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My webcam just came on “out of the blue”
I just had this happen the other night, too. Closed all browsers (and made sure their processes were closed in Task Manager). The blue light stayed on for about 10 minutes, then shut off again. Antivirus and anti-spyware are all up to date, and I haven't had any warnings. What's interesting is that my camera also is a LifeCam. I wonder if there was a background software update or version check that needed to "activate" the camera hardware (without turning on the camera itself), which caused the blue light to go on.
e-SATA drive as my main/boot drive
Dust actually is more controllable outside the case, and the location of the drive takes away from the spillage. The thoughts about the physical shock and disconnection are the most worrisome. Good insight.