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I have a cheep Logitech webcam that works fine in Skype and flash applications. In windows xp I could open the webcam in my computer and view though it and save pictures. Does Vista do that as well?

And if not what's a good simple program that I can use to replicate this functionality?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Since it looks like the functionality you are expecting is not available in Windows Vista, you can use VLC to open the camera as a "Capture Device" and then take snapshots using VLC. The VLC FAQ explains tells us that to take a snapshot:

How can I take screenshots?

To take a snapshot of the video displayed by VLC, you just need to press the pre-defined snapshot hotkey:

  • Windows / Linux / Unix: Ctrl+Alt+S
  • Mac OS X: Command+Alt+s

To change it, go to Preferences -> Interface -> Hotkeys settings, check Advanced options, and set Take video snapshot.

You can also take a snaphot via the menu Video -> Snapshot.

To change the snapshot format or directory, go to Preferences -> Video.

Where are my screenshots?

If you haven't changed the snapshot directory in your preferences, your screenshots should go to:

  • Windows: My Documents\My Pictures\
  • Linux / Unix: $(HOME)/.vlc/
  • Mac OS X: Desktop/

To change it, go to Preferences -> Video -> Video snapshot directory.

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You can't do that in Vista as the WIA driver installed on XP is not included with Vista, it is by design.

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Use Yawcam, AmCap or Debut Video Capture for this. All these are free and simple. Yawcam requires Java, however.

EDIT: OK, here is some more info re. above apps.

Yawcam can capture both photos and videos, and can be used for motion detection too. (capture video only if movement is detected)

I have not used AmCap much, but it is a often used and popular app.

RE Debut Video Capture, it used to be a Trial, but now it has a free version too, so you can use it without paying (for non-commercial purposes). It has more features, for example besides being able to capture webcam photos/video, it can also make video recordings of your Windows desktop/screen. It does this very well - you can specify the captured video file format, and also capture all or just part of the screen, and also it is great for software demos, as it shows left/right mouse button clicks in the video, plus shows a yellow spot around the mouse pointer.

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Would be great if you could improve your answer by giving a bit of context, e.g. how to use the app, what it does, how they compare, etc. –  slhck Mar 3 at 19:47

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