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I'm using Ubuntu on a new Compaq Presario CQ56. The webcam was working fine for the first two days, in both Skype and Cheese, but simply turned black with thin vertical lines in the middle of a Skype call and now refuses to work in any program, including gstreamer-properties, Cheese, and VLC. It gives a black screen when rebooted into a live CD and tested. When tested, it either shows a plain black screen or black with thin vertical lines. Attached is an image of the video shown (it is static, there is no noise or static, and no response to variance in light). Also, when I play music or sounds, it makes a garbled noise related to the sound being played, which may or may not be connected to the webcam issue.

alt text

If anyone has any ideas on what caused this, or whether it's a hardware or software issue, or how to fix it, I would appreciate them very much,


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Can you please provide the following information so it makes it easier to debug the problem: 1 dmesg output / 2 cat /var/log/syslog output / 3 Run skype or cheese from terminal and when they use the webcam look at the terminal to see what errors they show. – Luis Alvarado Dec 31 '10 at 3:49
seems to me like a hardware issue, which you should look to take up with HP. – RolandiXor Dec 31 '10 at 15:21
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It looks and sounds like your webcam has had a hardware failure, the type of image your getting suggests the webcam is covered by something, but it may also be that the webcam is defective now and is giving off noise instead of data.

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Thanks :) Because there were no errors related to the webcam in the terminal I tested it in windows and got the same pattern, leading me to conclude that it is in fact a hardware issue (had to install windows to test, or i would have done it earlier). Funny enough, the installer seemed to remove my Ubuntu partition, despite the fact that i had partitioned space for it to use :/. The ext4 partition became simply "unallocated space" when I booted a liveCD. I will now be returning it to the store for an exchange so that i can get a working webcam, and Ubuntu ;). – Delilah Jan 2 '11 at 6:05
Yes, be very careful when installing windows. It's dumb, destructive and inconsiderate. So you'll end up loosing either your install of Ubuntu or your ability to boot it. – Martin Owens -doctormo- Jan 2 '11 at 16:08

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