In the age of spying and paranoia, many users often purchase computers with built-in webcams and microphones –often advertised as increasing the quality of video calling services like Skype, Facebook, Google Hangouts and others. Despite that, there is some concern about whether these gadgets can be subverted by malicious forces, and turned to spy on their own users.
You can easily disable your Windows PCs microphone and webcam, and turn them off so that malicious actors cannot turn on your hardware without your knowledge.
There’s no need for this for most people, in fact, using the Windows Settings app as we’ve detailed here, you can easily disable the webcam and microphone for apps you think are likely to be invasive (Read: Facebook). For most people, that ought to be enough. If you want to take it a bit further, you can take the following steps.
Disabling your microphone and webcam on your Windows PC
- Open the Device Manager app on your Windows PC.
- Under the listed devices, look out for “imaging devices” and “audio inputs and outputs”
- Under Audio inputs and outputs, select the driver for your microphone there. It would usually be called “Microphone” something or other as different manufacturers use different drivers.
- Right click on it, and select “Disable device” from the menu that pops up there.
- Under “Imaging devices”, you should see the driver for your webcam listed there. Much like with the microphone above, the name isn’t consistent between devices, but you should be able to tell which one is your camera driver.
- Repeat step 4
[Tip: For the truly paranoid and security conscious, you can more or less stick a piece of masking tape over your webcam once all is said and done, for even better priviacy]