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How to (Maybe) Save Those Old Webcams (Possibly)

Posted By Randal On October 7, 2011 @ 11:25 AM In Hardware & Peripherals | Comments Disabled

Mike from Ohio asks:

I got a new Toshiba laptop running Windows 7 (Home Premium Edition) and Internet Explorer 7. I find that I cannot run my Intel webcams because the webcams, which ran fine under XP Pro, are 32 bit and my new system is 64 bit. Other than buying new cams, or getting a backwards compatible higher version of Windows 7, is there any other way I can run the 2 cams I already have?

Well Mike, the answer is that you may be able to salvage those old webcams, depending on how much the manufacturer is invested in keeping them running.

The bad news about the jump from 32 to 64 bit is that a lot of hardware stopped working. The good news is that, for most of it, it is simply a question of whether or not the device manufacturer created a 64 bit driver for the device.  For instance, I had an old Canon printer that I dearly loved when I got my first 64 bit machine, and the printer simply wouldn’t communicate with the computer.  When I followed the steps that I’m going to show you below, I discovered that the printer was so old that there was no 64 bit driver for it, and, according to Canon, there would never be.  The printer was just so old that looking for an updated driver for it was a little like looking for a VHS/Blu-Ray combo player.  If it’s the same case with your webcams, then your best bet is to post them on Ebay with a note that they are NOT 64 bit compatible and buy a new one.

However…

The first thing that you’ll want to do is to try to find the drivers through your device manager.  The easiest way to do this is by clicking on the Windows icon in the lower left of the screen and entering the phrase “Device manager” in the search box.


Click on the entry under “Control Panel” and that will open your device manager.  Your webcam will be listed under “Imaging Devices”.

Right-click on your webcam and click “Update Driver Software”.  If there is a 64 bit driver available, it should update automatically, then you’re good to go.  If it doesn’t, then you’re probably out of luck.  You can, however, do a Google search for your webcam model number along with the phrase “64 bit driver”.  This may yield results where the automatic updated didn’t.  If it does, then go download the driver and run your webcams.

But bear in mind that there are worse things than buying a new webcam.  Modern webcams blow the old webcams out of the water as far as performance and quality go, and they’re significantly less expensive.  For instance, for the money that I spent on my Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000 several years ago, I can now buy a Logitech webcam with a five megapixel still camera and HD streaming.

Good luck with your search and I hope that this helps.

~Randal Schaffer


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