How to import pictures from your digital camera

If you have a digital photo camera it is very likely that you will want to save your pictures on your PC. In this tutorial we will show you how to do that.

Before we begin you should look at your photo camera’s battery status. If you have low batteries, you should change or recharge them. If your camera will remain without power during the importing process, your memory card might get damaged.

After checking the battery status, connect your digital camera to the PC. There are three ways to do that: using a USB cable, a Firewire cable or thorough a Bluetooth connection. For this tutorial we will use a USB cable to connect our camera to the PC.

First, connect your digital photo camera and press the Power On button. Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows 10 will detect the camera and will install the appropriate drivers.

Driver Software installation

After the drivers installation is finished, the AutoPlay menu will pop-up.


Select the option Import pictures using Windows.

In the bottom right corner of the screen, a small window asking if you want to tag the pictures will appear. You can type a general tag for the pictures that you are about to import. Tags can be very useful for organizing and finding your pictures.

Import pictures

If you don’t want to insert a tag just leave that space blank and click on Import.

If you want to customize the import settings, click the Options button. Now you can change the following settings: where to import the pictures (the default folder is Pictures – if you want another folder click on Browse and select or create that folder), the name of the folder (by default the name of the folder will be the date when the pictures are imported plus the tag you typed) and the file naming convention.

Import pictures

When you have finished, click the OK button. These settings will apply to all the pictures you will import from now on.

After you click on Import, Windows Vista starts moving all your pictures. If you want the pictures to be deleted from your camera after the import process is finished, click the Erase after importing checkbox.

Import pictures

After the process is finished, Windows Photo Gallery will start and you will be able to see all the pictures that were imported.

Windows Photo Gallery

Now, turn off your camera and remove the connection cable from your PC.

NOTE: For this tutorial we used a HP Compaq nx7400 and an HP Photosmart M307 digital camera.

Related articles:
Windows Photo Gallery
How to connect a video camera and import a movie

46 thoughts on “How to import pictures from your digital camera”

  1. How to choose which pics I
    How to choose which pics I wish to import, I dont c that option at all. Y must I waste time copying all the pictures if I have 4GB of pics, must I copy them everytime ?

    • Same problem – how do I choose which pics to import?
      This is so dumb. It used to work much better in XP where we could select individual images and videos before tagging and importing them. Does anyone have a workaround for this?

    • Vista cannot find pix to import
      I have 76 pictures on my sony digital camera I have been unable to import. I keep getting a pop-up which states “No new pictures to import” using vista. I have also tried using cybershot software and get a message that “cannot find media to import”. Why is vista not recognizing that there are 76 new pictures to import, and cybershot not recognizing a camera I have used to import pictures in the past?
      I have also tried the suggestions on page 304 of “Windows Vista for Dummies” under “Windows Vista does not recognize my Camera” without success.
      What else can I do to get my pictures imported?

  2. Canon Powershot A80
    I plugged my camera in, the system couldnt find drivers and Autoplay did not appear. I have installed the software for my camera, and the device manager see the camera and says it is working. I can’t see the camera with Windows picture software or with zoombrowser and still no autoplay. Why?

    thanks Shaun

    • Canon A40 with similar problem
      I had a similar problem with my old Canon A40 camera and Vista.

      I had to use my original CD that came with my camera to load drivers (Vista did not have them).

      Second issue was that the only way I could load pictures from my camera was to again use the old Canon Zoom Browser ver 3,2 that came with my camera. Even the latest Zoom Browser ver 6,1 could not see my camera.

      Vista photo stuff also could not see my camera.

  3. how do I keep camera dates when importing photos?
    I have a Canon powershot a610, and an hp pavillion with vista. When I import photos using windows is it possible to set up defaults so that the photos are sorted into files by date taken, as opposed to date imported?

  4. Cannot change import settings
    I cannot change any import settings, there is no small window when the AutoPlay window is open nor when I start importing the pictures from the camera.

    “In the bottom right corner of the screen, a small window asking if you want to tag the pictures will appear. You can type a general tag for the pictures that you are about to import. Tags can be very useful for organizing and finding your pictures” (I can´t find that)

    What do I do wrong?

    • unable to get options when importing photos in vista
      The same thing happened to me this week. It worked fine before. I cannot choose where my photos should be downloaded. Has there been an automatic update to Vista that caused this problem?

      • Cannot change Vista Import Picture Settings Anymore
        Same problem here. I haven’t installed any new software on my computer – so what’s the problem??

      • Autoplay option isn’t coming up
        It used to work…but I’m wondering if I did something wrong? I have plugged in my camera with a usb cord to my vista computer, and the autoplay option box isn’t coming up…some of the pictures have been downloaded somehow, but not all of themm, can you help??

  5. “I cannot change any import
    “I cannot change any import settings, there is no small window when the AutoPlay window is open nor when I start importing the pictures from the camera.”

    That’s because there isn’t one.

    Open Windows Photo Gallery, click on File->Options. Select tab called “Import”

    Import settings are hidden away in there.

    • importing photos from an old camera
      “‘I cannot change any import settings, there is no small window when the AutoPlay window is open nor when I start importing
      the pictures from the camera.’

      That’s because there isn’t one.

      Open Windows Photo Gallery, click on File->Options. Select tab called “Import”

      Import settings are hidden away in there.”

      This is great info, and the only thing that has worked for me! After unsuccessfully trying to import photos from my HP Photosmart M517 using the software that came with the camera, I found your post. Your instructions worked perfectly, and I was able to import the photos directly from the camera to my laptop using a USB cable. Thank you so much!!

  6. not working.
    I’ve imported pictures before with my parents kodak camera, but when my friend tries to import pictures with her nikon camera it doesn’t do anything. Why does it only work with my camera and not hers? Awhile ago she was able to import them but now it doesn’t work.

  7. And I thought I was an
    And I thought I was an expert with this, obviously I am not because I just learned here there are risks for my memory card if I don’t check the battery first. I should also get some proper digital camera accessories, my data cable doesn’t help me anymore and I want a better memory card.

  8. Do Not use Windows Explorer in Vista — Looses Date
    The more obvious way to import photos is simply to use Windows Explorer to copy or move them. They are just files, right? Wrong.

    Windows explorer looses the date taken if the photos are just moved in the obvious way, for a Canon at least. And the Camera does not seem to have a UNC path at all. Thus not possible to script.

    So need to use the easy-to-use option.

    As the concept of generic files dies and every type of data becomes a special case the computer becomes ever more mysterious.

  9. Choosing Pics to import
    Every time I try to import pictures from my camera (Kodak C613) I cannot choose which pictures I want and it loads all pictures onto my computer. How do I choose the pictures?

  10. EasyFix@Darrell
    Instead of “import” click on “open device to view files”. Select the files you want, with the help of Ctrl or Shift, click and simply drag them onto your favorite folder.

  11. importing after getting a printer
    I used to be able to import photos to my computer with no problem but since I got the HP Officejet J4580 All-In-One theirs been a problem importing my photos. I have a Vista. I’ve tried unpluggin my usb cord from my printer and connecting my usb cord from my camera but still nothing has been working. Can you help?

  12. Changing the options
    How do I change the options?
    I accidentally set the settings to something I don’t want and checked a box that said “Do this each time I import pictures.” (or something similar to that)
    How do I change my options?

    • Changing Import Settings
      I had the same problem and after much grumbling towards Microsoft discovered this procedure:
      Open the registry editor (regedit.exe) and search for ‘Camera and Portable Device’ which should be found under ‘Photo Acquisition’. Delete the branch ‘Camera and Portable Device’ with all its settings.
      Now try to import pictures again by connecting a camera and your dialog box settings will be available again.

  13. ??importing pics ???
    nothing pops up when i plug my camera or put my sims card in my computer… so i cant import my pictures how do i fix this problem?

    • loading photos to laptop
      I have a Fuji camera that takes wonderful photos. This is the first time I have attempted to upload photos from camera to laptop. I put the sims card in the slot on my laptop – it won’t go all the way in – and nothing happens. My laptop came loaded with Windows 7 and I have updated it to Windows 10 (I think) and this is the only problem I have had since then.

      Can you please instruct me on how to get the upload into my laptop? Bear in mind I am 74 years of age and am definitely NOT what you would call computer literate, so the simplest instructions you can come up with will be the most beneficial to me.

      Thank you.

      Carolyne Lain.

  14. same thing re: importing
    I use a memory card for digital camera…every time I try to import pics from it, it imports EVERY one on the mem. card and then I have to manuall delete the one already there…

  15. Thanks!
    Wow. Finally I was able to change my path where all the imported images where putted. Quite boring to put them in the 2008 folder and move them all the time – now I changed to put them in the 2009 folder and don’t need to do anything except put in the memory card and start the import! So thank you very much for the comments who helped me very much!

  16. Import setting not working
    Can somebody tell how to reactivate the import setting where I can choose the folder.
    My Import page is empty in WMP .
    Im using Vista Home ed. 32 bit.

    • Reset Import Settings
      Start>All Programs>Windows Photo Gallery
      Select Import Tab
      Select “Prompt for tag on import”
      Select “OK”

      Better late than never….

  17. canon s200 will not import into picture gallery
    I have a canon s200 power shot and when I connect to usb cable and try to import in photo gallery (vista) it can’t find a driver. How can I get the picture off of the camera into the photo gallery? thanks.

  18. It’s not working at all.
    It’s not working at all. Nothing is popping up, and it’s really frustrating. I’ve done it many times before, but now it won’t even let me open Windows Photo Gallery. And I if I do, it says nothing is in my computer, when it says its connected.

  19. A95 Powershot Canon Camera
    A box appears as I attempt to import photos to my PC. The box says that “the System cannot find the path specified.” The photo cannot be imported.

    What is going on?

  20. not working to import my pics
    im trying to import my pics to the comp. but when i do it it tells me there is no new files allmy pics are new and i have not added any pics to the computer and i am not sure why it is tellingme that there are no pics???

  21. importing photos
    You are right xp was better why do I have to import EVERY picture over & over again why can’t I pick & choose! Also does anyone know why I cant see the photos on the front of my album anymore after I import phots? All I get is this flower Icon! If anyone can help me I appreciate your help!

  22. Importing only the new photos
    My storage card is large. How do I only import ONLY the new photos each time I download ? I keep having to earase each time— vey time consuming!

    Ok, here is what I have found… I was unable to bring back the old classic style of importing the pictures and tagging them all in one step, however, this is really not so bad… Read about halfway down this page under the heading “Organizing and finding your pictures.”

    Hope this helps. As a daily importer of many photos, this was a lifesaver, as I was seriously about to go back to XP just for this feature.

  24. I can not import pictures to my hard drive or any photo gallery
    I have always been able to import pictures from my camera to my computer. Normally I import automatically to Windows Photo Gallery. Now I receive an error message; No photos or videos found or The parameter is incorrect. These messages occur depending on which camera I tried to import pics from. This is a headache for me because pictures play a big role in my life and this will be difficult for me if I can’t import directly from my own computer. The import window pops up and I prompt it to import and then the error message. I know I just explained this backwards. Please help.

  25. deleting selected pics
    how do i delete selected pics from the memory card without deleting the whole lot… as i’ve broken the viewing option on my cam i cant do it there so need to be able to do it straight from the card through my laptop… i’m also a vista user…

  26. nikon
    ever since i got windows 7,every time i plug camera in,it uploads EVERY picture on camera instead of only new added ones,it never did this with x p,so now i keep making a new folder every time i add pics ,so now i have the same darn pics like in 10 folders,so annoying,can anyone help,thank you very much Tammi

  27. Canon 10D communication with Vista
    I could not get vista to recognize my 10D,, The system saw it as an imaging device but explorer saw nothing,, until i set the cameras communication setting to PTP rather than normal. This advice was given by Jeff1212 at . I hope this will help others here and elsewhere. Thanks Jeff you are top-knotch-tipper in my book! My good things always come your way.

  28. Sanyo 1090 digital camera
    My photos always import to Windows Live Gallery and then I move them to Windows Photo Gallery, how can I change the settings to have them go direct to Windows Photo Gallery? I am using Vista Home Edition

  29. Windows 10 downloading pictures
    I can not seem to transfer pictures from my digital camera to my computer windows 10. Nothing pops up or self loads. When I had windows 7 a screen popped up asking me where I wanted to store the pictures. Windows 10 is not doing anything.

  30. Importing photos
    Has partially imported photos and has stopped. Message in red comes up and says that the PC is still importing in another file and that I need to go into this file to fix the problem, but it does not tell me what file to go into. I am unable to delete the photos that have already been imported already and start again. What ever I try to do I am blocked. I am unable to find the problem.

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