Anniversary Update Breaks Millions of Webcams


webcam-featureAbout 2 weeks ago DCT’s Forum Moderator Daniel reported that after installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update his USB webcam was no longer working properly. At the time we passed it off as some sort of minor glitch, a driver problem maybe, and thought no more about it. However, it now comes to light that this issue is widespread, possibly affecting millions of users worldwide.

So, if your USB webcam is no longer functioning properly after installing the Anniversary Update, you are certainly not alone. The good news is that Microsoft will be releasing a fix, hopefully some time in September.

The problem is caused by a feature of the Anniversary Update whereby Windows no longer allows USB webcams to use the common MJPEG or H264 compressed streams and is only allowing YUY2 encoding. The change was made because of the inclusion of new scenarios for applications to access the webcam which, if using MJPEG or H264, could have resulted in a duplication of the encoding stream causing poor performance. So Microsoft decided to limit the input methods to prevent this from happening.

fail-sign

Of course, as seems to be the norm these days, Microsoft failed to take into consideration that this change could also potentially cause problems whenever a USB webcam tries to use MJPEG or H264. As it turns out, a wide variety of webcams have been impacted, including common Logitech models, with lots of unhappy users reporting issues when trying to run webcam enabled applications, such as the popular Skype.

What I don’t understand is why this wasn’t all picked up via the Windows Insider program. It’s always been my understanding that the Insider program was specifically introduced as an early warning system to help prevent exactly this type of widespread issue in the first place. Major fail!


A FIX

Rafael Rivera, associate of Paul Thurrott, has tweeted a registry fix for this issue:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform, add DWORD “EnableFrameServerMode” and set to 0,

*Please note: this fix has not been verified by DCT and users make any registry changes at their own risk.

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

10 Comments

  1. Thank you Jim for writing this article for DCT readers. While the issue is just an annoyance for W10 the software runs fine in W7, which is where I will use the software until Microsoft releases a fix. I have no idea if the registry hack will work, so I personally will wait on the fix.
    In my opinion, and I know what can be said about opinions, the real issue is Microsoft’s policy of forced updates. That being said W10 was still a good bargain. Daniel.

  2. It probably was not picked up because most have built in webcams these days and not external USB webcams, I am an insider, my webcam is built in and I have no problems with it at all.

    Most if not all new systems sold within the past few years come with built in webcams, the external USB type is going by the way of the Dodo Bird.

    • most have built in webcams these days and not external USB webcams

      1) 350 million devices currently running Windows 10
      2) 41% of those devices are desktops.

      That equates to roughly 140 million desktops currently running Windows 10. Excluding those users who are lucky enough to own a modern monitor with built-in webcam, the vast majority of the 140 million using a webcam would be relying on external USB.

  3. Like I said Jim, like the floppy disk the usb web cams are falling by the way side, I don’t care how many “millions” of potential users there are, how many ACTUAL users are there?

    Everything today is either built in hardware or wireless, I have 3 old style USB 2.0 webcams that I cannot give away.

    This is the same reason why when Redstone 1 and TH 1 when tested is fine but after their release there are so many things wrong, most insiders are running these OS’s on modern equipment then after released there are those that are trying to install these OS’s on outdated machines, then everyone gets pissed because Microsoft can’t get the updates out fast enough. Well no one is trying to tell you to install Windows 10 on a 10 year old computer that has outdated hardware and outdated drivers, this is why Windows is not working properly for you.

    If one cannot keep up with technology then don’t get mad when you stuff doesn’t work properly, either that or sit up on the porch and watch the others go by until Microsoft gets around to fixing it.

    So was the webcam thing a fubar? maybe but can you blame them? it’s old technology that was simply overlooked. So I would chill, it’ll get fixed, all in it’s due time just like all the other old technology that was overlooked.

    • Unfortunately Edward, there are no definitive statistics available on actual USB webcam users. All we can do is look at the potential and extrapolate feasible numbers based on logic.

      This issue has nothing to do with “older” technology and everything to do with compressed and uncompressed video formats.

  4. “It’s always been my understanding that the Insider program was specifically introduced as an early warning system to help prevent exactly this type of widespread issue in the first place. Major fail!”

    Your right, but the insider program is not here to catch problems with outdated hardware.

    We can’t catch EVERYTHING Jim, it’s virtually impossible.

    My advice, update or upgrade your current systems and your problems will be significantly less.

    • We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one Edward. I’ll leave you with a quote from Peter Bright (programming and software developer):

      The Logitech C920 plus Skype combination is extremely common. The C920 and closely related C930e webcams are the best external cameras available for Windows systems, and they’re the cameras of choice of many online streamers. That the problems when using this pairing should go essentially undetected suggests that the Insider program is nowhere near as thorough as it needs to be.

  5. We can’t catch EVERYTHING Jim, it’s virtually impossible

    I would sure be interested in whom “WE” is? Are You in anyway a Spokesman for Microsoft? By the way, in your humble opinion I may be running old outdated hardware but being able to run W10 isn’t an issue, but dealing with Microsoft’s crappy forced updates is. The piece of hardware in question was a Logitech C270 USB webcam, but by your definition that would fall into the junk category. I could really care less for all your “MODERN TECHNOLOGY”.
    Have a good day Mr Edward.

  6. It appears to be not only USB web cams, but also sound and illuminated keyboards that have also disappeared.

    I recently updated my daughters 4 yr old laptop from W7 to W10 and that’s when the fun began. She lost all sound and keyboard illumination and despite everything I have tried since including reinstalling drivers etc nothing seems to have worked.

    Lots of other people are having the same issue and there appears to be no real solution from Microsoft so far.

    I did a recovery of her laptop last night in the hope that it would fix those issue but alas no, now I have to reinstall all of her programs and apps again.

    Not happy Jan!

    Cheers,
    John

  7. There are billions of people on this planet using computers in their homes, some are still using Win XP, more are using Win 7,8, & 8.1 and a great deal of people are ordinary folk on a basic income. For many, many years back in time products were manufactured, sold and were used until they were old and worn out because unless a product was ‘broke, it didn’t need fixing’ or replacing.
    We now have a generation of wealthy Edwards who want to buy ‘the latest and greatest’ when their existing products are not broken, discarded and added to the mountains of ‘thrown-away’ products which are helping to destroy our environment.
    I totally disagree that if I purchase Windows 10, Microsoft do not have the right to update the product which causes my existing equipment to malfunction…..if the web cam configuration is changed to suit only Microsoft then Microsoft can supply me with a new, free web cam.