You can connect a USB camera to your laptop or desktop if your computer does not come with a built in video camera. A small USB camera can make any USB capable computer a web cam, live video streaming, recording video web camera machine. 


Once installed you’ll be able to record video, stream video, talk to people through video chat like Skype and FaceTime. You can also take still photos with your new USB computer web camera. 


First ensure you have at least one free USB port on either the side, front, or back of your computer. If you have multiple USB devices already connected and don’t want to disconnect them you’ll need a USB hub to connect the camera and extra devices onto. 


Next you’ll want to choose your web camera. This selection will be based on your needs. If you will be streaming video (such as skyping to friends or family) you’ll need a USB camera capable of video and not just picture taking. 


Next you’ll need to determine if you require high resolution video recording. If you just need a cheap usb cam than video quality won’t matter much. If you’ll be recording and editing video for professional uses or making high quality videos, an HD mini camera or high resolution camera is recommended. 


Connect the USB cable that comes with the camera to the usb hub or the usb port on the computer and power on the computer. Wait for the computer to fully load. Many computers, such as Apple computers, come with drivers already preinstalled. Other computers will need to search online for available drivers for your new USB camera. 

USB Cameras Connect to USB PortsCredit: By Ds13 at en.wikipedia Later versions were uploaded by Marcan, Asim18 at en.wikipedia. [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], from Wikimedia Commons


Allow the computer to search for, download, and install the video drivers needed to work the camera. If the USB camera came with a CD of drivers and software install it on the computer and follow the on screen instructions. Some cameras might come with third party editing software, a nice bonus but not required usually for the operation of the web camera. Restart the computer if needed.


Next you’ll need to position your USB mini camera for the proper view point. Some cameras come with mounts letting you mount to the top of the computer screen. Others come with a stand. Load up your computer’s video recording program or video chat service and play around with the camera positioning until you get the view you want. 


Overall, external usb computer camera designs make them a great add on for laptops or computers that lack built in web cams. They are portable, easy to set up, and unlike their built in counterparts fully adjustable and movable.