Microsoft is facing a torrent of backlash from consumers and businesses complaining that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update has broken some third-party USB cameras. The update, released on August 2nd, reportedly dropped support for two major video compression formats — specifically the H.264 and MJPEG codecs. According to Microsoft-focused blog Thurrott.com, this was supposedly a decision the company made to prevent performance issues now that certain Windows apps have more direct webcam access post-update.
Now, millions of Windows users are discovering that their webcams are freezing up, even when trying to stream via Microsoft-owned Skype. The issue is said to affect many popular webcams from big-name peripheral makers like Logitech on the hardware side, while numerous apps and services that rely on the codecs are being crippled from the software side.
Microsoft's Windows 10 update is causing popular webcams to freeze up
Microsoft issued a vague statement to Gizmodo, claiming Windows 10 has the "highest customer satisfaction of any version of Windows." The statement does concede, however, that the Anniversary Update has caused some issues. "We have seen a small number of reports of unexpected behaviors following the Windows 10 Anniversary Update," it reads. "Engineering and customer support are investigating these on a case by case basis and offering trouble-shooting tips as necessary."
Members of Microsoft’s Windows Camera team are performing damage control in support threads, and Thurrott.com reports an official fix may be in the works for a September release. Unfortunately, that may only remedy the MJPEG format. Those who rely on H.264 may be waiting even longer to make use of their webcams. If you recently installed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you can revert to the prior version of the software within 10 days.
For the more technical-minded users out there, Thurrott.com contributor Rafael Rivera devised a workaround that appears to be resolving the webcam freezing issues so long as you're okay with making changes to the Windows Registry:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform, add DWORD "EnableFrameServerMode" and set to 0. #webcamgate— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) August 19, 2016