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Microsoft Has Broken Webcams With Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft Has Broken Webcams With Windows 10 Anniversary Update

On August 2nd, Microsoft began the slow release of the Anniversary Update for Windows 10, it brings New Features but unfortunately noticeable issues for some users, in particular, breaking webcams for millions of consumers. So if your webcam has stopped functioning since upgrading to the Anniversary Update, you are not alone, however there is some good news – a fix is coming, hopefully in September.

Microsoft made a significant change with the release of Windows 10 and support for webcams that is causing serious problems for both home consumers and business. The problem is that after installing the update, Windows no longer allows USB webcams to use MJPEG or H264 encoded streams and is only allowing YUY2 encoding.

Why did the company remove these options? Well, to put it simply, the Anniversary Update has new situations for applications to be able to access the webcam and the MJPEG or H264 encoding processes could result in duplication of encoding the stream – AKA causes poor performance, so Microsoft limited the input methods to stop this from happening.

Because of this change, which Microsoft tried to defend but then realized the impact this change has caused, means that when a webcam tries to use MJPEG or H264, the device will freeze. If you use Skype and your webcam freezes after about a minute, this is the reason.

This issue impacts a wide variety of webcams including the popular Logitech C920, that clients of ours use on a daily basis for Analysis in Health & Fitness.

In the support thread, customers are stating how Skype is freezing but more concerning are comments such as this:

We have a working product running for years and millions of unhappy users that are unable to use it at all after this update

and another user states:

We have millions of users and we are in situation now where we have to tell them not to update the Windows anymore or switch to Mac OS.

These are clearly business customers who have customer machines running the Anniversary Update that has broken their product who are now scrambling to resolve these issues.

Mike M, an engineer on the Windows Camera team has been commenting in the support thread where the complaints are stacking up and says that a fix is in the pipeline for hopefully a September release. That’s the good news, however there is no “Official” temporary fix, this means that if you haven’t noticed this issue within 10 days of updating, then it occurs, you miss out on the Reverting Feature since Microsoft have changed major upgrades to a 10 day revert cycle rather than the old 30 days people had when moving to Windows 10 for the first time, which means you are stuck on the Anniversary build.

BUT, hope is here. An Engineer named Rafael Rivera has a workaround that may just help you until the proper fix.

DISCLOSURE: Messing with the Registry is a very dangerous idea if you do not know what you are doing. We suggest getting a Professional to help you if you dont have the experience. We can certainly help you, so contact us for assistance.

It is very unfortunate that Microsoft are struggling to release stable updates because without the issues, Microsoft have been nailing it. Windows 10 is Feature Rich, has nice clean User Interface and fantastic Performance. After one year, major polish-ups should not be present anymore.

We also would like to note that despite Microsoft being the ones who changed it, 3rd Party Manufacturers would have likely had access to this knowledge and could have easily helped out with tests. Not only that, but both them and Software Developers also have access to the “Insider Program” of which allows them early access to updates before the public. The blame game can be played but a call for more unity would be more beneficial for all.

Comment & Share below.

Has the Windows 10 Anniversary Update affected you?

Update 01/11/16:

Microsoft have sent Windows Updates throughout September to solve the current issues with Webcams.

Please get the latest Updates via Windows Update and check to see if it has solved your issues.

Let us know if you still have issues after the updates.