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Most laptops now have built-in webcams, but many users quickly discover that the quality leaves something to be desired. Because of this, consumers who research the best webcams find that an external webcam is their bet to enhance visuals. So, for those with a new webcam device, we’ll help get you started by showing you how to use an external webcam on a Windows 10 laptop.
If you haven’t purchased yet and are just starting to research which webcam is right for you, you can begin by reading our article that explains what integrated webcams are.
You can also use the webcam to snap photos, record videos, and scan documents.
Figuring out how to install a webcam on a laptop or any other computer can be daunting at the outset. However, the required know-how is basic when you get down to it. That’s why we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide on all you need to know for how to do this for your Windows computer. And if your current webcam has a USB cord you’d rather leave out, you can take additional steps to learn how to make the webcam wireless.
Lastly, if you have yet to purchase something, many devices can convert into a decent webcam. For more on this, we have some great resources, like our explainer on how to use a DSLR as a webcam device. And for the adventurous crowd, you can try your hand at figuring out how to use a GoPro as a webcam.
Plug your webcam’s USB cable into the computer.
Most modern webcams come with automatic download instructions upon plugging the device in, but others might require the user to insert a disc to begin the installation. Whichever way, follow the instructions and complete the software installation.
Go to your start menu, and in the search bar, type in “Control Panel.” Once you enter the control panel, find the option for “Devices and Printers.” After entering this, check to see that the name of our new USB webcam appears.
Right-click on your new primary webcam. In the drop-down list, select “Set as Default.”
Press “Windows Key + R.” In the search bar, type “devmgmt.msc” In the new device manager window, find the option “Imaging Devices” and open the dropdown menu.
Double-click the option for your laptop’s built-in webcam and press the tab at the top of the screen that says “Driver.” Find the option that says “Disable Device” and click on it.
Although they’re safer than built-in webcams, hackers can still find ways to access external devices.
STAT: By 2026, The video conference industry is projected to be worth more than $50 billion. (source)