You've taken your pictures, what do you do with them next? Edit them? Upload to your favourite social networking site? Or maybe show them on Flickr or Kodak Gallery? Or create a photogift on Snapfish or VistaPrint? Unless your camera supports direct upload you'll need to transfer the images to your computer first. Windows versions from XP onwards make this a really easy task to do. I'll show you  how easy it is.

The easiest way to transfer pictures to your computer or laptop is to use the built in card reader if you have one. Most P.C.'s and laptops built in the last 4 years or so will have one built in, if not many pound shops have Secure Digital (SD) card readers for sale. Most modern cameras take SD cards, except Sony who has it's own Memory Stick format.

Older cameras used differing formats, such as Smart Media, Compact Flash & XD Cards. Most modern computers have card readers that support these formats built in. If your's doesn't then skip the next section and scroll down to the section about connecting your camera to the computer.

Insert your card into the reader. You will see a dialogue box pop up. Usually it will say something like SD Card (E:). In this image it says 'Kodak'. E ralates to the drive letter assigned to the card as windows treats it as a removeable drive. The hard drive is usually C, the DVD or CD is D and the memory card E, unless you have more than one hard drive or the hard drive is partitioned.

You will see a list of programmes which you can use for the transfer. If you've installed the Windows Live components, use Windoiws Live Photo Gallery, if not select the 'Using Windows' option. These two options copy your images to the 'Pictures' folder under the 'Libraries' folder which you can select by clicking on the Windows Explorer icon in the taskbar. If you use your camera's own software it might copy them to a hard to find location.


Typical camera USB cable

Another dialogue box pops up, which offers you the chance to name the folder which will be created. If you leave this empty then it will create a folder with the date you transferred the images to the computer. There is also a check box you can select if you want the images on the card deleted after they've been transferred. This saves you the job of doing it in camera later.We've called the folder pointnshoottest.

After you've done that, the box changes and a progress bar appears. The name of the file currently being transferred (often the camera name and an ascending number or the folder name and a number) flashes up in the box. Single images copy very quickly, but if you've a large memory card full of pictures, or if you have large sized files it can feel slow. A full 4 gigabyte memory card on my 14Mp camera will take between 5 and 10 minutes to copy. The faster your processor the quicker it is. My laptop has a 2 Ghz Core 2 Duo processor, but i3, i5 and i7 processors are much quicker, as are high speed memory cards. The higher the class, the fater it will transfer over.

If you haven't got a card reader in your P.C. or laptop, or your images are on the camera's built in memory (remove any cards from the camera first, otherwise only the images on the card will copy), you have to connect your camera to your computer using the USB cable supplied with your camera. If you've not got the lead, they're usually easy to buy.

Fuji, Pentax, GE and Agfa use the same connection, many cameras especially older models) use the same connection as most MP3 players (not I-pods) and some phones and cameras  out use the mini HDMI connections similar to my Kodak (not HDMI) point 'n' shoot. Look and see if any of your devices that fits.

In the photo above, the large flat connector plugs into your computer's USB socket (the side with the image of 3 prongs faces upwards), whilst the small connector plugs into the socket on your camera. This is usually located beneath a rubber flap on the camera's side. The two images on the right illustrate this.

If this is the first time you've transferred images, you will get a 'New hardware found' box, and Windows will recognise the camera and install the correct driver for your camera. This should take a few minutes, on my laptop it was between two and five minutes, older ones will be slower, newer models faster.

You'll get a dialogue box similar to the one in the second picture. If you installed your camera's own software, thiis might load. If your happy to use it, select it , otherwise select 'Using Windows' or 'Windows Live Photo Gallery'. Name your intended folder, and then click OK. There's a tick box in the dialogue box to click if you want the images deleting, if you don't need them on the card or camera anymore click it. The images will copy to your computer, and will be found in the Pictures folder. If you click on the Windows Explorer icon in the task bar (a sandy coloured folder) it defaults to the 'Libraries' folder. The 'Pictures' library has been highlighted in tis image. All folders are stored in alpha numerical and date order. Scroll down to the required folder and double click it. To view a photo, just double click on the thumbnail.

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