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HP Notebook PCs - Fixing Webcam Problems in Windows Vista

This document pertains to HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario Notebook PCs with the original HP image of the Windows Vista operating system

Computer Configuration
See this Document
If using the original Windows XP image
If using the original Windows 7 image
If the original operating system was changed

The HP Webcam built into certain notebooks can be used to capture video motion or still images. A webcam is an input device, like a scanner, and does not do anything by itself. There is no free-standing webcam application or program. To test or use the webcam, you must use a video recording or instant messaging program. For HP notebooks with Vista, the available video recording programs are: QuickPlay or YouCam (depending on the model), and you can download the Windows Live instant message (IM) program from Microsoft.

If you install a third-party video application and that application does not display an image from the webcam, you can test the basic operation of the webcam by opening one of the video recording programs that were pre-installed on your computer. After verifying that the webcam is operational, you can configure and troubleshoot the application.

NOTE: Before attempting to resolve any webcam issues you should use Windows Update to install Microsoft Vista Service Pack 2.

1. Click Start , enter system in the search field, and select System from the listing.

2. Click Windows Update , and then when the link is displayed, click Check for updates .

Test the operation of the webcam

Use one of the pre-installed programs to test the operation of the webcam. If the application displays an image, the webcam is working.

If the webcam application does not display an image, select the symptom below that most closely matches your problem, and perform the corrective action.

Webcam does not work with pre-installed programs

The webcam and capture programs on your HP notebook did work in the factory configuration.

Resolve this issue

Some early versions of Microsoft Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 were unstable. In some cases, doing a simple, automatic program update caused conflicts. Most webcam problems, as well as sound and graphic problems, can be resolved by selecting the correct webcam driver, updating the BIOS, and verifying Windows Vista is updated to Service Pack 2.

  • Update the webcam driver

    • First Driver Choice. HP provides webcam drivers for the original OS only. To locate the HP webcam driver, go to the Software & Driver Downloads web page for your model and OS. Download the file to your computer, and run the installation function by double-clicking the file on the computer.

    • Second Driver Choice. Each version of Windows provides a generic Microsoft USB Video Device driver. Running the Windows Update function to update the OS to the latest Windows Service Pack (XP SP3 or Vista SP2.) installs C:\Windows\system 32\drivers\usbvideo.sys .

    1. Click Start , type Device Manager , and select Device Manager from the list provided.

    2. Double-click Imaging Devices to expand the list of webcam drivers.

      • If there is no Imaging devices entry listed in Device Manager, see the There is no webcam listed in Device Manager section of this document.

      • If more than one webcam driver is listed, right-click the driver and select uninstall for any driver that is not the HP Webcam-101 or Microsoft USB Video Device driver.

    3. Right-click the HP Webcam-101 or Microsoft USB Video Device driver, and select Update Driver Software .

      • Click Search automatically for updated driver software .

        Follow the on-screen instructions. Windows will install a file identified in the registry as "last used file" which may not be the desired webcam driver.

      • Click Browse the computer to select a specific USB Video Device driver.

        1. Double-click Imaging Devices to expand the list of webcam drivers, right-click the webcam driver, and then select Properties .

          Make a note of the existing name of the webcam driver (Example: HP Webcam ), as it may change after the update.

        2. On the Webcam Properties window, select Update Driver... .

        3. When prompted, select the option to Browse the computer for desired driver.

        4. When prompted, select the Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer option.

        5. De-select the Show compatible hardware checkbox, then select Microsoft in the Manufacturer pane, and select USB Video Device in the Model pane, and then click Next to install the desired webcam driver.

        6. Allow the installation of the USB Video Device , and then click Close .

        7. View the Imaging devices option in the Device Manager to verify the presence of a webcam driver.

          Make a note that the name of the updated webcam driver (Example: USB Video Device ), may be different that the original file.

  • Apply latest BIOS updates

    As hardware and software issues are discovered and corrected, updates to the BIOS are made available to users. The same BIOS will support different operating systems. Ideally, update the BIOS before you change the OS, and always use the latest version.

    The latest BIOS can be found on the Software & Driver Downloads web page for your model.

  • Update to Vista Service Pack 2

    1. On the desktop, click Start , enter system in the search field, and select System from the listing.

    2. The installed Service Pack is displayed. Click Upgrade Windows Vista .

    3. You can either view a list of what updates are available , or just click Install updates .

    NOTE: Since some updates require the computer to restart, you may have to run the Windows Update several times before Service Pack 2 is displayed as available.

Once you have updated the computer to Windows Vista SP2 and updated to the USB Video Device driver, you should test the webcam using one of the pre-installed applications.

There is no webcam listed in Device Manager

The drivers for the Imaging devices , which include the webcam, should be displayed in the Device Manager.

Resolve this issue

If no webcam driver is listed, update to Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and check again for the USB Video Device driver in the Device Manager.

  1. Click Start , type Device Manager , and select Device Manager from the list provided.

  2. If there is no Imaging devices entry in the listing, highlight any topic (for example: Keyboards), and then on the Action menu, click Scan for hardware changes .

    • If the Device Manager does not recognize the existence of the webcam after the scan, there may be a hardware issue.

      1. Perform a hard reset of the computer.

      2. Reset the BIOS to Default condition (F9).

      3. Contact HP Technical Support.

      Individual countries and regions have their own procedures for providing product support and customer service. For your country or region, go to the Hewlett Packard Technical Support page, select a country or region, and then click Contact HP.
      Alternately, click the Contact HP link near the upper corner of this web page
    • If the webcam is recognized after the scan, then update the webcam driver as described in the Webcam does not work with pre-installed programs section of this document.

IM or Skype does not have an image

The webcam on your HP notebook does not work with video chat software.

Resolve this issue

If a webcam displays an image in a pre-installed program but does not display an image in Instant Messenger, Skype, or other third-party program, that program may not be configured to recognize the integrated webcam. Most programs have a setup or configuration option that allows you to select from list of installed webcam drivers.

  • See the program's User Guide to review instructions on how to configure the program, and verify the program is compatible with Vista.

  • If an error message indicating that No webcam device is found displays when starting the program, see the There is no webcam listed in Device Manager section of this document for additional information.

  • See Setting Up the HP Webcam with Your Favorite Messenger and Other Programs

  • See the Keep webcam up-to-date section of this document to scan for program, driver, or BIOS updates.

Webcam stopped working after a Windows update

A webcam that was working in one of the pre-installed programs, suddenly stops working after doing a scheduled Windows Vista Update, or after doing a recommended update to QuickPlay or YouCam.

Resolve this problem

This problem may occur after installing or updating a third-party video recording or IM program because of an incompatible drive. It is caused by the installation of an incompatible webcam or video driver. To resolve this issue, simply reinstall the original HP Webcam-101 or Microsoft USB Video Device driver.

  1. Click Start , type Device Manager , and select Device Manager from the list provided.

  2. Double-click Imaging Devices to expand the list of webcam drivers.

  3. If the HP Webcam-101 or Microsoft USB Video Device is listed, right-click the driver and select Update Driver Software and follow the on-screen instructions.

    You can let the computer search automatically for an updated driver software, or you can manually update the webcam driver. See the Webcam does not work with pre-installed programs section of this document for details.

If you have not updated the operating system to Windows Vista Service Pack 2 you should do so now. Use Windows Update to automatically install all recommended security patches and updates.

Installed other webcam programs but webcam still does not work

The webcam only needs one driver. The installation of multiple webcam drivers and programs will cause conflicts.

Resolve this issue

To resolve this issue, uninstall all the incompatible webcam drivers listed in the Device Manager, and then install the original HP Webcam-101 or Microsoft USB Video Device driver. This driver is part of Windows Vista Service Pack 2.

  1. Click Start , type Device Manager , and select Device Manager from the list provided.

  2. Double-click Imaging Devices to expand the list of webcam drivers.

  3. If more than one webcam driver is listed, right-click any webcam driver and select uninstall . If prompted to confirm this choice, allow the action to continue.

    Repeat this action to uninstall all the listed webcam drivers until the Imaging Devices entry disappears.

  4. When the Imaging Devices entry disappears, select Action , then Scan for hardware changes .

    • If the Device Manager does not recognize the existence of the webcam and fails to display a driver after the scan, there may be a hardware issue. Contact HP Technical Support.

      Individual countries and regions have their own procedures for providing product support and customer service. For your country or region, go to the Hewlett Packard Technical Support page, select a country or region, and then click Contact HP.
      Alternately, click the Contact HP link near the upper corner of this web page
    • If the webcam is recognized after the scan, follow the instructions to update the webcam driver as described in the Webcam does not work with pre-installed programs section of this document.

Image is not clear and bright

Sometimes the webcam works but the image is not as clear or bright as you would like.

Resolve this issue

There are some cases of dark images or unusual color tints with the webcam on certain models. Please see the documents listed below for help resolving some of these webcam performance related issues. As a quick lighting tip, be sure the area around the subject being viewed is well lite, and there are no bright lights behind the subject shining on the webcam lens.

Error message displays when starting a webcam program

Error messages may be displayed when a program is trying to access the webcam. Either it cannot find a webcam driver or another application is already using the webcam.

Resolve this issue

The webcam can only be used by one application at a time. For instance, you cannot use the webcam in an Instant Messaging session while you are using QuickPlay. Also, configuring one program may cause a driver conflict with another video program until you exit both programs. You may need to restart the computer to clear all conflicts.

Please see the documents listed below for help resolving specific error messages associated with the webcam.

Need to re-install the original webcam program

You may need to reinstall the original, pre-installed MediaSmart or YouCam programs.

Resolve this issue

Reinstalling the pre-installed programs may return the computer to a known good condition; however, you will then want to apply the available program updates which could create other webcam issues.

  • Download and reinstall pre-installed webcam program from HP web site.

    1. Go to the HP Software & Driver Downloads web page for your model. If prompted for information, enter your country / region and model name or product number. For example, Presario CD60-101xx.

      Select the current installed version of Windows Vista.

    2. Click the Software - Multimedia link to display a list of software and updates.

      • Depending on the model, the original QuickPlay or YouCam program may not be listed on the web site. It may only be available by using Recovery Manager.

      • If the item is identified as an Update you are require to install the original version of the program first.

    3. Select Download and Save the file to the computer. Do not select Run from the download menu.

    4. Double-click the downloaded file to install the software.

    See HP Notebook PCs - Using HP Update Tools to Update HP Software, Drivers, and BIOS with Vista

  • Reinstall pre-installed webcam program from Recovery Manager.

    1. Click Start , type Recovery , and select Recovery Manager from the list provided.

    2. Select Advanced options .

    3. Select Software program re-installation , and follow the on-screen instructions to re-install QuickPlay or YouCam.

Keep webcam and software up-to-date

HP periodically issues updated drivers and automated support tools to resolve known problems with the webcam and other devices.

Resolve this issue

Use HP Support Assistant to automatically search for and install updated applications, drivers, or BIOS for your model. To run HP Support Assistant:

  1. Download and install HP Support Assistant .

  2. Click HP Support Assistant .

  3. Connect to the Internet, click Maintain panel, and click Refresh to search for updates.

  4. Select and Apply the recommended important actions.

For more information, see HP Notebook PCs - Installing and Using HP Support Assistant .

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