One curious omission in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 is they don’t have any built-in abilities to view or test a webcam’s video display without installing additional third party software, it’s not possible by simply installing the webcam driver. Normally you would have to install any software that came with your webcam, or use communication software such as Skype to check the feed. Weirdly, our old friend Windows XP does allow you to view what a webcam is showing without additional software by simply going into My Computer and opening the device.
This does though, give extra opportunities for companies that make webcam software to sell their products to you, one of the popular commercial webcam applications is CyberLink YouCam. Costing up to $39.95, YouCam allows you to easily add interesting effects to the live stream, record the webcam video, capture single snapshots, share your webcam with multiple webcam applications or even set it up as a motion detection surveillance camera. A free version of YouCam is sometimes bundled in webcam equipped laptops such as those from HP.
Here we’ll show you how to install any version of HP’s CyberLink YouCam on any Windows computer equipped with a webcam, normally the program will refuse to install if your computer is not HP branded. You can download and install HP versions of YouCam from version 1 right up to the latest HP version 5, we’ll give you the option of using the version you wish as each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, newer isn’t necessarily better.
All the CyberLink YouCam versions below have been tested using a Logitech E series webcam and worked perfectly in Windows XP and Windows 7/8 64-bit. Note YouCam is not a driver for webcams and it requires the correct driver installed before use.
Cyberlink YouCam 1
Youcam version 1 is obviously the original program from back in 2007 but still runs perfectly fine on newer versions of Windows. As you might expect from something this early, it’s a pretty basic setup without any real advanced features, but if you want to use something nice and easy and a bit lighter on resources, Youcam 1 functions without issue and does the job intended, it’s also just under a 50MB download.
There are 20 emotion effects and a total of around 30 special effects that overlay frames, distort or apply filters to the video feed from your webcam. You can of course take a still image snapshot and capture a burst of up to 10 frames in quick succession, captured videos can be emailed or uploaded directly to Youtube.
Download Cyberlink YouCam 1 (49.5MB)
Cyberlink YouCam 2
On first glance, you might be mistaken for thinking version 2 of Cyberlink YouCam is pretty much the same as version 1, but looking closer there are quite a few extra features which may increase the value of this release for you.
In addition to a few extra effects and filters than can be applied to the live image or capture, there’s also a feature called Avatars. As the names implies, point the webcam at your face and one of 12 predefined characters can mimic some of your facial expressions and head movements. Other new things in this version include printing stills from the program, drawing your own effects onto the video feed and the ability to overlay a timestamp onto the video. Version 2 also introduces timelapse and motion detection recording which turns it into a basic security camera.
Download Cyberlink YouCam 2 (51.1MB)
Cyberlink YouCam 3
On HP’s website there are two different major revisions of this version, 3.0 and 3.5, the latter is around a 40MB larger download. Over version 2, version 3.xx introduces some major changes and additions, the biggest and most notable is the redesigned user interface which also supports touch gestures. An unwelcome addition is some features have been disabled in this version and clicking on one asks you to upgrade to the latest YouCam.
One key difference between versions 3.0 and 3.5 is you can create your own custom avatar in 3,5, also some of the disabled functions and the help file don’t appear in 3.0. Some new things in all versions of 3.xx are direct upload to Facebook, a Scenes effect which places your video in various location overlays, face tracking which enables auto zooming and Gadgets, HD and 16:9 video/snapshot support, and auto lighting with noise reduction. Youcam is now also able to share its video in other open webcam applications using Split mode.
Cyberlink YouCam 4
While the size of the setup installer for YouCam grew over 100MB between versions 2 and 3.5, it’s now dropped again for version 4 by 100MB. This is mostly explained by the almost complete removal of the special effects, animations, overlays and creating/using avatars. YouCam 4 is perhaps a more serious and functional tool and focused a bit less on entertainment and fun.
One thing you’ll notice is the interface has undergone yet another change around and face detection/zooming and video enhancements are now under the live video preview window, options and full screen mode are now in the titlebar. Some important features that have been added are a desktop capture mode which allows you to record video of all or specific areas of your desktop, the auto email option in Surveillance recording is usable and the TrueTheater sharpness enhancement works. The freehand drawing mode has also been upgraded.
Download Cyberlink YouCam 4 (58MB)
Cyberlink YouCam 5
Currently the latest version of YouCam available for HP laptops, version 5 has upped the file size again to around 145MB and reintroduced the overlays, frames and effects removed from the previous version. One negative is there are many more “upgrade to use ….” buttons including Auto email and Desktop Capture which were enabled in YouCam 4. Other options like Face Off, Dual Video, Presentation and Augmented Reality are also disabled in this version.
You do get a few more of the fun and visual functions like Avatars, Scenes and particle filters than previously, while the better drawing mode is also present. There is a brand new feature to version 5 called Face Login which allows you to do just that, logon to Windows (logging in to websites through IE is disabled) using a snapshot of your face. TrueTheater video enhancements are available to control video sharpness and noise reduction. Most of the functions from previous versions are present, it’s just they have been moved to different areas of the user interface.
Download Cyberlink YouCam 5 (145MB)
One of the features available from within YouCam is the ability to download and import extra effects, avatars, scenes, gadgets, frames and emotions from the CyberLink website, there are over 400,000 free effects to choose from. Either click on the Download button or DirectorZone link from within the YouCam program, or visit the YouCam DirectorZone page directly. You do need to create an account before effects can be downloaded, connecting with a Facebook account is also accepted. YouCam 3 or above is required to make use of this service.
Remove the HP Restriction and Install CyberLink YouCam
Before you can install CyberLink YouCam, you must first have a webcam attached to the system otherwise the program will not install. This same procedure will enable any of the five versions above to work on any Windows XP or above computer equipped with a webcam.
1. First of all, download the version of YouCam you want to use from above. All the installers are hosted on an official HP FTP server and range from 49MB to 158MB in size. If you can’t download, make sure you have access to port 21.
2. After downloading, run the sp*****.exe file, where the asterisks are numbers, in the case of YouCam 5 it’s 64853.exe. The setup will extract the files to a folder C:\SWSetup\SP*****\ and then try to install. You will receive an Error window that says:
This software can only be installed on a Hewlett-Packard system.
Click the OK button to close the Error window.
3. Now you need to know one of two things, either the Computer/System name or manufacturer name on your system. This can be done a few ways, for Windows Vista, 7 or 8 users, simply press Win key+Pause/Break or right click Computer and choose Properties. Then look for and take note of Computer name:
This second way works on Windows XP and above, press Win key+R and type msinfo32 into the Run box. Take note of the System Name OR the System Manufacturer, you don’t need both.
4. Go to the C:\SWSetup\SP*****\ folder and open up the Custom.ini file with a text editor such as Notepad or Notepad++.
5. Look on the second line for CLScan=Hewlett-Packard, now replace Hewlett-Packard with either the Computer/System name OR System Manufacturer that you found in step 3, then save the text file.
6. Run the setup.exe from the same folder as Custom.ini and you will be able to install and then launch the YouCam version chosen on your non HP computer. Make sure that any Windows Live Messenger, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger programs you might have open are closed or the installation will fail.
To show you how easy this procedure really is, we’ve put together a short YouTube video below to demonstrate.
YouCam 5 is currently the latest version being used by HP even though it has reached version 6 if you refer to the official CyberLink YouCam webpage. When CyberLink decides to release a version 7, version 6 will likely become available from HP sometime after. If you really want to use the latest YouCam and don’t mind paying for the upgrade, you can do so by clicking the “Upgrade CyberLink YouCam” blue arrow at the top of the program. It gives you a sizeable discount with YouCam Mobile and a Holiday Pack currently thrown in to sweeten the deal.