Do you want to disable the webcam on Windows 10? What if we told you that you can do this in a few clicks, without using tape, or any other physical device? In this quick tutorial we will show you how to effectively deactivate your webcam via the control panel to avoid any risk of it being used to capture images without your knowledge.
The webcams are very practical for communicating in video conversation. But without falling into paranoia, they can also turn against their owners: webcam piracy is growing and can have quite terrifying consequences when you are the victim. Cases of extortion have been reported, or simply of dissemination of the video stream without the victims’ knowledge on Youtube. So much so that in recent years we have seen several executives and bosses of big companies like Mark Zuckerberg and ex-boss of the FBI James Comey physically hide the webcam of their laptop with the help of a piece of tape . The FBI also advises to hide his webcam in this way .
This solution has the advantage of being simple, and of an unstoppable efficiency – but it still has a rather annoying drawback: it permanently stains your lens with a mixture of dust and glue residues. And the tape ends up over time not sticking at all. So of course there are other cleaner devices to install there. We offer you another method: it is not 100% foolproof, but it already greatly reduces the risk of being hacked in this way.
How to disable the webcam directly in Windows 10
For that, it’s very simple :
- On your PC press the Win + R keys simultaneously
- Type devmgmt.msc then Enter
- The Device Manager opens: looking for an entry named Webcam , video camera , video input device , or similar – it depends on your version of Windows and the driver of the webcam
- Click on it to see the peripherals; you should then see the name and brand of your webcam or, failing that, a generic name
- Right click on it
- Click on Disable device
The device is then shut down by the operating system. It is possible to reactivate it by following the same path, and by choosing Activate device .
Is it as secure as a piece of tape?
Yes and no. As far as the operating system is concerned, no more webcams are available and cannot be activated by an application. Nevertheless, specialized malware can very well launch a search for a USB device and try to force the activation of the webcam with its own drivers to capture its flow. In other words, there is a gain in terms of security to disable your webcam via the Control Panel , but it is unfortunately not completely absolute, especially if the hackers who target you put the means there …
Conclusion: it all depends on your case
Either solution is appropriate depending on the case:
- Not using the webcam? Just unplug it, it’s an unnecessary risk
- Can’t physically unplug the webcam or often use apps like Skype? Invest in a cache
What method do you prefer to make your webcam inoperative when you are not using it? Share your tips in the comments of this article.