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Voip > Articles > Setting Up Your Webcam for Voip Video Chats

Setting Up Your Webcam for Voip Video Chats

By Emma Watts, Staff Writer voip.com

Published:September 11, 2006

Webcams, like so many other computer peripherals, have come a long way since the early days of personal computing. You no longer have to wear a pocket protector to set up devices like printers or webcams.

Once you've purchased the webcam that works best for your situation, you'll need to install it on your computer before you can use it. First things first—unpack the webcam, make sure there's nothing missing from the box, and get comfortable while you READ THE MANUAL. A necessary evil, to be sure, but it can save you countless hours of hair-rending frustration. Modern day user manuals are written to be read without a secret decoder ring. They have clear, easy to digest steps and lots of pictures for visual learners. Once again, read your manual. You'll thank yourself, later.

When you're ready to get started, put the CD that came with your webcam into your computer's CD-ROM drive. It should automatically trigger the Installation process. If for some reason that doesn't happen, you can try one of three things:

• Double-click the CD icon that may have popped up on your desktop.

• Navigate to your CD-ROM drive, find the Setup.exe file and double-click it.

• Click Start, then Run, and type D:\Setup.exe into the window that comes up.

Then press Enter. If your CD drive is labeled something other than D, you'll need to type that name, instead of D.

Once Installation has launched, follow the screen prompts to complete the process.

Part of setting up a piece of hardware, like a webcam, involves installing drivers that allow your webcam to communicate with the computer. Drivers included on the CD may not be the most current versions. If you have the option to check for updated drivers during the setup process, take it. Otherwise, go to the camera manufacturer's website to find and download the most recent drivers available. While the program is loading you can mount your webcam on the monitor or desktop.

When prompted, connect your camera to the computer using the cable that came with it. Most likely, you'll be using a USB cable. Check to make sure that the port you're trying to plug the camera into can support the device's USB version. For instance, USB 1.0 ports and USB 2.0 devices may not always work well. If your device is more advanced than your computer's USB ports, the camera may have some backwards compatibility built in. Read the manual if you're unsure.

When installation is complete, your camera should be ready to use. Take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with the software program used to control your webcam. You might want to run through the Get Started tutorials before going any further. When you're comfortable, use the software to check that your target spot is nicely framed; see if the lighting is good enough; verify that your microphone is working; and adjust color, brightness, and contrast.

The last piece of your video chat puzzle is downloading and installing any of the many free IM/videoconferencing programs, like those offered by SightSpeed, GoogleTalk, or Skype. Setup usually takes no more than a few minutes. Now you're ready to make virtual visits anywhere in the world, so jump in and get your voip VideoChat on!