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How to identify your webcam (and then find its driver)

How to identify your CIF single chip webcam (and then find its driver)

[CENTER]How to identify your CIF single chip web cam (and then find its driver!)[/CENTER]

Even if you’ve lost your web cam’s installation CD, all product info, and have no clue “who the heck” even manufactured it you can still identify it! Actually, to phrase it more accurately, "you can let Windows identify it"!!!

Windows doesn’t need drivers to detect Plug and Play hardware (like a web cam) and determine its Device Identification strings
Windows Device Identification strings look rather cryptic (for example,USB\VID_A&PID_\5&B&0&1) but these strings are fundamental to Windows Plug-and-Play and how Windows figures out which drivers work with what devices in the first place! &#;

This guide describes how to identify the Hardware IDs for a USB web cam, then try and find a driver that matches the Hardware ID. The driver must also be compatible with the version of Windows you're running. Note that older cams may not have drivers that work with newer versions of Windows. (For example, an older web cam may only have XP compatible drivers.) But you won't know unless you first try and look!

Update: In addition to the manual search method described below, here's two FREE driver finder tools you can also try that may help find your driver. Connect your cam before you run the tool.
P.S. Note these tools may also find driver updates for devices other then your webcam. I advise&#;
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" Don't install every driver update just because it finds one.
  • Only install driver updates for devices that aren't working or you think need them.
  • Create a System Restore point before installing new drivers.
// End Update

1. Connect your web cam
  • Attach all power cords (e.g. laptop and/or web cam).
  • Plug your USB cam directly into your computer (do not use any external USB hubs). Turn your cam on
  • As long as your web cam and computer hardware are working, Windows should detect it!
2. Open Device Manager
  • For Vista
    => Click Control Panel. If you have Control Panel Classic View, click Device Manager
    => Click Control Panel. If you have Control Panel Home View, click System and Maintenance->Device Manager
  • For XP
    => Click Control Panel->System, then Hardware tab, then Device Manager button
3. Find your web cam in Device Manager
  • Understanding Device Names
    => Windows provides user-friendly device names to accommodate us humans. As far as Windows is concerned, the device name is simply a comment!
    => It's those cryptic Device Identification strings that really identify a device
    ==> If Windows finds NO device driver, your web cam may be named “Unknown” or "Other" device
    ==> If Windows finds the WRONG device driver you may see your web cam with the WRONG device name
  • How to find your web cam
    => While your web cam is connected, look through all of Device Manager for devices with a yellow icon (probably a yellow question mark)
    => Be certain to expand the USB category to check all devices listed under it. Also, be sure to also check if category Other Devices appears in Device Manager and look under it as well
    => Your web cam will appear as a device with a yellow icon (probably a question mark)
    => Click on the thumbnail below to see the full sized image
  • How to verify the device you found is your web cam
    => Your web cam device will only appear in Device Manager when the web cam is powered on and connected
    => Disconnect your web cam. Verify the device you had found is no longer displayed in Device Manager
4. Find your web cam's Hardware Ids
  • In Device Manager, select your web cam device, rt click Properties. Click Details tab
  • Select Hardware Ids from the pull-down. You'll see a list of one or more Hardware Id strings
5. Search for a driver based on Hardware Id
Avoid a common mistake, don't confuse the number zero with the letter "O". IDs often contain the number zero but NEVER the letter "O"&#;
The best driver will match the Hardware Id at the top of the list. The next best driver match will match the next Hardware Id on the list, etc&#;
  • Start by searching for the Id at the top of the Hardware Id list
  • For example, based on the Hardware IDs shown in the example below
    > First, search for the ID at the top of the list. In this example USB\Vid_c&Pid_d&Rev_
    > Then try the other IDs in the list. In this example USB\Vid_c&Pid_d
    > TIP: Don't confuse the letter "O" with the number zero. The ID includes the number zero but IDs NEVER include the letter "O"
  • For more help on how to search for a driver using the webcam's Hardware IDs [post=]see this post[/post]
Two final notes:
1) If you should find your driver elsewhere please update our "CIF Single Chip driver for webcam" thread and post your Hardware Id and the matching driver file info so others might also benefit on their next Search&#;

Two More Notes! (added 1/4/10)
  1. Vista and Windows 7 drivers
    • Vista and Windows 7 impose new requirements on device drivers that XP did not (e.g. they must be "digitally signed")
    • Vendors of webcams that work in XP didn't always invest the time/$$ to create Vista (let alone Win 7) drivers for their product
    • If you have an older webcam, it's possible you may only find drivers for XP. Not Vista or Windows 7
  2. Getting free drivers from Driver Guide
    If your search happens to take you to the Driver Guide website, you can download the driver for free (you don't need to become a member)
    > Click the Download tab
    > Choose option: Download this file by viewing a series of ads then click Continue
    > For each ad, just click the No Thanks link (it will appear in lower right corner of each ad) to get to the download
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