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Published on 05.25.07 by Brent Trahan

Import Pictures from Your Digital Camera to Windows Photo Gallery

Import pictures from your digital camera to Windows Photo Gallery for Windows Vista without third party software.


This guide shows you how to import pictures from your digital camera to Windows Photo Gallery for Windows Vista. You don’t need the bulky software that comes with your digital camera. Windows Vista will import the pictures for you as long as it finds the drivers for the camera when you plug it in for the first time.

Import Pictures

  1. Plug your digital camera into your computer. Most digital cameras use a USB cable.
  2. Turn your digital camera on and change its mode to enable it to be accessed by your computer if need be. See your digital camera’s manual if you need help with this.
  3. If this is the first time your digital camera has been plugged in your computer drivers will need to be installed. Windows Vista will do this automatically for you.
  4. An Auto Play window will pop-up asking you what to do. Since we’re importing picture from the digital camera lets select Import Pictures.


    Note: If you don’t want the auto play window to pop-up every time you plug in your digital camera check off Always do this for pictures before you click Import Pictures in the Auto Play window.

  5. Before Windows Vista imports the pictures it lets you tag them. Think of tagging as associating a word like beach or sunset with the pictures. The tag you give the pictures that are about to be imported will be included in the name of the pictures by default. You can always add more tags to each picture after it’s imported.


    Note: You can change import settings by clicking Options. I’ll explain the import settings later in this guide.

  6. Click Import and Windows Vista will start importing the pictures from your digital camera to your computer.


    Check off Erase after importing to erase the photos from your digital camera after Windows Vista imports them.

Import Settings

You can change the import settings by clicking Options in the Import Pictures and Video window.


Import to: Change the location the digital pictures will be saved when imported.

Folder name: Change how the folder the imported pictures will be imported to will be named.

File name: Change how the importer gives each imported picture its name.

An example of all the settings above will show up next to Example.

There are a few other options you can change but I think they speak for themselves and don’t need any explanation.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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26 Responses to “Import Pictures from Your Digital Camera to Windows Photo Gallery”

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  1. Michael says:

    My recently imported folder is getting full (or actually “busy”). How do I empty it without deleting the picture from my computer? Is there a setting on this folder to automatically delete after some time?

  2. Greg says:

    Why on earth cant I select which photos I want to import? The old importer was so much more practical, you could choose which photos you wanted to import to your pc. Now, its by default ALL PHOTOS. But when you have 100+ photos, and only want the last 5 you took, its a royal pain in the arse. Poor job Microsoft.

    • Amy says:

      i am so relieved to know that i have not gone crazy!!! i had to use a recovery disk to save my computer recently and it wiped out all the programs, pictures, etc. all i have is the completely confusing version of photo gallery and i’ve been looking everywhere for what i’m guessing is not to be found. i’m very disappointed that they changed that feature. i too like to chose which pictures to import and which to leave. is there no way to get back the old version? ugh!

    • Marianne says:

      Recently had my computer serviced and I guess a new version or update of Vista was installed. Little did I know what a problem that would cause. So glad to know I’m not the only one pulling my hair out over this! I’m sooo frustrated. I, too, only want to load the last 8 photos from my camera. Now I have to load all 302 pictures. Very bad design. Not happy!!!

    • Donna says:

      you can still choose the pictures you want. simply tell your pc not to import them. but instead to open the file for view. Once your inside the file you can pick and choose what picture you want to burn to a CD or DVD disk. Then grab the picture and drop it, into

  3. Jeffrey says:

    Same comment as Gregg. A surprise from Microsoft. The option to import what you want is so…Apple or Macintosh.

  4. Janaka says:

    I’m trying to import pictures to computer,but it says “the fllowing error occurred while importing MOV00865.MPG:ACCES DENIED” Then i asked skip all filles with error it import pictures but i can’t find any where ,pls HELPPP

  5. Matt says:

    I strongly recommend that you NOT check the delete after importing box – vista does not recognize when you have video mixed in with your pictures. If you follow this process, you will only get the very first frame of each video and everything else will be erased.

    This is not an effective import mechanism – it’s too easy to screw up.

  6. Margie says:

    I have a question regarding a recent change that occured on my computer. I have a Micorsoft Vista Home Premium. Up to recently, when I inserted an SD card in a built-in card reader, only new pictures were imported. Now, I can not work around it. Vista wants to import all 1040 pictures found on my SD card. My import settings are:
    Folder name: Date taken + Tag
    File name: Original File name
    Tried many different settings since, just can not work around it. Most troubling is that I had made no changes prior to this. How do I fix this?
    Thank you for any comments.

  7. Margie says:

    I do not believe so. Are you suggesting that I do that?

    • Brent Trahan says:

      No. Sometimes installing additional software will change settings.

      • Margie says:

        Got it. Even if something re-set the settings, how do I fix it? Do you have an idea what I need to do to force my computer to import only new pictures from SD card. Despite of trying different settings, nothing works.
        Thanks again.

  8. Emily says:

    Hey, I’m having the same problem as Margie. Also for awhile when I inserted the SD card I got a prompt asking me which folder within my pictures folder (the ones I renamed according to event)I wanted to import to. I am no longer getting that option and it creates a new folder by date. I have many duplicates since I have not formated the SD card in awhile. Cutting and pasting is too time consuming. Anyone know why that prompt disappeared?

  9. Margie says:

    Well, I finally solved my photo gallery problem. I just downloaded Windows Live. Windows Live Photo Gallery is logical,easy to organize, you can choose what pictures computer will download from you camera. Highly recommend it. It is much more user friendly c/w Vista’s photo galery.

  10. Brooke says:

    When I go to import pictures through a usb cord it says that there are no new pictures to import when there actually are. So I took a new picture just to see if someone else had already imported the ones I was trying to upload, and it still said that there are no new pictures to upload.

  11. Islam Adel says:

    Got Error 80004005 While importing Photos from my iPhone with windows live photo gallery.
    it always got stuck at a certain MOV file!
    resolved issue by deleting the movie (manual copy before), import next time without errors :)

  12. Candace says:

    Hi. I’m having the same problem with Vista Home Premium. I insert my SD card and it wants to reload ALL the photos on the card rather than just the new ones. Margie, are you saying Windows Live Photo gallery works so that you have a choice of only uploading the new ones? Has MS fixed this problem with an update lately? Help!!

  13. zisel says:

    well, I don’t think it is a hard work.

    1. Connect the camera to your computer by using the camera’s USB cable.
    2.open the photo gallery tool
    3.clik”add”botton, view and imput the picture.
    What’s more, You may need the help of this cool tool—iFunia 3D photo gallery, You won’t need any flash programming skills to start making your first 3D photo gallery.

  14. Ellen says:

    Zisel, I am having the same gripe along with everyone else! And sorry if this is a stupid question, but where is the “photo gallery tool”? And will using this tool allow me to CHOOSE and import pictures individually instead of downloading ALL PICTURES I have on my memory card? Thanks for any help you can give me! If anyone else has figured out how to do this, PLEASE let me know! I have tons of duplicate pics on my computer now and it’s a royal mess!!! HELP!!!

  15. jerry says:

    I imported several pictures from my camera using the usb cable. Only half are on the computer, the others are gone. My sd disc is empty and I can’t locate them on my computer.

  16. Taylor says:

    Hi, i recently got a new canon camera and when i upload my stuff to windows live photo gallery, it doesn’t accept the .MOV video files. why? how can i fix this? i need to for a video project.
    thank you!

  17. Jenna says:

    I have been having problems when i connect my camera to my laptop. Im trying to upload pictures and when i plug my camera into my computer, absolutely NOTHING happens. No windows pop up, no autoplay screens appear, nothing! I went to the computer page to see if i could just click on my camera and import the pictures that way but my camera is not even listed under the list of connected drives. I know for a fact my camera is connected to my laptop though. I just have no idea why nothing happens when i connect it

  18. photographer says:

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  19. SADAQAH says:

    I have a different way for this.Here is the simplest method:
    Connect the camera to your computer by using the camera’s USB cable.
    Turn on the camera.
    In the dialog box that appears, click Import using Windows to copy pictures to your computer.
    Connecting a camera to a computer with a USB cable.

  20. eli says:

    Just imported 500 pictures also hit erase box now i have none of the pic’s on my sd card and none of the 500 showing anywhere in my files .Anyone know what happened and how i can find the imported ones? Thankyou!

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