Turn your webcam into a security camera in Windows XP

Previously I posted about how to turn a webcam into a security camera using Linux. This is the counterpart tutorial and I will show you how to turn a webcam into a security camera in Windows XP using free software. Having a webcam in your home, office, or apartment can provide numerous benefits. If you own a webcam, a great alternative use is to turn it into a security camera so you can keep an eye on your stuff while your gone.

The first step is to connect your webcam.

The second step is to install the Beta of Yawcam. Yawcam is free and you can download the Beta from the Yawcam forums. NOTE: Yawcam requires Java to run (which you probably already have installed). If not, you can download Java from Sun’s homepage.

First, we need to configure the directory that Yawcam will save the images in. Go to Settings >> Edit Settings… Then choose File on the left-hand navigation pane and change the path to a directory you prefer. This is shown below:

Yawcam screenshot

Next, we can set Yawcam to save the images to an FTP server. It doesn’t do much good to save the images to a local drive (especially if someone breaks in and steals the computer with your images on them). Go back to Settings >> Edit Settings… and this time select “Ftp” instead of File. Configure this section appropriately for your server and change the “Filename” section from “out.jpg” to “out_{date}.jpg” so that the images will be uploaded with a time stamp. You may also want to reduce the Upload interval from 30 seconds to 10. All of this is shown below:
Yawcam screenshot 1

The last step is to set Yawcam to take a picture when it detects motion. This is easy to set up and you just have to click the “Motion” button on the main Yawcam screen and now you will be good to go. While you’re there, make sure you click the File and FTP buttons. Now, Yawcam will record and upload a picture to your FTP server and your local hard drive when it detects motion. This is shown below:
Yawcam screenshot 2

Anyone know a better way of doing the same thing? Please tell your way in the comments.


  1. Nice tutorial/idea. I often blog about what you write, and I like your site a lot – except the adsense. Normally I’d use ad-block but my RSS reader uses IE. Can’t they be somewhere less obtrusive than the actual content? Anyways keep up the good tutorials :)

  2. Dorgem does essentially the same thing, only its gpl and more windows centric.

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