Microsoft: Windows 10 Anniversary Update ‘Kills’ Millions Of Webcams, Leaving Them Inoperable

If you happen to be a Windows user who recently downloaded and installed the Anniversary Update for Windows 10, you might just want to check the webcam connected to your computer is still functional. According to several reports, the Windows 10 Anniversary update issued by Microsoft has left millions of third-party USB webcams inoperable across the globe. The Anniversary update was first released by Microsoft on August 2. However, it was only last week that the update was rolled out to a large set of users, following which many started to notice that their webcams had stopped working. The issue was first reported by Windows-oriented blog Thurrot, who revealed that the issue was very widespread and that millions of people could be affected by it.

Thurrot has since then explained the reason why all these webcams became inoperable and has also shared a temporary fix to resolve the issue until Microsoft issues another update that will official fix the problem. According to the blog, the issue has been caused by Microsoft’s decision to drop support for two major video compression formats — H.264 and MJPEG codecs — and stick to just one encoding format YUY2. This, according to experts, was done to prevent performance issues on Windows systems. However, Microsoft seems to have overlooked the “side effects” of dropping support for such major codecs and issued the update anyway — leading to a huge backlash.

After support for MJPEG and H.264 was dropped, whenever your webcam attempts to use this codec, the webcam application freezes. This issue affects most webcams out there. Many users across the globe have now been left with no way to use video-conference using Skype and other applications. Several people have complained about the issue on Microsoft support forums. Some of the posts on the forums include this one.

“We have a working product running for years and millions of unhappy users that are unable to use it at all after this update.”

Another user wrote the following.

“We have millions of users and we are in situation now where we have to tell them not to update the Windows anymore or switch to Mac OS.”

After the issue was widely reported, Microsoft gave a statement to popular tech blog Gizmodo.

“Windows 10 has the highest customer satisfaction of any version of Windows. We have seen a small number of reports of unexpected behaviors following the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Engineering and customer support are investigating these on a case by case basis and offering troubleshooting tips as necessary.”

Meanwhile, The Verge adds that the fix that Microsoft plans to issue in September may only fix cameras that use the MJPEG codec. Cameras that exclusively use the H.264 codec may not be functional for a longer period of time. In case you are totally dependent on your webcam and need it to work, you do have the option to revert to a previous version of Windows. You will, however, have to do it within 10 days since the Anniversary Update was installed. The fact that Microsoft is working on a fix has been revealed by engineer Chris M, who works in the Windows Camera team at Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Thurrot has revealed a temporary fix that could potentially solve the issue for several users. However, this is not recommended for novice users as it deals with making changes to the the Windows Registry. Thurrot tweeted about the fix as well.

Did you recently upgrade your Windows 10 computer to the latest Windows 10 anniversary update? If yes, let us know if you are facing any problems with your webcam. In case you have received a notification for the update and you happen to be a frequent webcam user, we suggest waiting until Microsoft issues a proper fix for this issue.

[Image via Pixabay]