How to Stop Your Webcam From Lagging

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Older computers may have a hard time operating webcams.
Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

Webcams are handy computer peripherals that allow video communication with anyone with an Internet connection, but they require multiple resources. Using a webcam online requires bandwidth and RAM. If either of these are in short supply, or if your webcam's software is out of date, your webcam can lag when you try to use it to video chat with others.


Reduce Bandwidth

Your webcam uses a constant stream of bandwidth for as long as it's currently active in a video chat, Google Plus Hangout or other online service. If your webcam has to compete with other programs or downloads for bandwidth, your webcam's quality will be much lower and probably lag. When using your webcam, pause all downloads and close any other programs that might be using up bandwidth.

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Free Up RAM

Taking part in a video chat or Hangout also takes up RAM. Transmitting and receiving audio and video data can require a lot of processor power, especially if you're in a chat room with multiple people. If you have a lot of programs running in the background, close a few of them to free up some memory. This measure is especially important on older computers. Open Task Manager to see how much memory is being used and by what; from the tile screen, type "task manager" and click the app that appears on the left. Look under the "Memory" column to see which app is using the most, and shut down any you don't need.


Adjust Webcam Settings

If you have ample bandwidth and RAM and your webcam is still lagging, try reducing its resolution via your webcam software's options. Instead of using a large, high definition resolution (if available), try progressively smaller resolutions until it stops lagging. Higher resolutions take up much more processor power, and on older computers this can mean lag no matter how much RAM you manage to free up.



Update Webcam Software

Most webcams come with software that allows additional functions and special features. This software is usually updated by the webcam's creator to fix bugs and increase performance. If you haven't updated your webcam software, look at the manufacturer's website to try to download software for your model of webcam.



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