How to Set up a Webcam

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
So you purchased a webcam so you can connect with your long-distance love interest or capture images of anyone who dares to trespass on your property or what have you. You are excited! But before you can blow kisses to your lover or catch criminals red-handed, you have got to install the thing. Here is how.


  1. Purchase the right webcam. There are many different kinds available:
    • Video-conferencing cameras are made to plug into the computer so you can chat with someone while recording simultaneously. They usually cost $30-50.[1]

    • A monitoring webcam has its own little Web server built in and is designed to transmit images through the Internet so you can watch someone or something. They are usually upwards of $200. To install one, you will need an Internet-sharing router with Wi-Fi support.[1]
    • If you are using the camera for security or monitoring purposes, consider purchasing a wireless model. Look for wireless 802.11b/g with support for WEP or WPA/WPA2 encryption.[1]
    • Additional features to consider:
      • external microphone
      • motion sensor
      • e-mail alerts plus a clip or still image of an event that trips the motion sensor
      • remote-accessible pan/tilt/zoom so you can log into the camera on the Internet and move its view around, including zoom.
      • bundled software for handling multiple cameras

  1. Back up the computers hard drive before installing anything, just in case. That way, if anything goes wrong with the installation, you will not lose any data.
  2. Check for an updated version of the webcam software online. If there is an updated version, use that instead.
  3. Read and follow the quick-start guide. You will be instructed to load the webcam software, and it will tell you when to plug in the webcam with a USB cable. If you plug in the webcam at the wrong time, that will cause problems. If that does happen, here is what to do:[2]
    • Uninstall existing camera installations (Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs)
    • Unplug the webcam
    • Reboot the computer
    • Load the webcam installation software again, and this time, wait until you are prompted before you plug in the USB cable!
  4. Tell your computer what to do with the images. You have a few different options here, depending on what kind of webcam you have:


  • Even though many models can take images at regular VGA resolution (640x480) that setting can slow your frame rate (the speed with which the webcam takes pictures and sends them through the Internet).
  • If you are using the webcam to take snapshots when motion is detected, be sure to leave enough storage space in your computer to accommodate that possibility. A good rule of thumb is 2GB of space per camera.[1]


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