How to Turn Off Your Webcam

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Webcams are now a ubiquitous part of laptops, but some users might want to turn them off because of security concerns. While it’s infrequent, some malware can actually access computers’ webcams and quietly spy on users. In 2014, several people were arrested in the United Kingdom for spreading that kind of software.

There are several ways to ensure that your computer’s webcam is behaving the way it should.

MORE: Best Antivirus Protection for PC, Mac and Android

Download and Run Antivirus/Anti-Malware Software

While this should be a normal part of maintenance for any Windows user, it’s one way to ensure that no malware is attempting to hijack your webcam. Popular free options for security software include Avast and Malwarebytes. In addition, practicing normal, safe Internet usage habits (not opening unfamiliar email attachments, etc.) is also advised.

Turn Off the Webcam Completely

1. Open the Start menu or (on Windows 8) the Start screen.

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2. Type Device Manager into the search field and select the first result, which should open Windows’ Device Manager.

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3. Locate Imaging Devices, which should display any webcams installed, under the Device Manager.

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4. Right click on your webcam and select Disable. A pop-up window will appear to confirm this choice; click Yes and close the windows.

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Your webcam will now be turned off. If you ever need to use the webcam, follow the above steps, but select Enable when right clicking on your webcam.

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Put Tape Over the Webcam

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This final method is rather low-tech, but works if you can’t or don’t want to mess with software or your computer’s settings. Simply put a piece of duct tape or masking tape over the lens. The downsides, of course, are mainly aesthetic, including sticky residue possibly left behind if the tape is removed.

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Add a comment
  • Joyfulgozo Says:

    I appreciate your input on turning off & on webcam. It never was a hassle until last year -- at least they are msging me -- never came before. I actually turned it off at the Kaspersky msg. Big challenge trying to get it optional, The Geek Squad finally had to help me.//Thk for above input.//Joyfulgozo 1-26-2018

  • Jayden Garrett Says:

    So what do I do since that didn't work? uninstalled the camera too, still on though..

  • no need Says:

    thanks for the info, a better alternative to tape:

    fold a small piece of paper and lay it on the corner of your lap top covering the cam.

  • someone Says:

    Turn off in windows, really?
    You all assume a virus can't enable it back.
    Simply put: a virus get's full access to your pc, except for webcam settings? nope!

  • sirius Says:

    well,in my pc there is no option for disabling the imaging devices: two imaging devices are shown 1)integrated webcam 2)USB camera.My pc is dell inspiron 15R-5521

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