Apparently the camera isn’t detected on my laptop. Great [sarcasm]. But it’s a built-in camera. So how did that happen and how do I fix it? Any advice would be much appreciated.
Install correct drivers or if its a hardware damage take it to the appropriate service center
If it is an HP (or Compaq) laptop, it could be the inherently bad design (mine broke on what was arguably the last day of warranty and they wouldn't fix it. (price to fix was quoted at about 60% of the original cost of the laptop.)
There are some videos on YouTube on how to get to the connector and push it back in, however, in most cases it is temporary at best.
If Oron's suggestion does not work, then you may want to go to your laptop's manufacturer support website and download the latest camera driver and/or camera software. Some brands do not list a driver or software that can be downloaded, so giving your laptop's model number (full model number) would allow us to try to find the drivers or software necessary. Otherwise, try to restore your computer to a previous state from a date where you knew the camera was working.
Sometimes Skype can cause issues, so try to uninstall it if you have it installed. Also, make sure you have the latest updates to Windows as this may help; or one of the updates may have corrupted some files that allow the camera to work. The latter would require restoring to a previous date from any recently installed updates.
This is usually (but not always) a driver issue. Run Device Manager, and look for the camera there (should be listed under "Sound, video and game controllers"). If it's shown with an explamation mark or a cross over the icon, there's definitely a problem there. First thing you could try is to revert to an earlier driver by double clicking on the item, clicking the /Driver tab and clicking [Roll back driver] if the option is available. Then restart the PC and see if the camera works. If the roll back option is not available, try [Update Driver] and let the computer search for an update automatically. If this fails too, go to the manufacturer's web site, download a fresh driver for the camera and install it.
If the camera is shown in the device manager as "This device is working properly", then the problem may be elsewhere (namely, in the application you're using for taking pictures, or in the camera configuration).
which laptop model? check your BIOS for webcam option and enable
Have you tried rebooting the laptop? If that doesn't work, you may need to reload the camera drivers and any camera software. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/all-drivers