How to Install a USB PC Camera

by Maxwell Payne

Installing a USB PC camera allows PC users to take photos of themselves at the computer. If the camera is also video enabled, users can record and transmit live video of themselves through programs such as AOL Instant Messenger. As the name suggests, a USB PC camera is used by connecting the camera to an available USB slot on the PC. In addition to connecting the camera, proper placement of the camera is also important for taking quality pictures and video.

Purchase a USB PC camera from a computer store, electronics store or online. The prices of online cameras have dropped considerably since their introduction. As of June 2009, a good-quality PC camera with video capabilities can generally be purchased for under $25 dollars with many costing less than $15 dollars. See the References section for a link to various USB PC cameras and prices.

Turn on the PC and connect the camera's USB cable, which is attached to the camera, to an available USB port on the computer. The PC should automatically detect the new USB device.

Insert the driver CD that came with the USB PC camera if one came with the camera. You may be prompted on your computer screen to insert the CD. Windows may also attempt to automatically locate available drivers. USB PC cameras requiring specific drivers will come with the driver CD.

Complete the driver installation. You may need to restart your computer after the installation.

Position your USB PC camera. Some USB PC cameras come with a clip or mounting piece that allows the camera to clip to the top of the computer screen. The top center of the computer screen is an ideal location for a PC camera, with the camera angled slightly downward. If you have a flat-screen monitor, a clip-on USB PC camera is ideal. A full-size regular monitor has a flat top that can hold a variety of cameras. There are also USB cameras that come on small stands to place next to the computer. (A few can be viewed at the link in the References section.)


  • check Test your USB camera by opening programs that can utilize a camera, such as iChat, and AOL Instant Messenger.

Items you will need


About the Author

Maxwell Payne has been a freelance writer since 2007. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in integrated science, business and technology.

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