What's the objective ?
My Acer laptop, has a poor camera built into it. It still
works, and I would not give you $0.10 for it.
If you want a webcam, connect an external one via USB.
It still takes effort to find a good one, but at least you have got choices.
You can disconnect the existing one, and save a few milliamps of current.
it is always possible you will pay $24.99 for a replacement, and have
it fail the same way.
A webcam, can consist of a controller chip (the USB part), and a sensor.
The controller chip, includes an interface for an external EEPROM, and
in there, the manufacturer can pick a different VID/PID for the device/sensor
combination. It means there can be a bunch of what appear to be different
cameras, which are all using the same hardware. And as such, there might not
be a lot to identify the thing with, electronically. So when it says it is not
recognized, it could be that the EEPROM contains bogus information, and
the controller is actually fine. You can use UVCView and see how much of
the information makes sense.
You can take the INF file from the driver package for the webcam,
and compare the numbers in there, to what is coming from the webcam.
The USB standard, defines a USB Video Class. Cameras compliant with that
standard, can work without drivers. The driver in the OS is sufficient.
Some of the cheap cameras are not UVC, and the only way they can be
recognized, is by the installation of their custom driver.
Even if you have a UVC camera, not all resolutions may be offered under UVC.
I think my external webcam, only goes up to 960 x something when the OS UVC driver
is being used. If I want the max resolution, that is only available with
a separate driver.
You can test the webcam under Linux. That's a different driver solution, and
a separate opportunity to experiment with flaky hardware. The distro may include
a copy of "Cheese" and perhaps you can take a test photo with an application
like that. Camera drivers have been in the Linux kernel for a couple of years
now. Linux is not always the best with cameras - I have had Linux crash while
running a webcam, but it is getting better with time. (That's what happens
when you put camera drivers in the kernel :-( )