How To Troubleshoot When Skype Has No Video [Windows]

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webcam2We all use certain productivity and communication tools that become an integral part of our everyday life. For me, one of those tools is Skype, and in 2005 when Skype 2.0 introduced the video calling feature, I was pretty excited. Of course, that excitement was short-lived until a year or two later when more of my friends started buying newer laptops and computers with built-in webcams. Today, just about everyone has a simple camera integrated into their computer or phone that they can use with Skype video conferencing.

Occasionally, a friend or colleague seems to have some difficulty configuring their video to work properly with the Skype software when there was no video stream displaying, so I’ve decided to put together a short list of some of the most common problems that cause Skype to have no video stream from either your webcam or from the person you’re calling.

Does Skype Have No Video? A Few Things To Check Out.

Before we get started, there are a few very simple reasons why Skype may have no video in your particular setup. Before you even start working through this guide to troubleshoot your problem, make sure that you’re not attempting to make the video call to a mobile phone or landline. Seems silly, I know, but I’ve seen cases where people think they can Skype call someone with a mobile phone because the phone has a camera – that’s not the case.

First, download the latest version of Skype for either Windows, Mac or Linux. This will ensure that you have the latest bug fixes and patches installed. For that matter, if you’re having a problem with the video stream from the person you’re trying to call, make sure they have the latest version of Skype as well!

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1. Check Your Drivers

While you may not think it’ll make a difference, the latest version of the driver for your particular webcam could include updates that handle some of the methods that Skype software uses to access your webcam video stream. In particular, if you’re having problems with Skype having no video, you’ll want to make sure that your device supports at least DirectShow 9.1 standard. Check with the manufacturer website of your webcam for the latest driver update, and of course doing a Windows update can’t hurt (usually).

Check your current driver version by going into the device manager. For most versions of Windows, that’s in the Control Panel (classic), System, and Device Manager.

skype no video

Hopefully, there’s no yellow exclamation mark on the webcam, because if so then your issue is a resource conflict with another device. Fixing that is beyond the scope of this article, but it would at least indicate your Skype no video problem. If things appear fine, then right-click on your webcam device and select “properties” and then click on the driver tab. Here, you can see the driver date, and if it’s fairly old (as mine is), you may want to click on “Update Driver” and search the Internet for the latest version.

Checking the Copyright under “Driver Details” will also provide you with the name of the company that wrote the software, so you can download the latest driver version yourself if you need to. You’ll also want to try downloading the latest version of DirectX as well (you’ll need at least version 9.0 for Skype video to work). Click on Run and in the command prompt type “dxdiag” to double check your DirectX version.

2. Make sure Skype is configured properly.

If updating your drivers don’t seem to fix your video problem in Skype, then it might be a good idea to just double check your Skype video settings to be sure that they’re set up properly. When you have Skype open, click on Tools and Options. You’ll find the video settings under either General or Calls.

skype no video

If you see a screen like the one above, then you know that’s the problem! Skype isn’t configured to recognize your installed webcam. The first thing to try is simply starting up the software that came with your webcam and using it to switch your webcam on (or if your webcam has a hardware switch, turn it on.) Once you make sure the cam is turned on you may have to restart Skype for it to recognize your active webcam.

skype no video

Go back into the preferences screen. Even though your webcam video is now displayed, don’t celebrate yet! Take a look at the two settings underneath your webcam video. If “Automatically receive video” is set to “no one,” it may be more difficult to receive the video stream from your friend. Change it to people in your contact list.

Also, under “Show that I have video to,” change it from no one to “people in my Contact list.” While these settings shouldn’t affect your ability to have a video chat, setting them to people in your Contact list can make initiating a video chat far easier. If you click on “Webcam settings,” you may see something off or disabled, but the odds are pretty good that the default settings here should all be okay.

3. Make Sure You Aren’t Hidden.

Once you start attempting another video chat with your friend, make sure that “Hide myself” or “Stop My Video” is not selected.

skype video not working

The option depends on the version of Skype you’re using, but either way if it’s accidentally selected, then obviously your video stream will be blank. If your friend’s stream is blank rather than yours, ask them to right click on their blank video window and check that setting. Yes, sometimes it’s that simple!

4. Make Sure Other Programs Aren’t Using Your Webcam.

If you’ve got to this point and you still can’t seem to get Skype to display any video streams, an easily overlooked item is whether there are already other applications running in the background that could be capturing the data stream from the webcam already. There are more applications today than ever before that now integrate the webcam, such as many of the most popular Instant Messengers and even the latest version of many Internet browsers.

If your webcam is one that’s enabled by software and the light was on even before you ran the webcam software to start it, or even before you started Skype, that could be a clear sign something is already running that’s using your webcam, and Skype won’t be able to. Try closing down all of your windows, especially any other IM and other Internet applications, and then restart Skype again.

If all else fails – it’s very possible that you (or your friend) could have an older webcam that just isn’t compatible with the Skype software. Skype actually has an entire section of its online marketplace set aside for Skype-compatible webcams. As a last resort, you might just want to replace your outdated cam with a new one that is guaranteed to work!

Have you ever had problems getting Skype to display video? Did any of the tips above help, or did you fix it using another approach? Share your own Skype video nightmare story in the comments section below.

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4 Comments - Write a Comment

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Jeremy Hague

Hi Ryan,

Great article. You may want to check VodBurner (www.vodburner.com) for Skype when it comes to recording Skype video calls. VodBurner is free and allows you to record and then edit your Skype video calls.

Check it out at http://www.vodburner.com and let me know what you think (Disclaimer: I am one of the cofounders of the company).

Thanks,

Jeremy Hague
The VodBurner Team
http://www.vodburner.com

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Elemental LED staff

Make sure the drivers are installed is rightly the number one on your list! This solves so many software problems.

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George

Skype 4.1 suddenly couldn’t show video, though it worked fine before (laptop built-in “USB2.0 UVC” webcam). It was giving me an “unknown error” in video settings, although it was listed. I checked the Device Manager – no problem, latest drivers, etc.

Updated to 4.2 & now it tells me “Your webcam isn’t supported by Skype” (which I suspect is just the 4.2 version of the same message).

How come it worked before but doesn’t work now? If it’s no longer supported then that’s for Skype to fix.

knut

I have the same problem as George above. I have a laptop with webcam USB2.0 UVC VGA WebCam.
It used to work. Now it doesn’t. And I don’t know what has caused the problem. In Skype, all I see is a black screen. In WMP11, I see nothing but black screen either, so it’s not a Skype specific problem.
I have Vista SP2.

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