USB Video Class
With the advent of the USB Video Class standard, many of the newer cameras can run on any computer with a compatible operating system. Windows XP, service pack 2, Mac OS 10.4.9, and, I am told, some versions of Linx, any camera that is USB Video Class certified will work. You may find some limitations, such as Logitech's Right Light2 or auto focusing features may not function, but the cameras should work. See the little Apple icons on my camera review index page for USB Video Class camera models.
For other cameras....
Webcam drivers are very specific to individual camera brands and models. A few manufactures tend to use the same driver for all their cameras, or at least for similar models. Actually each model has different drivers but these manufactures bundle all their cameras into a single instal file so it appears that it is the same driver. In many cases, Windows may actually have built in drivers for many devices which were in production at the time the operating system version was released. There is no such thing as a generic webcam driver which will work for any camera.
Good news though, many of the newer cameras that are listed as UVC (Universal Video Class) compatible will work with any newer operating system including Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac 10.4.9, however, some features of the cameras may not be available without the correct manufacture's drivers.
The following links were functional when the link was posted. Let me know if any don't work.
- Creative drivers can be found on the Creative website. Select Support, then under the download option, chose your region. Creative has set up a special site for software updates and added features for their newer cameras at www.MyLiveCam.com
- Intel is still making the divers for their cameras available from their website even though it has been several years since they discontinued the hardware. Click on Support & Downloads, then Browse by Product, and look for PC Cameras. There is also a newer driver available through Windows update, if the camera is in your computer and functional, Windows Update will find it and offer the update through the hardware area.
- Logitech drivers can be found on the Logitech web site. Click on Support + Downloads at the top of the page. Chose Downloads. On the right search by Image and chose webcams and click View All Products. If your camera is not in the list, look at the upper right (above the Orbit MP as of Aug. 2007) and click on "Still can't find your Product?" You should find drivers for older cameras there.
- Microsoft camera drivers can be found here
- Phillips complicated to get to. Start here, then click on PC Products, Select Webcams, find your webcam and click on the link above the listing. On the right, click on Product Support, then on the left you should see a link for Software & Drivers
- Veo appears to have gone out of busyness. While their domain name is good through 2009, their website no longer exists. However, I was able to install the Advanced Connect by using the Windows Update option of the new hardware found dialogue. It may take a few minutes but it does seem to work. I havn't tried the Velocity Connect and I no longer have the Mobile Connect cameras, but I expect they should work too.
- Mac users can find a special software interface that should make most webcams work on your OS-X system from macam. Also UVC compatable cameras should work with newer Mac's. (Notice: I do not own a Mac so have not been able to test this software)
With other cameras, especially generic or old models, it is EXTREMELY important to keep track of the driver disks that come with the camera. It is unlikely you will be able find drivers for other brands or old models after the cameras are discontinued.
If all else fails you might try Driver Guide.com. You have to join up but it is free and they have drivers for just about any kind of hardware.