How do I prevent creating sub-folders when importing photos?

When importing photos from a camera, Windows Live Photo Gallery, in the default mode, creates a sub-folder for each group of photos on the camera. imageThe import dialog looks like the illustration here. The photos on the camera are presented in groups, ordered by date and time, usually one group per day. The grouping is adjustable. There is an “Enter a name” box for each group, see the red pointer in the illustration. If a name for the group is entered, the import procedure will create a sub-folder by that name. image

If no group name is specified, a sub-folder is created with the date when the photos were taken as the name followed by a number. For most of us, this is just fine. But what do you do if you don’t want sub-folders, but all the photos imported into one folder? Can that be done?

The process described above is for the default setting in Windows Live Photo Gallery. You can change the way photos are imported in the Live Photo Gallery Options menu.image

Click the blue File tab, then Options. Click the Import tab in the options dialog.

Click on the Folder name: selection, it is probably “Name”. The last item in the drop-down menu is (None). Click on this, then click OK.

When folder name “(None)” is selected, no sub-folders will be made and all photos will be imported into the folder specified in “Import to:”. Note the Browse button which allows you to specify any folder on your system for storing your imported photos.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

How do I replace the DSC prefix on my photo file names?

Most “Digital Still Cameras” assign the file names of the photos in this format: “”. The “nnnn” is a four-digit number and the “xxx” the file type, often “JPG”, but it can also be another extension. For example for Nikon “raw” files the extension is “NEF”. The first four characters can be changed in some cameras, but most just set the “DSC_” prefix.

Of course, you can change this by renaming the file. Doing that one at a time is not practical, so here is the procedure I use for doing “batch” renaming. I use a “Windows Batch File” to do this chore.

Creating a Windows Batch File

imageOpen Notepad and type in the Windows “command line” commands. See the illustration here. My first command starts with “REM”. That stands for “remark” and does nothing. It is just used to tell me what the batch file does.

The next command is “cd %1”. The “cd” part stands for “change directory”. This is old language dating back to the time before “folders” were called “folders”, they were “directories”. The command is equivalent to you clicking on a folder in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer. The “%1” part tells the command to use the “command line parameter” that was passed to the program. That sentence probably means nothing to you, don’t fret. You will see shortly how we pass the folder name to the batch file program – by just dragging it to the bat file icon.

The last line is “rename DSC_????.* LK6A????.*” Now here the first term is easy enough, “rename” means just that (you can also use just “ren”). This is followed by the name of the file (or files) to be renamed. The first part is clear enough. The question marks each stand for “whatever character is there”. There are four question marks to specify the four numeric characters in the photo file name. The period follows the numbers. The asterisk after the period says “whatever follows the period”.

Now the new name is entered. This is the same except for the first four characters. I use my initials followed by a “camera identifier character” (“6”) and that is followed by the letter “A” in my case. You can specify any four characters, no fewer and no more, or else the command will do “unexpected things”.

Save the file to your desktop, using Save as and giving it a name. I use “renameDSC”. imageSince you created it with Notepad is is just a plain text file, not a “batch program” yet. If the icon on the desktop shows just the name without an extension, reset the viewing options to make the next step easier: Open Windows Explorer (StartComputer). Click on Desktop (at the top in navigation pane). Click Organize then Folder and search options. In the Folder Options dialog click the View tab. imageFind the option reading “Hide extensions for known file types”. Click it to uncheck the box. Click OK then close Windows Explorer.

Now the extension of the file you created will be visible, it will say “renameDSC.txt”.

Click on the icon to select it, a moment later click on the name. This opens the rename box. image






Replace the “txt” extension with “bat”. The “bat” stands for “batch file” and imageindicates to Windows that it is a batch program. Press Enter. There will be a warning message. Click Yes to perform the rename operation.

You now have created a “batch program” and the icon will now show the “gears” image:


If you wish you can reset the option to hide the extensions of “know file types”. 

You can edit and revise the batch file by right-clicking the icon and selecting Edit – this opens Notepad. When you are finished save the file. It will remain a batch file, so there are no further hoops to jump through.


You are now ready to perform the renaming operation. You will find this fast and easy – now that you have a desktop program for doing so.


Renaming the DSC files

After importing your photos, open Windows Live Photo Gallery. Find the folder or folders of the new photos in the navigation pane.


Now just drag the folder name to your batch program.


You will see the “Command prompt” window open momentarily and carry out your instructions. If you folder contains a small number of photos you might not even notice the operation. But take a look at the thumbnails. If you have the display showing the file names, you will see that they all have been renamed.

Do this for any other folder containing photo files that need renaming. It takes just a couple of seconds, but you do have to do it one folder at a time. You will find this quick and easy and fun to do.