How to Install a Webcam

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Most laptops today come with a built-in webcam, but if you have an older computer or if you need a webcam with higher resolution, it's easy to install an external webcam. The Best Buy Geek Squad's Shannon LaBeach provides a step-by-step guide on how to install an external webcam.

Things You Need

To install a webcam you'll need a computer with an internet connection and an external webcam. You'll also need connection cords and an installation disk which will be included with you webcam. Finally, you'll need video-chatting software such as Skype. This can be obtained online.

Choosing a Webcam

Choose the webcam that fits your needs. (photo: Demand Media / Arisa Kim)

The most important factors are image resolution and compatibility. If it's for a laptop, you might want it to clip to the screen. Make sure everything is in the package -- connection cords, software. Also, make sure it is compatible with your system, PC or Mac. The installation process is standard for PCs and Macs.

Tip: "If you're using your webcam for video, many support HD," LaBeach said. "If you're using it as a camera for still photos, look for high megapixels."

The Installation Disk

First, install the software disk for your webcam. (photo: Demand Media / Arisa Kim)

Many devices today are plug-'n-play; your computer detects new hardware when you connect it and guides you through installation. Most webcams also come with a disk with the software.

Tip: Install the software first.

Follow Instructions

Installation is user-friendly. You'll be prompted to connect your webcam at the right time. (photo: Demand Media / Arisa Kim)

After loading the disk, a "welcome" screen should pop up automatically. If your computer doesn't start running the installation, run it manually by clicking on the appropriate drive from the Startup Menu (PC) or clicking the disk icon in your Finder window or desktop (Mac). Follow the prompts that come up on your screen. The installation program tells you when to connect your webcam to your computer.

Connect Your Webcam

This webcam is connected via USB. (photo: Demand Media / Arisa Kim)

When prompted, connect your device to your computer.

Tip: If you encounter installation issues, contact the webcam's customer support center. Contact information can be found in the packaging.

Quick or Custom Install?

Webcam installation is a matter of following the prompts. (photo: Demand Media / Arisa Kim)

Webcams may "quick install" or "custom install." LaBeach said that most users are fine with the quick install option. Let the installation program run its course until complete. This may take a few minutes. Once installed, your computer may need to be restarted before using your webcam.

Tip: Users who choose custom install can change advanced settings, such as installing into a particular folder.

Connecting to Video Calling

You can place an external webcam anywhere you like. (photo: Demand Media / Arisa Kim)

After connecting your webcam, the software will detect it and search for video-calling software, such as Skype or Windows Messenger. "Since Skype is one of the more dominant video chat programs, a lot of the newer webcams will immediately sync with that program," said LaBeach.

Tip: Having a video chat program like Skype can help eliminate a lot of additional steps.

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