How to get built-in webcam working?

June 6, 2020 at 22:35:26
Specs: several
I have never used the built-in camera in this 2016 HP laptop.
I slid the control over in Windows Privacy Settings to allow
apps to use the camera. Strangely, the Windows Camera app is
not in the list of apps that Windows thinks might want to use
the camera. When I start the Camera app, I get this error:

> Something went wrong
> Make sure your camera is connected and not being used by
> another app.

I tried the Troubleshooter in Control Panel, under Hardware
and Sound -- Configure a device. It claimed to find a problem
and a device driver to fix it, but wouldn't tell me what device
it found a problem in or what driver it was going to install.
It just said it needed to restart. So I restarted the computer.
I did that three times. Without any indication of what it is
actually doing, I have no idea whether a fourth iteration might
make the camera work, or if it is just spinning my wheels.

I have never plugged any other camera into this computer, so I'm
pretty sure the camera referred to by the error message is the
built-in webcam. The HP user manual for the computer says to
run the Windows Camera app in order to use the webcam. That's
all it says.

Edit to add:

I find no trace of the camera anywhere in Device Manager,
even when it is set to show hidden (disconnected) devices.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root


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#1
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#2
June 7, 2020 at 08:34:19
Thank you. For a start, that tells me that the camera should be
listed under "imaging devices" in Device Manager. It isn't.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#3
June 7, 2020 at 09:02:05
I know you like to poke around under the hood & change settings so it's possible you disabled something related to the camera. The model/model number of your laptop would be helpful, there might be an issue common to your model.

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#4
June 7, 2020 at 09:40:39
> it's possible you disabled something related to the camera.

That would be a pretty safe bet.

In Device Manager, I selected the imaging devices category and
did a "Scan for hardware changes" with no result. Same when I
selected the entire computer. Both scans were apparently very
fast. No clear indication of when they finished, but they seemed
to take less than a second. I wonder if that is a bad sign.

I ran the troubleshooter twice more, under "Configure a device".
Every time I run it, I'm told that it wants me to restart in order to
finish the update. As far as I can see, it does nothing. I wish it
would tell me what it thinks it is trying to do, or what problem it
thinks it found.

HP Notebook
Model 17-x023ds
Product ID Z3P70UA#ABA

In the model number, some of the characters (the "023", I think)
merely indicate the case color. The "17" might be the screen
size, which is 17.3".

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#5
June 7, 2020 at 10:17:43
sounds like the webcam driver has gone missing. See if they provide one for you machine at HP.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#6
June 7, 2020 at 23:17:26
It seems to me that it must be more than just the driver.
Shouldn't the scan for hardware changes in Device Manager
find the camera, with or without a driver?

I haven't found a device driver that is explicitly for the camera,
but HP did point out a bunch of updates I don't have. One is
for the BIOS. I don't remember updating a BIOS before. I'm
a bit scared to do so. Do you think it might be required to get
my camera working? Is there a place I can read about it to
find out?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root


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#7
June 8, 2020 at 09:53:45
I didn't see a camera driver listed at the HP website but I did find this:
https://support.hp.com/us-en/docume...

"HP did point out a bunch of updates I don't have. One is for the BIOS."

If you're going to update the BIOS, I recommend you do it manually. Don't rely on the HP software to do it for you. Go to the HP site, download the update & run it yourself. Make sure you have the AC adapter connected. Do NOT attempt to update the BIOS on battery power alone. Once you're all set, double-click on the file & follow the instructions. It's no different than installing any other update.

Here's what it says at the HP site about the update: "-Provides improved security. HP strongly recommends transitioning promptly to this updated BIOS version which supersedes all previous releases."
https://support.hp.com/us-en/driver...

BTW, it looks there have been about a dozen BIOS updates throughout the years, at least 1/2 of them deal with security, so you're WAY overdue.

message edited by riider


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#8
June 8, 2020 at 11:15:06
riider,

Your first link was the entire content of reply #1, which you posted.
So I've already read that, and worked through much of it. I skipped
looking at the firewall since the problem is obviously elsewhere, and
I didn't try to do a restore since I know I don't have any restore points
from a time when the camera worked.

I'll look at the BIOS info now, and probably install it. I downloaded it
and some of the other updates yesterday afternoon. It lists several
video drivers. I haven't been able to figure out yet if I'm supposed to
install all of them, or just the most recent one, or just the one that
applies to my hardware. If I recall correctly, the most recent one is
much smaller than the others, so I wonder. Two appear to have
identical names, but very different file sizes.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#9
June 8, 2020 at 12:05:59
Sorry, I didn't realize I posted the same link.

When it comes to the BIOS, you should install the latest one. There are several graphics drivers listed but notice they are for either AMD or Intel, so you need to know which graphics type you have & then install the newest driver. The newest appears to be from 2018 so Win10 might automatically install something even newer.


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#10
June 8, 2020 at 12:14:53
I finally tried clicking on the tiny arrowhead which turns out
to lead to at least some very minimal info about the updates.

I've looked at the details of a few MS updates in the past
(for Windows 7), and the only ones with any relevance to my
installation at all were very minimally relevant, but totalled
hundreds of megabytes. I couldn't find a single one (in a
quick, half-hearted scan of a very long list) that was clearly
relevant. Most appeared to plug security holes that my computer
didn't have. Although they never, ever said *exactly* what the
update changed.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#11
June 8, 2020 at 19:57:12
I installed the BIOS update. No effect on the camera, of course.
Or anything else, probably.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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