Windows – Webcam becomes “Unknown Device” after Windows Messenger 2011 is installed


I have Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J laptop. I installed Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. I was able to find drivers for all hardware without any problems.

Recently, I installed Microsoft Windows Live Essentials 2011, i.e. Windows Live Messenger 2011. Ever since that application is running on my computer, my webcam is not recognized by the OS any more. It is listed as the "Unknown Device" and placed in the Universal Serial Bus controllers group in the Device Manager.

There don't seem to be any drivers for this webcam. It's a standard Sony Motion Eye web camera and Sony does not offer any drivers for it. There is one application to download that utilizes the camera, but there are no drivers (and the system is showing the same behavior regardless of the presence of the application).

It happens from time to time that the webcam becomes recognized by the OS again, after a couple of restarts; but not always. Then it becomes unknown again.

I am absolutely positive that this issue is caused by the Windows Live Messenger 2011, because same symptoms caused the same effects before. I wish to be able to continue to use this software, but also to use my webcam. I was wondering if anyone had a similar issue and if there is a way to fix it. Thanks for all the help, I appreciate it.

Update: I have discovered a pattern – if the camera goes astray, restarting the machine does not bring it back; but switching the computer off and turning it back on does. Every time! This is getting super complicated 🙂

Best Answer

My new (3 months old) Sony VAIO F Series laptop has the same problem as boris1234 describes here.

If I close the laptop to sleep and then reopen the laptop, the webcam won't resume operation. The USB2 driver for the webcam will turn into Unknown Device under Universal Serial Bus controllers in Device Manager. Only "cold" booting the laptop can fix the problem until the problem occurs again. Device Status:

Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems. (Code 43)

I don't bring up "Windows Live" on my laptop but it is in my system. Not sure what else causes the crash of the USB2 Webcam driver, even "Restart" (warm boot) can not fix the problem. "Cold" boot does.