Tips: How to disable a webcam

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by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 10:01 AM

HOUSTON -- Whether you're concerned about someone spying on you by hacking into your computer's webcam or you want to make sure your children stay off of video chat websites, there are a few ways to disable your computer's webcam.

Obviously if you have an external webcam that attaches to the top of your computer's monitor, you can just unplug the USB cable and take it out of the room. But most laptops these days come with internal webcams that can't be unplugged.

Here are a few tips on how to disable these so they can't be used. (You can also watch the demo video above.)

NOTE -- these instructions may vary slightly depending on the version of your operating system

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WINDOWS

1 -- Click the start button or Windows icon in the task bar in the lower left
2 -- Open the "Control Panel"
3 -- Open the "Device Manager" (if you don't see it, just use Windows search)
4 -- In the list that pops up, expand the "Imaging Devices" area
5 -- Right click on the webcam and click "Properties"
6 -- In the new window, click the "Driver" tab
7 -- Click the Disable button
8 -- Click okay and close out all the windows
9 -- To enable the webcam again, repeat this process but click "Enable" in step 7
10 -- To take it a step further, some parents may want to invest in software that locks in these settings (or use Windows User Account Control) so kids don't "wise up" and simply enable the webcam again on their own -- click here 

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MAC

1 -- You could use the control panel to disable the hardware, but on many Macbooks this will also disable other devices
2 -- Instead, go to the System folder on the hard drive and go into the Library folder.
3 -- Inside the Library folder, go to QuickTime
4 -- Locate "QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer.component" and delete this file (Or move it somewhere else -- if you delete it entirely, you won't be able to move it back to turn the camera back on)
5 -- Click here for more info on this process  

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out to Doug on Facebook (facebook.com/KHOUDougDelony) or Twitter (@DougDelonyKHOU)

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