I have an emachines E620. It has a webcam in the lid, but no software to use it. I'm a tech -- trust me, there's no app that came on my Vista laptop. Software costs money, and this was a budget box.
Video driver is native Microsoft (usbvideo.sys). There's no need to download drivers for it, so I didn't find any on the emachines website.
I've had no trouble "losing" the device in Device Manager. If you do, try a right-click, Scan for hardware changes. If it's there but has a ! or X symbol, right-click it, Uninstall, reboot and it may reinstall properly.
I have a copy of Camtasia 6.0 that records my camera, but that's expensive.
Google for some free software that captures a USB web camera. Include your OS in your search; vista webcam software download free
CamStudio (free) only records the monitor, not the webcam. Maybe you could set it up to record your video chat window. The resolution and/or size may be lame.
If you use video chat, that app should automatically pick up your webcam (Acer Crystal Eye on my emachines). You might try AOL chat, MS Messenger, Yahoo IM, etc. and record yourself without actually chatting. I don't use chat; sorry.
I tried the AWC "Active Web Cam" app from PY Software mentioned above at CNET.com (don't bother searching for the filename, go for the app name). Video was choppy and delayed, but this laptop is pretty sluggish (1.6 gHz single AMD CPU, about 80 tabs open in Chrome) so you may have better luck with decent hardware. My faster laptop and desktop have no webcams. Again, sorry.
AWC is meant to be used for constant web streaming. Press Rec. once/twice to start/stop Recording. I didn't take the time to figure out how to save a clip and convert it to AVI or MPEG format, which is what most video websites want.
Even though I changed Settings, Recording Settings, File Format to .WMV, it only seemed able save in a .AWSes proprietary format; try a restart. Good luck. Nag screens for upgrades.
Once you have a local file of a video clip, you can edit it with Windows Movie Maker or Windows Live Movie Maker free programs or similar.
FWIW, I heard a few folks above complain that the support they got was cranky. Sadly, plain text is incredibly inept at conveying accurate emotions. Try this test: Repeat these six words out loud six times, each time accenting a different word, and get six distinctly different meanings. "I never said he said that."
And, yes, for folks who know a lot about software and it comes easy to them, suffering through explaining where the Start button is gets tiresome, but that's what separates the good teachers from the also-ran's. Try this; give driving directions to your house, then realize the driver doesn't know the difference between right and left. You'll get exasperated very quickly.
To (any) cranky tech -- nobody knows everything. Any LINUX geek would be just as bored explaining something (simple) to you. How much do you know about restoring a DNS server from backups? The 14 steps needed, in order, to roll out an app to a corporation using Active Directory? Networking a Mac on Netware?
Be thankful you're gifted.