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Getting Yourself Video-Ready In Windows 8.1

I’ve been looking through some of the questions that people have been asking about Skype for Windows 8.1. I spotted a few questions related to the use of a webcam and so today I’d like to dig a bit deeper into setting yourself up for a video call. I’m going to touch on how to check your webcam is installed correctly, whether Skype has permission to use your webcam, whether Skype uses the right webcam by default and how to switch cameras during a call.

How to check if your webcam is installed correctly

Before getting into the options that Skype offers you to configure your webcam, it’s good to start by checking the webcam is installed correctly in Windows. To check your webcam is installed correctly:

  1. Go to the Windows Start screen
  2. Type device manager and open the first search result
  3. Expand the Imaging devices branch and make sure that your webcam is listed there with this icon

Installed device small

If your webcam isn’t listed or the icon is different to the one shown above, try reinstalling your webcam using the software or drivers provided by your hardware manufacturer.

Learn more about adding, removing and managing devices in Windows 8.1.

Make sure Skype has permission to use your webcam

Even if your webcam is installed correctly, Skype will need permission to use it in order to make video calls. The first you start Skype you will be asked to provide this permission. However, you can change this setting at any time. To check Skype’s webcam permissions:

  1. Open Skype
  2. Press Win+C or swipe from the right to bring up the charms
  3. Open the Permissions menu and move the slider under Webcam

This permission needs to be On in order to make video calls in Skype.

Permissions crop

Check which camera Skype uses by default

If you have a built-in webcam in your device but you’ve also installed an external webcam, it’s good to check Skype is using the right one before starting a call. To change the default camera used by Skype:

  1. Open Skype
  2. Press Win+C or swipe from the right to bring up the charms
  3. Open the Options menu and select from the available options under Camera

If you don’t see your camera as an option or the list is empty, make sure to try the steps at the top of this post to check if your webcam is installed correctly.

camera options crop

You will also see what the selected camera is looking at, which is most likely yourself. Smile and wave!

Switch your camera during a call

If you need to switch to another camera during a call you don’t need to change the default camera through the options menu. You can do so with just a few clicks while on the call. To switch cameras simply click or tap the video icon and select switch camera.

Switch camera cropNote that if you click or tap the video icon and turns your video on or off without giving you any other options, then your second webcam may not have been installed correctly. Try the steps at the top of this post to check whether it has been.

If you’re still having issues while setting up your webcam or video calling, drop in to the Skype Community and let us know where things aren’t coming together for you.

5 thoughts on “Getting Yourself Video-Ready In Windows 8.1

  1. I followed all the steps listed above and my webcam is not listed under Skype, Options, Camera, but it is listed under Windows, Device Manager, Imaging Devices. My webcam is a V7 HD720P. Why doesn’t Skype see it?

    • Matthew de Beer said 4 weeks ago

      Hi Dave,

      Do other applications recognize the camera, such as the Windows 8 ‘Camera’ app?

  2. No, Win Camera does not see it, but Win, Device Manager, Imaging Devices sees it as a USB Video Device and says it is working properly.

  3. Plus, there was a video capture app that was installed with the webcam and I can see the camera video so I know it’s working there.

    • Matthew de Beer said 4 weeks ago

      It’s possible, even if the driver is installed correctly, for the camera to be limited in the applications it will work with. I had a similar issue with a Lenovo laptop I had to setup recently.

      If you’ve installed the webcam with the manufacturer’s drivers, try making sure you’re using the latest version first. If that doesn’t help, try uninstalling the device and reinstalling it using generic Windows drivers.

      If none of the above works, I’d suggest posting your question in the Skype Community for easier to track responses and a wider pool of expertise to draw from.

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