There could be many reasons you’d want to disable your webcam wether you’re on a laptop, PC or Mac. With cyber security being such a hot topic, knowing how to turn off your webcam is vital for your peace of mind. We’re going to show you how to disable your webcam in Windows 10 and Windows 7 too.
If you're concerned about your security on the internet then take a look at our guide on how to keep yourself safe online.
How to disable your webcam in Windows 10 and Windows 7
If you don’t use your webcam very often then a good option is to disable it entirely through the Windows Device Manager. To do this go to the Start Menu and search for device manager, then select the option that relates to Control Panel.
In the menu that appears you’ll find a heading for Imaging Device, click on this and you should see your integrated webcam listed. To disable it right-click and then you can select the Disable option, or for a more thorough solution click on Uninstall.
While this is a decent fix, it should be noted that hackers with the right kind of remote access could potentially re-enable the webcam. It would take more work than your casual peeping Tom is likely to bother with, but it’s not a cast iron solution. Also, if you do want to use your webcam you’ll have to install drivers and reverse the process above, which isn’t exactly practical. If this is the case then you might want to consider the next option.
How to disable your webcam using Parallels Toolbox
If you’re looking for a more intuitive and user-friendly solution to disabling your webcam then Parallels Toolbox can provide this in a much more accessible way for both PC and Mac.
This software comes with a whole host of features to make your life easier, disabling and enabling your webcam can be done in a few clicks.
Simply open up the software from your task bar at the bottom, click on the camera pane at the very top of the window that appears, and then click ‘block camera’ from the drop down menu.
This process can be seen below.
This particular feature comes as part of the Disk and System pack which contains a whole host of other features to help speed up your computers operation, while also bringing the features of your computer closer to your fingertips.
How to disable your webcam: Covering the camera
As clever as some software can be these days, there’s not much that can be done about a lens that can’t actually see anything. That’s why some of the most senior people in the digital world, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the current head of the FBI, use the high-tech solution of shoving a bit of tape over the cameras on their laptops.
The advantage of this option is that you can remove the tape whenever you want to use the camera, and know that when it’s replaced your privacy is ensured. Of course you don’t want to use strong adhesive types like gaffer or packing tape as that could mark your machine, but we’ve found that cutting the sticky end of a Post-It Note and placing it over the camera is an easy, cheap, and effective method. Electrical tape is another option, and with its wide range of colours and patterns you can even make an aesthetic feature out of your hacker defying decoration.
One additional thing to address is the microphone on your PC, as this is usually linked to the camera. If you’re unsure of its location Google the model of your laptop for a manual so that you can find the small opening, then cover that with tape as well to avoid any audio snooping.
How to disable your webcam: Unplugging the external webcam on your PC
If you use an external USB webcam then the solution is very simple indeed. When you’re not using the device just unplug it from your PC and that will remove any possibility of hackers watching your day to day activities.
Sadly there are a number of ways that scurrilous people can monitor you online, but at least with these solutions you can fight back against some of the easiest and possibly most compromising attacks that can be attempted on your privacy.