An Explanation Of Windows Hardware Installation

How To Import Photo/Video Files From A Digital Camera

When you buy a Digital Camera it normally comes with an Installation CD that contains the camera's Driver files and/or some Photo Software (Album Creator, Photo Editor, Photo Importer and so on). To install the camera's driver files you may have to use the Installation CD if Windows 10 does not automatically detect and then install your, USB connected, digital camera for you - Automatic detection and installation is known as Plug N Play technology. Read the previous Hardware sections about Driver Installation and WebCam Installation, as well as the Installing Hardware section, if you need explanations/examples on installing hardware/driver files.

In this example I will show you how to import (transfer) photographs, from a digital camera, without needing to install the photo software that came with the digital camera - I will be using the Windows 10 import function only. This is ideal if you only want to import photographs for e-mailing, printing and/or safekeeping (backup) purposes. Installing the photo software that comes with a digital camera's Installation CD can bloat Windows 10 and so, ideally, should only be installed if you like editing photographs. Windows Photo program automatically creates a photo album each time you import for example.

Another thing to bare in mind is that printers, scanners and webcams normally have photo software on their Installation CDs, so always check to see if you have good photo software already installed on Windows 10 before installing extra, unneeded, software from an installation cd. It is pointless having many different kinds of photo software installed if they can all do the same, basic, jobs (i.e. create a photo album and/or re-size a photograph).


To get started I have just plugged my purple Nikon Coolpix L31 16MP, 5xZoom, Compact Digital Camera into a spare USB Port (Socket) whereby Windows 10 is now detecting it and installing its necessary drivers files for me. This is because my digital camera is Plug N Play. If your digital camera is Plug N Play it should automatically be detected and installed by Windows 10. Otherwise, to install your digital camera using its driver files only you will either have to use the driver files from your digital camera's Installation CD (if possible/if available) or download the driver files from the internet (if possible/if available). If you can not do any of these you might be forced to install your digital camera completely (with Photo Software) using its Installation CD, unless you can get someone to install the driver files only for you.

When Windows 10 is detecting plugged in hardware it puts its 'hardware detection/installation' icon in the taskbar. Simply click on it to open its window and see the developing stages (progress of any detection and hopefully installation).

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.0  Click on the taskbar icon to view progress of any hardware detection/installation

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.1  Windows 10 has detected some hardware and is now installing/configuring its Driver files

If Windows 10 successfully detects your, possible new/unknown, hardware device it will bring up an AutoPlay notification (message) once it has installed the detected hardware's driver files asking you what action should be taken whenever that newly installed hardware device (i.e. digital camera) is plugged into the computer. In this case I will tell it to always import the photos and videos found on the digital camera's memory card. This is done by first clicking on the AutoPlay notification (below) and then on the IMPORT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS button from the 'actions' window that appears (Fig 1.3).

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.2  Click on the AutoPlay notification (message) to continue

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.3  Click on the IMPORT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS button to continue

The actions listed on the above 'actions' window always tells you what the action is (i.e. IMPORT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS) followed by the program used (i.e. PHOTOS App). This is important to note because sometimes there are two of the same actions, as in the above example - There is a second option (action) also called IMPORT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS that uses OneDrive (cloud storage) as the place to import the found digital camera photo and video files.


After clicking on the IMPORT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS button the PHOTOS App (program) will open and show you a preview of some of the found photo and/or video files whereby you then have the choice of just importing them or importing them and then deleting them from the digital camera afterwards. In the latter case simply make sure the DELETE IMPORTED ITEMS FROM ... AFTER IMPORT check (tick) box is ticked (set/switched on) before clicking on the IMPORT button.

Be VERY CAREFUL with the DELETE IMPORTED ITEMS FROM ... AFTER IMPORT option because once your valuable photo and video files have been deleted from the digital camera's memory card they are technically deleted forever. You might be able to recover them later with a data recovery program, but why go through that heartache. I will show you how to manually copy and delete the photo and video files later. For this example just leave the DELETE IMPORTED ITEMS FROM ... AFTER IMPORT option unticked (switched off).

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.4  Click on the IMPORT button to begin the importation of found digital camera photo/video files

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.5  Use the DELETE IMPORTED ITEMS FROM ... AFTER IMPORT option wisely

When the importation of found digital camera photo/video files has finished those newly imported photo/video files will be added to the PHOTOS App (program) by default (normal behaviour), unless you have set AutoPlay to use a different photo editor/album creator. A copy of those files will also be stored inside your PICTURES folder by default, within a new folder named after the current year and month (i.e. 2015-09). Don't worry if you delete that folder because the files will still be available within the PHOTOS App. And the reverse scenario is true. If you delete the files from the PHOTOS App they will still be in your PICTURES folder.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.6  The importation of found digital camera photo/video files has finished

With your photo/video files imported you can then organise them with the PHOTOS App, into albums for example, and share them via the MAIL App; as well as edit them with the PAINT program for example. In other words, you can use them as you normally would.

If you need to update the digital camera's driver files using the DEVICE MANAGER control panel you may be surprised to learn that your digital camera might come under the heading Portablle Devices rather than Imaging Devices, like in Windows 7.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 1.7  Your digital camera might come under the heading of Portable Devices


The above method of importation used, to some degree, an automatic method of importation via AutoPlay settings whereby all future imports will happen automatically via AutoPlay and the PHOTOS App. If you do not like that automated method you always have the manual option of importation, which begins by right clicking on your digital camera's icon within the THIS PC window to bring up its context menu (Options menu). To perform a manual import of any found photo/video files on the digital camera's memory card simply select (left click on) the IMPORT PICTURES AND VIDEOS menu-item to continue. Doing s will then bring up the Import Pictures And Videos window (Fig 2.1 below) and more precisely the Import Wizard that will guide you through the manual options (Fig 2.2).

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.0  Open THIS PC, right click over your digital camera's icon and then select IMPORT PICTURES AND VIDEOS

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.1  The Import Wizard is looking on the digital camera's memory card for photo and video files

In this example the Import Wizard has found a total of 5 photo/video files (Fig 2.2), which could be a combination of photo and video files or simply 5 photo files or 5 video files. You wouldn't know until after the importation has finished; or if you were the one who took the photos and/or video files of course.

Naming, Tagging And OTHER OPTIONS

The second stage of the Import Wizard, after finding photo/video files (first stage), asks you if you would like to give a name to the sub-folder that is created inside your PICTURES folder. Normally that sub-folder is named after the 'date of import' (i.e. 2015-09-18), but you can also append a name to it. For example: In this example I am giving it the name Renovation because my photo files are to do with a house renovation. In this case the import wizard is going to name the sub-folder 2015-09-18 Renovation. If you don't like this naming system you can change it by clicking on the MORE OPTIONS link.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.2  Give the sub-folder created inside the PICTURES folder a better name

Clicking on the MORE OPTIONS link brings up the Import Settings window. It has options on it that allow you to change the location of the main folder (PICTURES) where newly found photo and video files are imported to, by clicking on the respective BROWSE buttons.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.3  Click on the BROWSE button to change the location for imported photo files

In terms of changing the name of the sub-folder you have many options, via the FOLDER ANME drop-down menu. The default option is to name the sub-folder after the DATE IMPORTED plus the NAME you want to give the sub-folder (i.e. Renovation, Holiday or Office Work). This, as said above for this example, would result in: 2015-09-18 Renovation. 2015-09-18 Holiday and 2015-09-18 Office Work would be for the other examples.

With Renovation as the example; DATE TAKEN RANGE + NAME would name the sub-folder after the actual dates the photo/video files were taken: 2008-04-17 - 2015-09-15. DATE TAKEN + NAME would name the sub-folder after the last date of the last photo or video file; whichever one has the latest date and time stamp. The other options are self-explanatory.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.4  Use the Folder Name drop-down menu to change the sub-folder's name

You can also Tag photo and video files before importing them, by clicking on the ADD TAG link (Fig 2.2 above), which basically means you want to add common searchable keywords to those imported photo and video files. Keywords like: Holiday, Wedding, Birthday, Christmas, Cars, Boats, First Born Child and so on.

When the Import Wizard has found new photo/video files to import, and when you have optionally added tags and/or chosen a different folder (sub-folder) name option, you need to click on the IMPORT button (Fig 2.2 above) for the newly found photo/video files to be imported (copied onto your computer's hard drive, into the named sub-folder within the PICTURES folder).


During the importation process (below) you have the option of erasing the original photo and video files (only the newly found ones that are currently being imported) from your digital camera's memory card by putting a tick next to the option called ERASE AFTER IMPPORTING. This option is also available on the Import Settings window (Fig 2.3 above) and is called DELETE FILES FROM DEVICE AFTER IMPORTING. Don't worry too much about these two settings though because you can always manually delete files from your digital camera's memory card via the digital camera's own delete option(s) and by going into the digital camera's DCIM folder using your computer and deleting them using Select All and Delete menu-items.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.5  5 photo files are being imported into the new 2015-09-18 Renovation sub-folder

When the importation process has finished the Imported Pictures And Videos window will open, which is just a view of the named folder; as explained above. So in this example the Imported Pictures And Videos window is just the same as me going inside the PICTURES folder and double clicking on the new sub-folder called 2015-09-18 Renovation. In other words, when you close the Imported Pictures And Videos window, perhaps by mistake, don't panic and think "Where have my imported photo/video files gone to?". Just think about (remember) the newly created sub-folder - 2015-09-18 Renovation in this case.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.6  The Imported Photos And Videos window is the same as viewing the 2015-09-18 Renovation sub-folder

As said above: You can manually copy and delete photo and video files directly from your digital camera's memory card using a computer simply by navigating to the digital camera's DCIM folder. For the Nikon Coolpix L31 digital camera its pathname is: This PC >> L31 >> External Memory >> DCIM >> 100NIKON.

Importing Photographs Explained

Fig 2.7  Inside the DCIM folder residing on the Nikon Coolpix L31 digital camera's memory card