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How to enable camera on/off OSD notifications on Windows 10

Laptops rarely come without a built-in webcam. The quality of the camera may vary depending on the price of the device but it will still be there. Desktops normally use an external webcam but they’re common and affordable enough to assume most desktops will have one.

The unfortunate thing about webcams is that they’re often the target of hack attacks. Some users may put tape over their cameras, or use covers to control it manually. This works well if the little light that indicates the camera is in use doesn’t come on or doesn’t exist.

Camera on/off OSD notifications

While the camera’s LED light is normally reliable, it sits outside the screen and you may not notice it turn on if you’re focused on the screen. That’s why an on-screen display (OSD) notification might be better at getting your attention.

By default, Windows 10 does not show an OSD notification for when the webcam turns On or Off. To enable it, you have to make a change to the registry.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter regedit and tap the Enter key.
  3. Go to this key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\OEM\Device\Capture
  4. Double-click the NoPhysicalCameraLED value.
  5. Enter 1 in the value data box.
  6. Click OK, and close the registry editor.
  7. Restart your system.

Camera OSD notifications

The camera OSD notification will not be enabled for all apps that use the webcam.

  1. Open an app that can use the webcam e.g. Skype or Microsoft Teams.
  2. Start a call or go to the app’s settings to preview the webcam.
  3. You will see an alert telling you the camera is on.
  4. Exit the call or settings screen and you will get an alert telling you the camera is now off.

Disable OSD notifications

If you ever decide you no longer need an OSD notification for when the webcam is on or off, you can turn these notifications off by editing the registry.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter regedit, and tap the Enter key.
  3. Go to this key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\OEM\Device\Capture
  4. Double-click the NoPhysicalCameraLED value.
  5. Set its value to 0.
  6. Restart the system.

Conclusion

The NoPhysicalCameraLED value that is modified in the registry to enable the OSD notifications is there if the webcam you’re using doesn’t have an LED indicator for when it’s on or off. When your webcam doesn’t have this LED indicator, this value is enabled to compensate for it. It is most useful for external webcams that don’t always have an on/off light indicator.

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