back to article Windows 10 Anniversary Update completely borks USB webcams. Yay.

Microsoft says a fix is on the way for a video encoding issue in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that has left people unable to access their USB webcams and applications. Multiple peeps and developers have reported issues with their cameras or software not working following the installation of the Windows 10 Anniversary …


  1. vir Silver badge

    "We worked with partners to make sure their applications continued to function throughout this change, but we have done a poor job communicating this change out to you guys."

    What do you mean, "you people"?

    1. Cirdan


      My webcam is still working...

      Just trolling :-P


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yay!

        So are mine - I use Linux and OSX..

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

          Re: Yay!

          I'd have to remove the black tape over mine to see if it is affected.


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Re: Yay!

        They're all still working really. We just broke the external api so you'd think they're not working.

        God damn we're smart.

        --tEH nsa

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "What do you mean, "you people"?"

      I think the work "little" got lost somewhere.

    3. TVU Silver badge

      "We worked with partners to make sure their applications..."

      That's all very well, dear Redmond, but you should have done two things first:

      a) consult and inform the relevant device manufacturers well in advance so that they could have made the necessary software changes;

      b) thoroughly test this aspect in advance before releasing it into the wild but that requires quality control testers whom, I am led to believe, have pretty much all been sacked.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "We worked with partners to make sure their applications..."

        c) if you have software which is pulling in a YUV stream and redoing it as H.264 or MJPEG, then make an interface available that looks like a virtual webcam so you don't break legacy software.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: "We worked with partners to make sure their applications..."

        > That's all very well, dear Redmond, but you should have done two things first:

        Actually 3 - MS' own application for VC (Skype) is one of those affected. Maybe they should arrange a left-hand, right-hand dating day?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We worked with partners to make sure their applications..."

        I feel it would be remiss of me to not correct you regarding the the "quality control testers" you refer to in point b of your post.

        Microsoft point out that they have millions of such testers who are independent of Microsoft and (in this case alone) do not receive any payment or funding from Microsoft so they are very impartial and not financially swayed. In fact quite the opposite is true, these people actually pay handsomely to Microsoft so that they may have the privilege of being involved in testing.

        Microsoft do not disclose what title or position they class these testers as but I do believe that companies elsewhere refer to them as "customers" ;-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 10 = Windows Vista

      Yet another Microsoft fail.

      1. Down not across

        Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista

        Dunno, Win 10 is starting to make Vista look quite good in comparison.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista

          "Dunno, Win 10 is starting to make Vista look quite good in comparison."

          Win 10 makes Win 3.1 and DOS 5 look good from many standpoints in comparison.

        2. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista

          Vista is quite good (now). The very popular Windows 7 is closely related to Vista, and it hasn't held it back a bit.

          Vista was perceived as bloated and slow when it came out. Some of this was because Microsoft gave in to Intel's demands that PCs using its 915 chipset be certified for Vista, even though they were really not up to the task. MS created the "Vista capable" moniker for them, which meant it would run Vista, but it wouldn't be optimal (the optimal experience got a 'puter the "Vista Ready" label).

          As could be expected, people didn't know the difference, and they came to associate the poor performance of Vista on "capable" machines with Vista itself. In addition, the early drivers for Vista were far from optimized, and that just made everything that much slower.

          The Aero interface, now one of the things that people are begging MS to bring back, was seen then as useless eye candy that contributed to the slowness and bloat of Vista. On a machine that had the chops to run Aero, it was great (and many users of such machines liked it), but lower-end or older PCs were simply not powerful enough (particularly in the graphics acceleration department).

          Not all of the complaints were without merit. In a series of well-publicized articles in computer magazines, Vista was beaten soundly by Windows XP in things like file copying-- even on the more powerful machines.

          Over time, hardware caught up with Vista, and the drivers evolved to be faster and leaner, as did the OS itself. By the time 7 arrived, just about any new PC you could pick up at Best Buy would be able to run Aero without issue, and the complaints about Vista being slow and bloated began to fade. I really don't know if the file copy issues as such ever were resolved, or if the hardware just got speedy enough to make OS differences less important.

          I'd much rather run Vista today than 10, though Vista's cut-off date is near. Vista had a rocky start, but it matured nicely as the problems that made it unpopular were solved over time.

          Windows 10 is disliked for completely different reasons than Vista was. Win 10 is not slow and bloated-- by all accounts, it seems to be a bit faster than 7 on average (it was a little bit faster for me, but nothing to write home about). What ails 10 is intentional... the "features" baked into the OS are what people don't like. By contrast, Vista was never meant to be slow and bloated. Those were not core features... they were flaws that MS would have loved to get rid of (and for the most part, they did, in time). Vista wasn't crappy by design; 10 is.

          1. Ropewash

            Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista

            Grove giveth and Gates taketh away.

            Such was Vista. A victim mostly of it's own marketing department. The devs had to drop most of the planned features and re-write the system to get something to market since XP had been going on too long for corporate liking. The marketing folks hyped the shit out of it (Vista Wow). When it was released it was un-finished with bad drivers and crap performance on the hardware of the day. This popped the marketing bubble and the resulting implosion did far more damage to Vista than it deserved.

            Windows 7 IS the patched copy of Vista that should have been it's actual release candidate if time hadn't been such a factor for Microsoft.

            Win10, as you say, has it's own core issues, but it also suffers from the marketing push it's been so ruthlessly given. Forced GWX installs, pop-up ad windows practically yelling at people to upgrade, all the sorts of things that either alienate your consumers through the perception of desperation (WinX Wow), or drive their expectations so high that failing to live up to them is almost inevitable.

            Then they release a system riddled with spyware in the era of NSA concerns, and furthermore break it regularily with badly planned update roll-outs. Another bursting of the marketing bubble though maybe this system deserves it more than Vista did. (at least Vista wasn't spying on anyone)

            Personally I think they should have doubled the size of the QA department instead of sacking them all and instead should have scorched the marketing department to the bedrock and focused on the development of a quality OS that would have stood up on it own merits.

            But I'm not a businessman or a tech... I cut metal. Maybe they know things I don't.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista

              "Maybe they know things I don't."

              They know how to screw people for profit, and now they think they have the means to do it.

              They will wake up to the real world one day, though.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista

            Make no mistake. Vista _was_ bloated, but it was the last of the major bloatware.

            Up to that point MS was working on the basis that memory and cpu power would always increase so there was zero need to optimise anything. It was the rise of netbooks which torpedoed this strategy as Vista either wouldn't install on them or was so painfully slow noone would put up with it (2Gb was the practical minimum for XP once AV software is loaded and you want to run Office apps, 4Gb for Vista)

            Win7 is primarily a result of putting Vista on a diet. It'll run in 2Gb (or less) like XP would and performed tolerably on netbooks (it even runs passably on a 768MB Tosh Satellite I keep around). At the same time MS took the paring knife to Office and its memory/cpu/gpu footprint was improved too.

            As pointed out, i915 should never have been certified for Vista, but for that matter the i945 and the 3xx/4xx ranges were abysmal on it too thanks to their anaemic GPUs.

            Win8 and 10 have pretty good memory/CPU footprints. That lesson has been learned. It helps that CPU core speeds haven't increased noticeably and nor have core counts on desktops, so MS can't use Moore's law as a software strategy anymore. The primary criticism is the awful tiles-based portable-use oriented desktop - which can be thrown out. They're also fairly reasonable on their GPU requirements, to the point that if you can run Win7 then Win10 is usually a better performer. That said: 3rd party software has continued to bloat.

            It's almost as if MS has taken a leaf from IBM's playbook back in OS/2 days where they only let developers have the kinds of machines endusers would be using rather than the latest/greatest stuffed with infinite ram and top end CPUs. There's still a lot to criticise about Windows (and it's still slower than Linux on the same hardware) but the UI performance is fairly good.

            The demise of Surface tablets and Windows phones may remove the handbrake from bloat though. Having to ensure stuff worked in those environments was beneficial for the rest of the software.

      2. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista


        Windows 10 = Windows Vista Plus

  2. razorfishsl

    More interestingly... this was planned behaviour, so the question is , what exactly is M$ upto?

    More DRM by the back door?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, having the OS do the decoding of the video stream on behalf of the multiple applications likely using it to me sounds like a good idea…

      …If the applications using the stream are in fact doing the decode themselves.

      They assumed this was the case. If an application is simply pumping the video stream elsewhere though, why would it bother decoding it? It may well be expecting an encoded stream, and yes, when you upset the status quo, applications crash.

      I'm not certain that DRM had anything to do with it, or that not doing this would necessarily have any effect on DRM implementation. Let's face it, unless you run a different OS, they've got root.

      1. Roo

        "Well, having the OS do the decoding of the video stream on behalf of the multiple applications likely using it to me sounds like a good idea…"

        I sincerely hope MS isn't doing the decoding in the kernel. They are still shipping fixes for kernel rendering code vulns they introduced with NT 4.0 (20 years ago). :(

      2. MrXavia

        "If an application is simply pumping the video stream elsewhere though, why would it bother decoding it?"

        Exactly my thoughts, shows that MS don't think....

    2. getHandle

      Multiple steam...

      Makes sense if the NSA are already decoding your webcam steam!

      1. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: Multiple steam...

        "when a PC is running multiple applications that request access to the same webcam."

        The user's program. the NSA, GCHQ, Microsoft, several hackers, various viruses, your child's school ...

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Multiple steam...

        'Webcam steam' means it's running way too hot.

        1. Phil W

          Re: Multiple steam...

          Steamy webcams has always meant something very different to me.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isnt it obvious, they want all cams using mjpeg raw so as it encodes it can also steam back cough encoding telemetry to base, if you not doing the encoding you cant steal a single frame so easy as its video streamed data and made up from the frames before it (unless its a key frame) in x264. Raw on the other hand you could randomly select any frame you want and get a good still picture. Their fix will actually introduce more load (and more usb bus saturation) as it will have to rencode streams so they can be decoded to then be recoded again to make the broken software work. Its nothing to do with performance if you ask me, its all about being able to steal all the things.....

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "this was planned behaviour, so the question is , what exactly is M$ upto?"

      I can see where they're coming from. It's an attempt to lighten CPU load by avoiding having multiple pieces of software unpick a mpeg stream. The problem is that they didn't think it entirely through.

      I can see the point of not providing a virtual interface for legacy software (forces devs to adapt) but it breaks a shitload of old software.

      Like the rollout of XPsp2 firewalling, this is a good idea but was bound to cause disruption. They should have telegraphed it better.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > avoiding having multiple pieces of software unpick a mpeg stream.

        I can't think of any reason why _I_ would want multiple applications looking at the same camera. Maybe some want to feed their CCTV out to the web for others to view, but then that is one application because locally a browser could be used to view the same stream.

        If I were to be suspicious I might think that perhaps MS wants to load its own app to send the stream to its own sites, perhaps so that it can use face recognition to verify that a particular registered user is the one using the computer, if another person was at the keyboard then a second _per_user_ licence would be required for Windows, Office and Office365.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many more cock-ups before everyone switches to Linux?

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      In far too many cases, infinite.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      This parrot is dead!

      No it's not!

      1. Queeg

        Also my first thought...

        Beautiful plumage

        1. davidp231

          Re: Also my first thought...

          Perhaps it's pining for the fjords?

          1. Dead Parrot

            Re: Also my first thought...

            Alive and well and living with the penguins, actually... :)

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Also my first thought...

          Look, I took the liberty of examining that webcam when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on the laptop in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.

    3. TheTick

      My Virtualbox VM host and Teamspeak server will be migrated to Linux now. This update decided to ignore the "Notify to schedule restart option" and just went ahead and did it, dirtily shutting down the VM. It was at 3am so no real harm done but that's it for me, no need to have a Win 10 as a simple server host I'll knuckle down and put Linux on it one evening.

      Desktop may still be a bit further off due to the games I'm playing at the moment.

    4. kain preacher Silver badge

      Yes cause linux will run all of my games. And all of my apps. Oh and don't tell me I have to get new Apps.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        One word: Steam

        1. a_a

          Same here, if the games worked I'd move to Linux.

          1. nematoad Silver badge

            "Same here, if the games worked I'd move to Linux."

            It depends on what you want to run. The likes of Wine, PlayonLinux and Crossover do a pretty good job for a lot of games. Oh, might take a bit of fiddling with but there is a lot of advice and scripts to take care of most cases.

            Give it a go, you might like it and the sense of liberation from the MS mothership can be wonderful.

            1. Updraft102 Silver badge

              You could always set it up as dual-boot, so you keep your existing Windows and try Linux out at the same time. I'm on Linux Mint now, but I have 7 available too in case I want it. I have little hope of 10 being morphed into a reasonable OS by the time Windows 7 goes unsupported, so I am beginning the process of transitioning early, so I can do it at my leisure.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Well you can do both. I run games on windows (stereoscopic doesn't have a linux driver - thankyou nvidia not...) but by moving everything else to linux it means windows can be thinned down for gaming.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Oh and don't tell me I have to get new Apps."

        It sounds as if you have to if you want to run a webcam on W10.

        1. kain preacher Silver badge

          I don't want to run a web cam.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I don't want to run a web cam.

            Then what's the problem? Complaining about having to move to new applications because a feature you don't use is broken?

            The ones that might consider a move to another OS are probably ones that are suffering from said breakage and are fed up with what has been served to them from this vendor in the past.

      3. hplasm Silver badge

        Oh and don't tell me I have to get new Apps.

        Ok then.

        (Apps are for toys.)

      4. CompUser

        Try Linux Mint. I just used it to install Windows XP to VirtualBox and it ran quite well. I'll be trying Widnows 7 on VirtualBox next to see how that goes.

        I haven't tried large programs on it but office seemed to run well on it.

    5. CmdrX3

      Well let me see, we've had Win95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and 10+ Anniversary update... not including the other various ones before and between those mentioned. So generally speaking... I wouldn't hold your breath.

    6. Tchou

      Linux? Meh.

      Where the FreeBSD icon when you need it?


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