Latitude E-Series Disable Webcam/Microphone BIOS Bug

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Robin24k, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Robin24k

    Robin24k Notebook Deity

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    After troubleshooting this issue on several systems for a ridiculous amount of time, I've been able to pinpoint the issue. Dell is now aware of the issue and has issued a internal notice for the entire E-series, and at this time, it is unknown whether or not a fix will be released.

    Here's some information regarding this bug and what to do about it.

    Basic Information

    If you disable the webcam in the BIOS, the entire webcam/microphone board is disabled, which also takes down the microphone! I've personally confirmed this on a E6410 and E6320. It appears to be a hardware limitation that the webcam cannot be disabled independently of the microphone, as they are on the same board.

    If the microphone is not working on your system, the first thing to check is whether or not the webcam is enabled in the BIOS.

    On some systems (confirmed E6320, not sure about others) without a webcam, the webcam option is still shown in the BIOS, so make sure that is enabled to ensure microphone operation.

    On some systems (confirmed E6410, not sure about others), resuming from standby may re-enable the webcam until the next reboot.

    How to Avoid

    Do not uncheck the "Enable Webcam" option in the BIOS, even if your system does not have a webcam.

    Work-Arounds

    If you do not want a webcam but ordered your system with one, there are two work-arounds:

    1. Disable the webcam in Device Manager.
    2. For a permanent fix, Dell is offering a replacement of the webcam board with a microphone-only board. To remove the webcam port, ensure that the matching mic-only bezel is dispatched.

    BIOS Updates

    It seems that Dell has started to release BIOS updates to fix this issue. Here is a list of BIOS versions that are not affected by this issue:

    Latitude E5420: A03, released 10/18/2011
    Latitude E5520: A03, released 10/18/2011
    Latitude E6220: A03, released 10/16/2011
    Latitude E6320: A07, released 10/16/2011
    Latitude E6420: A07, released 10/16/2011
    Latitude E6520: A07, released 10/16/2011

    Precision M4600: A07, released 10/11/2011
    Precision M6600: A06, released 10/11/2011
     
  2. Rykoshet

    Rykoshet Notebook Deity

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    On the e6520 this is solved via BIOS a07
     
  3. Robin24k

    Robin24k Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for the info. Do you know what the fix is? Can the webcam be disabled independently of the microphone, or did they combine webcam/microphone into one option?
     
  4. trueg50

    trueg50 Notebook Enthusiast

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    A07 for the E6420 had this listed in the "fixed" list.

     
  5. anabarroso

    anabarroso Newbie

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    Hi
    You all seem very experts and I found this site after tons of hours trying to solve my problem with trobleshooting sites, google it, forums, microsoft help ( that didnot get me anywhere)etc.
    After all night on the dam thing I found you and what I am trying to find out is How do I activate (turn on) my built in webcam on my Dell Latitude D830 laptop, I have tried everything, in the device manager, start menu, visual microst programs, nothing and I need it fast because I need it for my Skype visual tonight.
    I know this thing has a webcam I can see it on my left down side corner but how to turn it on, Wow.

    Please, please, anybody help me before I go crazy.
    Ana Barroso
     
  6. Robin24k

    Robin24k Notebook Deity

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    There is no option for a webcam in the D830, what you're seeing is the Ambient Light Sensor, which is used for automatic brightness adjustment. Integrated webcam was only offered as an option starting with the E-series.
     
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