Windows 10 Anniversary Update Made Millions Of Webcams Unusable

During early August, Windows 10 Anniversary Update shipped to users, bringing lots of performance tweaks, bug squashing, and some new handy features. But, it also made millions of webcams around the world to stop functioning. No this is not a joke, it actually happened.

Webcam Microsoft

In a classic Microsoft manner, the company though instead of users, deciding what’s best for them without even consulting them about disallowing USB webcams to use MJPEG or H264 encoding; instead, the only option available if YUY2 encoding. And, of course, they made a huge mistake, which not only affects common users, but also enterprise sector. And we all know that enterprise clients have much higher standards regarding products they use. Will this lead to the increase of Linux or Mac OS in the enterprise? It actually could, since the support thread is filled with comments stating how Skype is freezing.

And just look at some of the comments. Some users stated that “We have millions of users and we are in situation now where we have to tell them not to update the Windows anymore or switch to Mac OS,” and another saying that “We have a working product running for years and millions of unhappy users that are unable to use it at all after this update.” Yeah, both comments come from enterprise users, further proving that Microsoft will never learn that customer comes first, you can’t bring a massive change in the operating system used by millions (maybe even billions of people, if we take into account earlier Windows versions), without consulting them.

A similar scandal happened during early 2016 when Microsoft, after reassuring Windows Phone users for two years that Windows 10 Mobile will work on all WP8 devices (since Windows phone 7 devices weren’t compatible with WP8), made a statement uncovering that around 60 percent of all WP8 smartphone models won’t be compatible with Window 10 Mobile. And just six months after that shameful move, this happens. Oh, Microsoft…

Ok, back to the webcam problem. Microsoft stopped webcams from using MJPEG or H264 encoding because using it along with YUY2 would lead to duplication of encoding, meaning poor performance and unnecessary usage of resources. While this looks like a humble enough reason, the company should’ve noticed Windows 10 users about the upcoming change. Instead achieving performance boosts, and making the system faster and more stable, limiting H264 and MJPEG encoding resulted in millions of webcams starting to freeze after they’ve started HD streaming.

Luckily, Microsoft stated that the problem will be tackled and removed during September when the next update arrives. Until that, you’ll be stuck with the Anniversary update (unless you installed it 9 days ago or less since you have 10 days to rollback the update) and your camera will be pretty much useless. Using Skype video calls will be impossible if your camera is affected; so, wait for September, and pray that Microsoft doesn’t make some new mistake, as a result of poor QA.

One Response

  1. John August 21, 2016

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