A flashing webcam light gives a confusing signal. It could be either:
- A warning signal telling you that something is wrong, or;
- A sign that footage is being recorded/a video link is being transmitted/images are being taken
- A notification telling you that your webcam is switched on and in good working order
To get to the bottom of your blinking light, follow the steps below:
- Un-install and re-install the webcam software. This software helps your computer talk to the webcam - it is the program responsible for operating the camera. The goal is to find out if an error occurred during the software installation process, and by downloading the software again from scratch, you are getting rid of any bugs.
- Run a virus scan on your PC - although it's unlikely, a flashing webcam light could be a sign that there is a threat to your PC. Make sure that your anti-virus software is up-to-date.
- Check the charge on your laptop, or the power supply to your desktop computer; a flashing webcam light could be a sign that your computer is about to suffer from a power failure/ has a low battery life.
- A flashing light could indicate a connection problem. Take a look at the cables linking your camera to your PC and make sure that there is no faulty wiring connection to blame.
- Are you trying to record something? A flashing light could be a sign that your camera is currently recording or it's about to start recording.
- Ask the individual on the other end of the webcam if they are experiencing problems - a blinking light could be a sign that the webcam cannot link to another PC online.
- Is the flashing light a power light to indicate that your webcam is on? Try disconnecting the hardware or switching the camera off at the switch.
- What sort of conditions are you trying to film in? If you are working in a dark room with poor lighting conditions then the camera may have poor visibility and is warning you of this fact.
- The camera may still be recording: to bring the recording to an end, go into the webcam software and manually disable the recording function.
- Investigate the webcam hardware for obvious faults. Is the light bulb cracked? Is there damage to the USB attachment? Try rebooting (switching on and off) the camera device itself.
- Re-boot the PC; if the webcam is a new addition your PC may need to re-boot to recognise the new hardware.
- Power off any background programmes (e.g. Skype) which may be automatically activating your webcam.
- Change the camera's default settings. To do this, go to your Start menu and type Device Manager in to the search box provided. When the Device Manager appears, find the webcam icon, right-click on it and go into the settings section. Check for any sign that the webcam has been pre-set to come on immediately when you boot your PC; disable this option.
If you're particularly worried about security, remove the webcam completely until you can take it back to the manufacturer / cover it with a cloth.