How do I import photos from my camera to my Windows 7 computer?

Windows 7 and Windows Live Photo Gallery make importing photos from your camera very quick and easy. Here is how to set up your system and how import photos quickly.

Setup camera on Windows 7

Connect your camera to your computer using a USB cable. Turn on the camera. If this is the first time that the camera is connected to the computer you will see something like this near the right end of the Taskbar.


Windows 7 will install the needed driver software as soon as it sees the camera. This will take but a few moments.

imageThe camera device window will open, it is show below. (If it doesn’t open automatically, click the camera icon on the Taskbar.


The window will show a variety of information. The illustration is for a Nikon D60 camera, for another camera the information will be similar. Of concern here is the import-06option labeled “Import pictures and videos”. Click on “Change program”.

A dialog windows opens like the illustration on the left. The default option is “Import pictures … using Windows. For much better control and more options use Windows Live Photo Gallery to import the photos. So click on “Import pictures and videos using Windows Live Photo Gallery”. Then click OK.

Next click “Change general settings”. In the next dialog, click on the option bar that says “Take no action”.


Click on “Import pictures and videos”, then click OK.

Windows is now set up. Turn off your camera. The camera icon will disappear from the Taskbar. Next set up options in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Set import options in Windows Live Photo Gallery

Open Live Photo Gallery and click the blue “File” tab (upper left). Click Options. In the next dialog click the Import tab.


Here a number of options can be set. Since you are setting up importing from your camera, leave the setting for “Cameras” and keep the import destination of “Pictures”. Your Pictures folder is the proper place to keep photos.

As photos are imported new folders can be created for the photos. There are a number of naming conventions you can select from. I like “Date Taken + Name”, this is illustrated here.

You can also choose the file name format. My preference is to keep the file names that the camera has assigned to them.

The dialog window contains an example to show how the folder names and file names will appear according to the settings you select.

There are three other options. Check what should happen. Then click OK.

This completes the setup of your computer for importing photos. So let’s try it out. Close Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Importing photos from the Camera

Connect the camera with a USB cable to the computer. Turn on the camera.

Windows will recognize the camera and start carrying out the option that you have set import-01up. Momentarily you will see a window telling you that Windows is “looking for photos and videos…”.

As soon as it has finished analyzing the photo files on the camera, an new dialog window with more options opens up.import-11

This may look like the one illustrated here. It will show the number of photos on the camera and display two options. I like, and recommend, the “review” option. There are additional choices that can be made using that approach.

Make your selection and click Next.

If you chose the review option you get something like this:


Photos will be grouped by date. You can change the grouping with the slider control on the bottom. You can enter a names for the folders that will be created for each group. You can also specify tags that will be common to all the photos in a group. This can really help you get your organizing of the photos underway. Click on “Enter a name” to enter the folder name (or the name part of the folder name). Click on Add tags to get this started.

Separate different tags with semicolons. Here is an example with information filled in:


Note that you can inspect the photos in each group – click “View all … items”, and can even check or uncheck the individual photos to be imported.

To proceed, click Import.

Windows Live Photo Gallery now imports your selected photos, creates folders named in accordance with your settings, and places the grouped photos into the folders. If you have set the “Open … Photo Gallery after importing…” option, Windows Live Photo Gallery will open once the photos have been imported showing the photos.



49 thoughts on “How do I import photos from my camera to my Windows 7 computer?

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  5. I am unable to reload my pictures from my camera to the computer. Computer tells me there are no new pictures. Is it possible to reload these?

  6. Many thanks for your great explanation, do you know how to prevent windows 7 from creating date and time sub folders after the destination has been selected? Many thanks JO

    • To import your photos to just one folder, and not make a sub-folder for each group, change your import options. Click the File (blue) tab > Options > Import tab. Click the Folder name bar and click the (None) selection (the bottom option). Click OK. After this Live Photo Gallery will import your photos to the specified folder without making sub-folders. I will explain this with illustrations in a post. Thank you for asking!

    • This is a great question, Diane. I will answer it in a more detailed post shortly. You can select the photos to import in the Photo Gallery import dialog, I will show how.

  7. Pingback: How do I import just certain photos from my camera to my computer? | Ask Ludwig

  8. Why is this so blasted complicated. I am not a computer guru, there are waaaay too many steps to complete that I am not sure about. I was just given a new laptop at work with Windows 7. I much prefere the 6 version. All I had to do was pull up the “Pictures” file, plug in my camera memory card, select “View pictures using Windows” then select the pictures I wanted to import to a particular “Pictures” file. DONE! This BS.

    • Earl, you can use the same procedure in Windows 7 that you used before. This post shows how to make it easier, more consistent, and quicker. If this procedure is not for you, there is no reason to use derogatory language. I strive to help.

      • My comments were not aimed at you personally. But rather out of frustration of what had been a simple task before becoming so complicated to do now.

      • Thank you for responding. Yes, we all get frustrated at times. Do try the procedure that I outlined. Once set up, you’ll love the ease and speed.

  9. Two questions, if I may:
    – Can Windows Live Photo Gallery be configured to automatically/silently import the photos without requiring user input? I just want to plug in my camera and for the photos to be immediately uploaded as soon as connected.
    – Does it keep track of photos previously uploaded and not reload them, even if they have been moved from the upload folder? My intent is to immediately upload the photos to a static folder upon connection of the camera, then in slower time I will manually move/sort them to other folders. I don’t want Windows Live Photo Gallery to reload older photos to the upload folder each time I connect.
    If Windows Live Photo Gallery does not support this, can you suggest any other programs?
    Thaanks in advance.

    • Thank you for asking, Marty,
      To my knowledge there is no “silent” import feature. My Autoplay is set to launch the Photo Gallery importer. It does require a couple of clicks to get the process going. By default photos already imported, even if they have been moved, will not be checked in the “Select the groups …” dialog. So only the not previously imported photos will be checked and imported. I usually use this two-click procedure. The first, to click Next after the import dialog shows how many photos there are on the camera that have not yet been imported, then to click Import. I do not allow the importer to erase the photos on my camera, so they stay there. This does make the initial search by the importer a bit lengthy (maybe up to ten seconds when my card has over 1000 photos on it).
      I don’t know of any other program for “silent” – unattended – import.

  10. When I import picturs to windows using my camera card, al of a sudden the import box will not close when it is done.. nor will it cancel? Any suggestions on what I can do. The only way I can get rid of it (or close it) is to shut down the computer.

    • Sorry, Joan, I do not have a ready answer for that problem. If it is still happening, please send me a message and I gladly will work with you one-on-one to find a solution.

    • If you used the default settings of Windows / Photo Gallery you pictures are in one or more folders in you “My Pictures” folder. If you can’t find them there, please send me a message (see upper right of blog).

  11. Why will the import window not open when my camera is connected to my computer with the USB cord. I thought I had a faulty USB cord so I got a new one but it still will not open.

    • If “AutoPlay” is not set up correctly, connecting a camera might not start the import process automatically. You can start the import process manually from Photo Gallery by clicking “Import”. Fore more help on this please send me a message. Click “Send Message” in sidebar near top.

  12. Hi Ludwig, I really hope this post is still active & you are able to help me…I was using Windows Live to import my pictures from my memory card to my laptop with no problems until I recently uninstalled some programs & believe I have accidently uninstalled something that I need to allow me to import using Windows – the option has now disappeared from my autoplay & I really miss it :(

    • The program that I recommend for importing photos from cameras or memory cards is Photo Gallery. If you have uninstalled it, you can download it (it is free) from Microsoft at (You only need Photo Gallery so select choosing the programs you want, Movie Maker comes “attached” to Photo Gallery – other items you probably don’t need).

      If you have upgraded to Windows 8 you will not be able to set up AutoPlay to import using Photo Gallery, but you can use it by launching Photo Gallery first them click Import in the ribbon.

      If you need more help with this drop me a message (upper right in side bar).

      Good luck!

    • Hello Vernessa,
      Importing is generally done to you My Pictures folder. The import program (you did not say which one you are using) generally creates one or more new folders for the imported photos. If you still have problems search for a photo file name, like “DSC_” (if that is what your camera assigns). Please use the “Send Message” link (upper right area) and I will gladly help you out.

  13. Thank you for your help. When I connect my camera or card to my PC (Windows 7) the import tool for either Panasonic’s software or Windows Live Gallery always identifies all the images on the card as new, even though they may have been imported before. I don’t always remember what I have imported, it takes time to check. This was not a problem with my last camera (a Canon) I can not find settings anywhere to change this, the driver is up to date and my PC identifies my camera correctly as an LF1. I can try the “erase after importing option” but would prefer not.
    Any ideas?

    • Thank you Greg. You have an interesting problem. I am afraid that I do not have a solution for you – only more questions. I have passed this on to some colleagues but have not yet heard from them. If you come up with a solution, please post it here for others. Thanks again.

      • Hi Ludwig, Thank you for looking into this. I have solved the issue. At the time I purchased my new camera I also installed a trial version of Corel’s Photo Impact software on my PC. I did not like it much and just left it closed. I did some clean up on the computer and uninstalled that program. During uninstall I was prompted if I wanted my settings returned to prior state (unusual), I clicked yes and now the issue is resolved.

  14. Hi Ludwig, I have an issue with my memory card being used on my Windows 7 computer.
    I insert the memory card in the slot but nothing is showing up on the computer giving me the option to import the photos. Nothing is happening at all.
    This was all working fine a few days ago and now does not work at all.
    I have checked my auto play function and it is set to “Use autoPlay for all media and devices.
    I can also confirm the setting for the camera to download photos to Windows is set correctly.

      • Thanks for your reply Ludwig,
        I have followed the steps in the article, but when I insert the memory card there is no sound at all from the computer. Nothing at all.
        I also tried the steps after this, and when I typed in NoDriveAutoRun and it finished the search I then got a message “Finished searching through the registry” and the only option was the “OK” box. It did not show all the other files as per your article.
        Any other thoughts?
        Appreciate your help.


  15. I have read and read this. I have tried everything, but there is no box opening up. I am not very good on the computer. Could it be because my camera is older? I do not know what to do,. This is a new computer. I use it to list items for sale on my sites and HAVE to be able to load pictures. I have tried it with the camera cord and also something I bought where I put the card out of the camera into this thing. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME.

    • Are you connecting it via a USB port? When you plug it in and turn on the camera do you hear the sound that a device has been detected? Does it show under Devices and Printers? Does your PC recognize the SD card from the camera by itself?
      Sorry to ask all these questions, but I am trying to get enough information to troubleshoot your problem, Jeffrey. I hope we can find the bug and fix it, even if it takes even more questions.

  16. when i press inport it says (the following error occured) acess denied it does not tell me what the error is. i tried every thing i cant figure out why i cant inport my photos from sd card to pc, it used to work just fine.

    • Sorry about your problems, Pete,
      Has the SD card lock slid to the locked position by any chance? Have you tried more than one card? Can you import directly from the camera?

  17. I imported 5-600 photos to the computer now it come no photos here what happened to my photos. thanks Lára

  18. How can I import pictures from a folder? I want them to be organized and the picture data to be read into the Photo Library. I know I can simply ADD a folder to the Library, but I want all my photos to end up in folders named by date. Right now they are in random folders all over. I’m looking for Photo Gallery to add organization and remove the pictures from the original folder as they get organized.

    So how can I import from something OTHER than a device? I’ve read that there are ways to do this, but no one has described how.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you, Rob, for asking here. Let me clear up a possible misunderstanding. “Importing” means copying photos from some external device, usually a camera, to a folder on your PC. The photos do not go “into Photo Gallery”, they go to some folder. Photo Gallery provides a way to see those photos in some specified way. They stay in their respective folders unless you move them intentionally. So your problem is moving your photos from their present folder to another folder. There is no easy, automatic way that I know of. What I would do is to open two instances of Windows Explorer (File Explorer in Windows 8). In one create new subfolders named by the dates. In the other Windows Explorer window open the folder that contains the photos you wish to move. Right-click a blank area and click Sort by > More. In the Choose Details dialog, scroll down and click Date created so the box is checked. Click OK. Repeat the right-click > Sort by > More sequence to open the dialog again. You will see some checked items, Name, Size, Date, etc. The Date created listing will be the last one that is checked. Click on it, then click Move Up repeatedly until it is right after Name. Click OK. Click Details in the upper right so you will see the files listed by name, the next column will be Date created. Click in the Date created heading. Your files will be displayed in the order of the date created. Click again to reverse this order. Now you can easily select all the photos in groups when they were taken and you can move them to the newly created folders in the other window. If my explanation here is too confusing, and you want the explanation in clearer detail, please add a comment and I will prepare a post showing the procedure in detail.

    • This may be a codec problem. I will need more info to gt a better understanding. What are you importing from (camera make, model, file type)? How are you viewing pictures (in Photo Gallery or File Explorer)? Did you import using Photo Gallery? — Hope to be able to help.

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