Windows 10 Anniversary Update breaks webcams and a fix

Here is the next issue with Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This new build breaks million USB webcams, because Microsoft has removed MJPG- and H.264 video compression standards.


MJPG and H.264 Streams dropped

I was informed by German blog readers about an issue with Logitech webcams on Windows 10 Anniversary Update. They pointed me to this thread in Logitech community. The vendor wrote about the issue, that Logitech webcams are broken in Anniversary Update:

We have discovered that this is linked to a change Microsoft made in the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition where support of compressed MJPG and H.264 streams for webcams was dropped.

So it's not the vendor that has to be blamed. It's Microsoft who has removed support for compression of video streams with MJPG and H.265.

Why they did that?

The question is, why has Microsoft dropped this support. As far as I know, Skype certified webcams needs H.265 support. Well, Paul Thurrot has addressed the topic here, and a broader technical discussion my be found within this thread at Microsoft Answers forum.

In brief: Microsoft's developers decided that multiple apps may accesses the webcam, so they introduced a kind of a "virtual webcam". But if the physical webcam streams compressed video material to the apps, the developers supposed the risk, that the encoding will be made multiple times – if multiple apps accessing the webcam. This results in a degradation of Windows – so they decided to drop MJPG and H.265 support. The webcam can stream videos only with YUY2 encoding.

But this isn't supported from many cams/software. Skype users are facing for instance a freeze of their webcam after updating to Windows 10 version 1607. Also users reporting, that frame rate drops to 10 frames/s on 720 P and 5 frames/s on 1080 P.


Microsoft is working on a fix

Mike M. from Microsoft writes within this thread that they are working on a fix for this issue. Solutions for MJPG and H.265 support on webcams are under development. If the fixes passes the internal tests, they will be released via Windows Update. So no webcam drivers or webcam software needs to be updated.

Wait, there is a workaround for Skype …

Rafael Riviera has found a workaround to enable webcam support under Windows 10 Anniversary Update. He posted his solution on Twitter.

Just open the registry editor (with administrator credentials) and navigate to the following key (on a 64 bit Windows):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform

Add a DWORD (32-Bit) value EnableFrameServerMode and set it to 0. If you use a 32 bit Windows, use the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform

After a restart, Skype should work without freezing the webcam. Now we have to wait for the other fixes promised by Microsoft.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update – FAQ and Tips
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Lost partitions in Windows 10 Version 1607


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