updated July 29, 2022

Whether you have a built-in webcam or not, the best webcams can give you a better experience during video calls. It’s always worth investing in an external HD webcam if you want great video quality. If you invest in one, you’ll also need to learn how to connect a webcam to a laptop.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Even if you have an internal webcam, there are a ton of perks to purchasing an advanced external version, such as having excellent video quality.
  • You first need to research the model you’d like to use and then read the instructions manual closely.
  • Once you read the instructions, plug your webcam into your laptop, download any software drivers, and you should be ready.

How to Attach a Webcam to a Laptop

Most people aren’t a huge fan of their built-in webcam. The video resolution can leave something to be desired, and most people like having a crisp, clear image while video conferencing.

Insider Tip

You should thoroughly research the webcam model you’re interested in before purchasing.

That’s why we’re going over how you can connect a webcam to a Windows system using a few simple steps. If you have an Apple laptop instead, try reading into the best webcams for Mac and learn how to connect one of those instead.

There are multiple reasons you might want to use traditional webcams. For one thing, they generally provide better quality than an internal webcam. That does depend on the model you purchase, so investing in something advanced like a modern HD webcam will give you the best results.

Some laptops will work differently. For example, learning how to connect a camera on your Chromebook has a different process.

STEP 1

Take your external webcam out of the packaging and ensure it has all the parts, including the mount and USB cable. If you’re curious about how to improve laptop camera quality in general, we have a great article on the topic. Video quality is an essential part of using a webcam, after all.

STEP 2

Plug your webcam device into one of your USB ports. Then, download any necessary driver software using the on-screen instructions or the manual the webcam company included.

STEP 3

Open up the webcam and play with the settings until they are set correctly. A more sophisticated webcam might need more fine-tuning than a regular webcam device.

Warning

Make sure you invest in an excellent webcam for audio if you’re doing a lot of audio conferencing, or your audio might be subpar.

STEP 4

Go to the menu bar and type “control panel” in the search box. Go to where hardware and devices are located, and then find the webcams. From here, set the preferred webcam, and you’re good to go. You now know how to connect your webcam to your laptop. If you’re a gamer, you might want to look into the best streaming cameras for Xbox One as your next step.

STAT: In 2019, 52 percent of all individuals used the internet to make a voice or video call, but usage was higher among those who used the internet within the last three months, at 60 percent. (source)

How to Connect a Webcam to a Laptop FAQs

What type of standalone webcam is best for business?

There are specialized conference webcams that you can purchase. These will give you the best possible experience when using videoconferencing software.

What are the most convenient webcams?

If you’re looking for something super convenient, use a simple plug-and-play model. These can be plugged into your laptop and used quickly, though they lack the bells and whistles of advanced models.

How do I adjust my webcam settings?

There are a few different ways to do this. You can adjust the settings for your computer by going into the control panel. Otherwise, you can use the software that comes with the webcam.

Are built-in cameras capable of working with streaming software?

Yes, and they are acceptable if you don’t want to invest in any external webcam options. If you’re looking to stream video games, your laptop's built-In webcam will work fine.
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