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?

up vote 5 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.

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

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.

  • 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 '15 at 19:47

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