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Importing Digital Camera Photos into Windows XP

When I first started accumulating digital photos on my computer, I (and my wife) were fairly disorganized when it came to deciding on an appropriate folder name for the imported files. By default, when one puts a memory card into a card reader, Windows XP initiates an "AutoPlay" event. This usually causes a window to pop-up (shown in the Downloader Pro section) that lists the applications that are registered with the insertion event. Windows XP defaults to the option, "Copy pictures to a folder on my computer using Microsoft Scannera and Camera Wizard". DON'T USE IT! The utility simply asks the user for a name, and then it goes ahead and renames and copies all of the files to your hard drive.

As an aside, if you happen to click Always do the selected option, and want to change your mind later, please see undo: always do the selected option.

Unfortunately, it not only creates a folder by the name you specified, but it also renames all of your images with that name plus a three-digit serial number. Let's say you entered "vacation disney 2004". You would find yourself with a folder called "vacation disney 2004" with files called "vacation disney 2004 003.jpg", "vacation disney 2004 004.jpg", etc. Doesn't sound bad? Well, let's say you used a memory card for photos from a friend's birthday in addition to your cat. How are you going to name this folder now? "farsh_bday_cappy_june04"?

Very quickly, you are going to end up with an absolute mess of files on your drive. At least the Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard gives a unique name to each of your images (this is important, see the section on file naming conventions), but by doing so it creates a huge amount of clutter. This file naming mechanism is very poorly suited to good organization.


Reader's Comments:

Please leave your comments or suggestions below!
2006-02-13Eneraldo Carneiro

I've followed you from controlled vocabullary forum. I disagree about XP Wizard. You don't neede to download your pictures at once. I've been using it. When I have different jobs in the same card my workflow is:
  1. Deselect all the pictures and select the first batch to be transfered
  2. Create/name the folder to place them
  3. Give the name for the files
  4. Then transfer them with the option delete form device marked
  5. When the transfer ends I go back and does the same process with the remaining files.
My folder structure is something like:

And no I'm not concerned to have my cd's readed in win 95 sistems. I'm concerned to have my cd's (burned today) readed in future sistems.

Good job this site!


 Great point. Yes, you certainly can select a subset of photos to import. My criticism was primarily aimed at the limited file renaming that is performed during the import wizard. Thanks for the correction.


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