Software

How to fix the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition webcam bug

Microsoft's newest update to Windows 10 rolled out more than just features--it also inadvertently killed many webcams in the process. Good news: There's a registry fix for that.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/locknloadlabrador


On August 2nd, Microsoft released its long awaited update to Windows 10, dubbed Anniversary Edition. Internally referred to as Redstone 1, the final production version of the update is huge and brings along with it several new features and changes to enhance Windows 10.

Unfortunately, as with any update or hotfix a vendor rolls out, the potential for something to break is just as likely as the intention to correct its intended issue. With the sheer number of PCs out in the wild and the virtually endless number of possibilities of hardware and software combinations, it's not surprising that a fix opens another hole or two while simultaneously closing others.

SEE: Microsoft crashes the party with a new version of the Windows 10 Xbox app

As of this writing, many webcams are negatively affected: They're no longer functioning as they were pre-update. The "Why did this happen?" having already been explained, the next logical progression is to ask "When will this be fixed?" According to Connor Forrest, who covered the initial news about the update breaking webcams, Microsoft won't have a fix ready until September.

The workaround

Now for the good news. If you can't wait and require a temporary solution until the real deal is released, there is a registry trick that has been working well for many webcam users affected by this bug. If you want to try it, here's what to do.

Standard disclaimer: The Windows Registry file is vital to the operation of the Windows operating system. Incorrectly editing or otherwise corrupting the Windows Registry file could prevent your computer from booting properly.

To correct the webcam bug, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start Menu | Search, enter Regedit, and click on the matching search result to launch the app.
  2. Locate the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key and drill down through the directories to locate the correct registry entry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform
  3. Double-click the EnableFrameServerMode DWORD entry and change the value to 0. Click OK to save the setting.
  4. Navigate to the following location to perform the same modification on a similar entry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform
  5. Double-click the EnableFrameServerMode DWORD entry and change the value to 0. Click OK to save the setting.

Once you make these changes, close the Registry app. While not always required, sometimes a reboot is necessary when modifying the registry before the settings will take hold.

After restarting your Windows device, the webcam should function much like before. You should be good until September's official update is made available.

Another approach

Another possibility is to wholly uninstall the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to roll back to the previous version of Windows 10. On paper this is certainly possible, but in practice it may introduce further issues. Your mileage may vary.

Webcam issues?

Have your run into webcam problems with the Anniversary Update? How about other potholes? Share your experiences and advice with fellow TechRepublic members.

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About Jesus Vigo

Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from seve...

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