Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fixing Issues with Microsoft LifeCam Studio on Windows 10

A recent Windows 10 update seemed to cause my Microsoft LifeCam Studio to start behaving badly. Actually it wasn't so much the webcam itself, which seemed to work fine, but when the video on the webcam was active the entire machine would start behaving extremely sluggishly, even though the CPU and RAM stats were both nominal.

To cite a specific symptomatic situation, if while on a Skype call I'd try to interact with another application such as Chrome or Slack, I'd click on the app and after a few second it would get focus. In the case of Slack, as I type the letters wouldn't appear for several seconds, and then would appear all at once, usually with a few dropped characters. With the video on the webcam disabled, none of this happened.

I dug around a bit and although some of the solutions I found were related to the general webcam issues related to the Windows 10 anniversary update (aka #webcamgate), my webcam wasn't freezing or refusing to work at all as some people were experiencing, but I figured it was close enough to experiment with some of the solutions that worked for people.

The one that did the trick for me I found as a note here, specifically this series of tweets.

Here's the step-by-step fix that resolved my issues:
  1. Open regedit (you knew this was coming)
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform
  3. Add a new DWORD with the name EnableFrameServerMode and a value of 0
  4. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform
  5. Add a new DWORD with the name EnableFrameServerMode and a value of 0
  6. Restart any applications that use your webcam, or reboot
With those registry keys in place my Surface Pro 4 is back to normal.

1 comment:

Matt Woodward said...

And nothing is without its tradeoffs -- this breaks Windows Hello.