How to fix camera in use by another app Windows 10

People are increasingly using a camera: it may be needed not only for recording video, and computer games but also for work. However, this device, like many others, does not always work stably. For example, there is a common error “The Camera In Use By Another Application“. In Windows 10, the error code can vary greatly.

How To Fix Camera In Use By Another App Windows 10? Best Way

First, you need to determine which process is the “culprit” of an unpleasant situation. Unfortunately, this cannot be done using the built-in tools of the operating system. So you need a third-party app. At the moment, the best solution is “Process Explorer“: this utility belongs to Microsoft, and it can be downloaded from their official website. This means that it is completely safe, which cannot be said about other similar programs.

camera in use by another app
camera in use by another app

After downloading the utility, do the following:

  • Open device manager. It can be found using the search on the taskbar. You can also right-click on the Start menu and select the appropriate item from the context menu.
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Choose your camera. It should be in a section with the same name. If there is none, the device may be located in the following section:

  • Go to properties. To do this, you need to right-click on the camera and select the very last item in the menu that appears.
  • In the new window, click on the “Details” tab. All devices have it, including undefined ones.

Perform the following steps:

camera in use by another app windows 10
camera in use by another app windows 10
  1. Go to the device manager (you can press the Win + R keys, type devmgmt.msc and press Enter), find your webcam in the list, and open its properties.
  2. Click the Details tab and copy the Physical Device Object Name property. 
  3. Run the previously downloaded Process Explorer utility, select Find Handle or DLL from the menu (or press Ctrl + F) and enter the previously copied value in the search field. Click the “Search” button.
  4. If everything went well, then in the list of processes you will see those that use the webcam. 
  5. In step 3, you can also enter #vid in the search box instead of the webcam’s physical device name.
webcam processes explorer
webcam processes explorer

Unfortunately, the described method does not always lead to the desired result: sometimes the search result turns out to be empty: for example, when using a webcam in Google Chrome or the Windows 10 Camera application, Process Explorer does not find anything.

In such a situation, I recommend looking into the Windows Task Manager and carefully examining the running processes, paying attention to those that could use the webcam of a laptop or computer: broadcast and video recording tools, instant messengers, processes like Intel RealSense and others.

As a last resort, try simply restarting your computer. However, keep in mind that this may not work in a situation where the program using the webcam is in autoload.

Alternative ways to fix Camera In Use By Another App

Reinstalling the problematic application

In most cases, the camera error can be fixed by reinstalling the application that fails to enable it. For example, if you have a problem using it in Skype, follow these steps.

  • Open the Programs and Features section with the appwiz.cpl command from the Win + R window.
  • In the list of installed software, find Skype, right-click on it and select Uninstall. Follow the instructions to complete the uninstallation.
  • Then open the Windows search bar and type Microsoft Store. When the found result is displayed, double-click on it.
  • In the Store, click on the icon with three horizontal lines in the upper left of the screen and go to the “My Library” section.
  • Find Skype and click on the “Install” button. Once the installation is complete, try turning on the camera in the app and see if it works.

Camera restart

  • Open the Device Manager with the devmgmt.msc command, launched from the Win + R window.
  • Expand the Cameras tab. Then click on the device model that is installed in the system and select Disable.
  • Wait a few seconds, then right-click on it again and select Enable. Now run the app that failed to turn on the camera and see if it works.

Driver reinstallation

  • Go to the Device Manager again with the devmgmt.msc command from the Win + R window.
  • Now expand the Cameras tab, right-click on the device you are using and select Uninstall. Confirm this action in the pop-up window and complete the removal.
  • Restart your Windows 10 PC and the missing driver will be installed automatically. Otherwise, visit the vendor’s website and download and install the driver manually. Check if the problem is solved

Changing your privacy setting

  • Expand the Start menu and click on the gear icon to open system settings. Or just press Win + I, then go to the “Privacy” section.
  • On the left panel, click the Camera tab. On the right side of the window, under Allow access to the camera on this device, and click Edit. In the pop-up window, move the slider to the “On” position.
  • Then scroll down and turn on “Allow apps to access this device.
  • Then choose which Microsoft Store programs can access the camera. Now exit the options and open the messenger. Check if the issue is resolved.

Reset current configuration

  • Press Win + I together to bring up the options window and click on the Applications section.
  • You will now be taken directly to the Applications & Features tab.
  • On the right side of the window, scroll down to the “Camera” line. Click Advanced Options.
  • On the next page, reset the device configuration by clicking on the appropriate button, then confirm this action.
  • After the process is complete, restart your computer and check if the camera works in a specific application.

Turn off Firewall

  • Open the Windows Firewall with the firewall.cpl command from the Win + R window.
  • In the left pane, click on Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.
  • Check the “Turn off Windows Defender Firewall” options for both private and public networks, then apply the changes.
  • Check if turning on the camera is interrupted by an error that it is being used by another application.
  • Also, try disabling your third-party antivirus program. This software may be one of the reasons why you see the error that “the camera is still in use by another application.”

FAQs about Camera In Use By Another App

How do I find out which app is using my camera?

If you’re having trouble knowing which app is using your camera, there are a few ways to find out. One way is to go to the app’s settings and look for the section that says “Use Camera.” If the app is using your camera, it will say so in this section. Another way to check if an app is using your camera is by looking through your photos. If you see an app or person in a photo that you didn’t take, then the app may be using your camera.

Is my camera hacked?

Many people believe that their camera is hacked when they see strange things happening on the camera, such as redeye or distorted images. However, there is no way to be certain if your camera has been hacked, and any suspicious activity may simply be due to problems with the camera’s software. If you’re concerned about your camera’s security, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself. First, be sure to keep up-to-date on the latest software updates for your camera. Second, always use caution when sharing your photos and videos online. Finally, don’t let anyone borrow or loan your camera without first checking to make sure it’s safe to do so.

Can apps use camera without permission?

Yes, some apps can access the camera without asking for user permission. This is usually done in order to take pictures or record videos. However, it’s important to be aware that not all apps are allowed to do this and you should always read the app’s privacy policy before downloading it. If you’re not sure whether an app can use the camera or not, just ask your parents or guardian before downloading it.

Conclusion

To sum up, the only way to remove the “Camera In Use By Another Application” error in Windows 10 is to get rid of this process. It is not so difficult to remove it, but sometimes it is almost impossible to find it. If the situation persists even after a reboot, you should look after which it occurs: this may help to find out which application is using the camera. If the error appears immediately after loading the OS, then the “culprit” is among the programs with autoload enabled (you can see it in the tab of the same name in the task manager).