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Best Method to Transfer Photos

There are several ways to transfer photos from your digital camera onto your computer:
  • Install camera software and use the supplied cable (typically a USB cable) to connect between camera and computer
  • Insert camera's memory card directly into computer's memory card slot
  • With a USB memory card reader connected to computer, insert camera's memory card into memory card reader
  • With a printer connected to computer, insert camera's memory card into memory card slot of printer
Goal #1.
As a general strategy in order to avoid computer problems, be a minimalist when it comes to installing software. The more software you install, the more potential break points you create, and the more frequent you'll be getting my email service invoices.

Goal #2
As a general strategy to simplify your computing life, find methods to perform tasks that can be done the same way in any computing environment - no matter what computer or who's computer, or in this case, what brand of camera you may be using.

The first photo transfer method, "Install camera software and use the supplied cable (typically a USB cable) to connect between camera and computer" fails in both of the above goals.

Here's why:
  • You need to install software that is not necessary. The software might be necessary in order to facilitate this cable-connect method, but not if you use the other three transfer methods. The software will be yet another program that takes up resources on your computer and could cause conflicts with other software (eg. security software and updates). Your Windows system has all the built-in functions needed to transfer your photos.

  • The software-install + cable-connect method may not work on other systems (eg. older/newer versions of Windows, Apple systems) or it may store files or operate in a different way when newer versions of its software is released - you might even need to pay for the newer version. These complications may arise as you inevitably buy new systems, as your current one gets outdated or kicks the bucket. Other complications can come up when it's time to buy a new camera. It will come with new software to install and to re-learn - especially if it's a different brand. Complications are the opposite of simplification. But simplification = less complications, less stress, less repairs bills = more money and more happiness. =)
My advise? Pull out that memory card from the digital camera and stick it into a memory card slot in the computer. If the system does not have such a slot, then get a USB memory card reader. They cost around $10 - $15, and most will have the slot that will accept your memory card dimensions. Once you have the card reader plugged into a USB port on your computer, follow these steps:
  • insert your camera's memory card into the card reader
  • cancel or close out from any software pop-up that may want to interact with your memory card
  • locate and click into the icon that represents the contents of your memory card
  • when you see all your photo files, select them all and copy or cut* them to a location on your commputer's hard drive that you consistently use for storing photos - like your Photo's folder for Windows users.
* If you do "copy" then Paste, a copy of the original photos stay in your memory card. If you do "cut" then Paste, the photos in the memory card are "cut" (deleted) away.

The steps above are purposely worded in general terms - as the principle remains the same. The general process should work regardless of what type or who's computer and what type or who's camera you may be using. And that's the point: To have a consistent method that be performed on any computing environment that does not depend on 3rd party software to complicate things. 

March 8th 2011
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