Using a card reader with windows explorer

 

news and overview

Adobe Photoshop Album has been replaced with Photoshop Express (Photoshop.com) which is how the bug reporting site, and the new photos place is AdobeRevel.com and is now for pay.

Using Google Picasa or Adobe Photoshop Album is by far the easiest way to get pictures off a card reader.

For future reference, the [windows-logo-flag-key] is the little flag key between the Ctrl key and the Alt key.windows-logo key or flag key

You should also know that your card reader makes cards show up as "removeable" drive letters (E:, F:, G:, H:, I:) within applications such as Photoshop, Picasa, or Windows Explorer.

the general rules when using memory cards to keep data in good condition

After you are done using the card, don't just unplug the card or it could corrupt the filesystem on the card. instead, click the usb plug green check usb-plug-green-check then disconnect the removabel drive:disconnect removable drive.

about memory card folder structure

DCIM
  +---+100NIKON (or 100PHOTO or 100whatever)
      +200MOVIE
      +300SOUND
EBOOK (optional)
MP3  (optional)

anything else that doesn'rt start with the 100, 200, or 300 you can probably cut and paste the directory. the device will probably recreate the folders for you. in fact, I have seen even the 100-300 directories and the DCIM folder recreated, but not the format, that has to be done separately.

usually memory cards are usable without formatting.

how long are memory cards good for?

industrial flash is good for 3 years of continuous nonstop use. I don't know about commercial flash.

using windows explorer and a memory card reader

most picture programs like picasa and finepix viewer won't copy videos. windows explorer will.

FORMATTING THE CARD: You should always format the card in your camera or device before you use it the first time. don't use Windows to format the card, because it won't work right. I tried. If you start getting mangled files, it's time to format the card. since it takes a while, you should do this on full batteries or do it with the ac adapter or the USB cable that came with the camera connected between the camera and the computer (always label your cable, and make sure you use some Scotch tape so the label stays!).

DRIVERS FOR THE CARD READER:

Usually drivers are not needed, but if it is needed, The first time you use your card reader, you may need to insert the drivers cd for it FIRST and install the drivers via its setup program.

hopefully, this is automatic when you insert the cd, but it isn't always. If you have to, bring up a windows explorer ([windows-logo-flag-key]-E) and search for setup on the cd: make sure the folders button is depressed. expand the DVD/CD drive (probably D:) by clicking on D: on the left-hand-side (whatever drive has the cd icon). in the right side pane somewhere the setup program should appear after about a minute when the cdrom spins up.

If you get an error, retry. If you get too many errors, you may have dirt or smudges or scratches on the cd, and you may need to take it and get it resurfaced. there may be a place in town, usually a movie rental place, that resurfaces cd's for a fee, but you can try washing it with dishwashing detergent and water and see if that cleans it up - dry with terry towel, and don't touch the shiny surface.

hold it by the edges, and /or you can stick your pinky finger in the hub of the cd to hold it. don't set it shiny side down on a table where there's scratchy dust or gooey Pledge. keep it in its sleeve when you are not using it.

usage:

1. plug the card reader in, and then Insert the card into the card reader, and then wait for thedink sound that it's connected to USB.

2. Bring up 2 windows explorers: hold down the [windows-logo-flag-key] windows logo keyand hit the E key, or do Start|Programs|Accessories|Windows Explorer, or hold down the windows-logo-key windows logo keyand hit the R key and type in explorer and hit Enter, or you can do Start|All Programs|Acessories|Windows Explorer. All 4 do the same thing.

3. resize the windows by first double-clicking on the title bars so they aren't full-screen - make them half-width and put them side-by-side.

4. make sure the folders button is depressed on both.

your left window is for the card. your right window is for your destination/target folders.

folder button down

5. if you have installed the drivers for your card reader, you might see the card type listed next to the drive letter. look for your card type (like above).

otherwise, your card reader will be shown as "Removable Disk" in teh left side pane and you will have to explore around to see which one of those contains folders - one of those folders contains your pictures. for DVD or cd-rom drives, they show up with a cd icon and/or a name that is easily identifiable (see above).

6. Look for a DCIM folder in the left side pane. that is where your pictures are stored on the card.

7. Expand folders in the left side pane on the card reader drives to find your pictures: you can browse those folders to get at your pictures by clicking on the + with the square around it next to the drive letter or folder you want to expand. folders can have folders inside them.

you will get nothing on the right side pane if there is nothing on the device. You will get an error if there is no disk or card.

8. click on a folder such as DCIM on the left side to view its contents on the right side.
9. click the + in the little square box in front of the folder to expand the folder (you can also double-click on a folder to expand the folder - the plus makes less work).
The camera may or may not stores pictures in dated folders, one folder for each day, and for my Minolta Z20, the folder name is just like a date, except that the year looks odd.
the pictures are numbered sequentially.
For Multimedia devices like the Vivitar D560, there is a DCIM folder, and under it are folders in the following structure:

+--DCIM
|   +--100PIX
|   +--200WAV
|   +--300MOV
+--EBOOK
+--MP3   

or something thereabouts.... your mileage may vary. EBOOK and MP3 we don't care about.

10. Windows XP/Vista: to view thumbnails of the pictures, from the menu choose View|Thumbnails.
view|thumbnails
Windows XP/Vista: To get to Filmstrip view (bigger view of pictures) and rotate them if need be, do View|Filmstrip.
view|filmstrip

later you will click on one and select all with ctrl-a, and then ctrl-x to cut the files to the invisible clipboard.
then you will make a new folder somewhere by right-clicking on a blank area in the right pane and picking new|folder somewhere in "My Videos" and immediately typing the name you want for the folder.
then you will right-click on the folder you just made and pick Paste.
then you are done with the videos.

but you may have pictures which go into "My Pictures" and sound files which go into "My Music" and videos which go into "My Videos" left on the memory card left, and they are in separate directorties under DCIM. same basic procedure for those.

11. for now, click on the DCIM folder on the left side pane of the left window.

for step 12, choose between copy-paste method or copy-paste-delete method.

cut-paste method

to cut the pictures from your hard disk to the clipboard (My Pictures - C:\documents and settings\yourusername\my documents\my pictures on 2000/2003/XP, C:\users\yourusername\Documents\Pictures on Vista/7), first you need to select your pictures. Make sure you are in thumbnail view. (in windows 9x/ME you don't have that feature, so any view is fine - the more files you can view the better, try list).

12. The easiest way to select pictures is to select all (Ctrl-A). The most dangerous way is to hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the pictures you want (it is too easy to *open* all of the ones you have selected which is very messy and chews up memory!). However, with this you can pick individual pictures instead of just a range.

The safest way is to do a range selection: left click on the first item you want, and hold down the shift key and left-click on the last item you want. Or if you only have 1 picture, just left-click on that picture and it is selected.
Next, copy them to the invisible clipboard: either hold down the Ctrl key and hit the X key (Ctrl-X), or from the menu do Edit|Cut, or right-click on one of the selected pictures and pick Cut. Now all those pictures should be moved to the clipboard. or,
right-click, Copy

FOR PICTURES: Now to make a new folder to put the pictures in - you can organize them by date or by subject:
13. Browse to the top of Windows Explorer to My Documents in the left pane, click on the little square box with a plus in it in front of My Documentsplus in front of my documents to expand it and get to My Pictures. 14. Left-click on My Pictures in the left pane of the right window. 15. In the right pane of the right window, right-click on a blank area in the right pane of the right window and pick New, Folder, and IMMEDIATELY type the name you wish the folder to have, then hit Enter. 16. if you make a mistake and it's finished editing, hit F2 and start typing in the proper name and hit Enter (be careful you don't change the file extension [.jpg]).
right-click, new|folder

my pictures,right-click,new|folder

17. Now to paste the items from the clipboard into the new folder: right-click on the folder you just created, and pick Paste.
right-click, paste

18. If you browse into that folder you should see the photos/files you pasted. if you don't, something went wrong along the way: start over from the selection instructions (step 12).
repeat the process starting at selection.

19.After you are done using the card, don't just unplug the card or it could corrupt the filesystem on the card. instead, click the usb plug green check usb-plug-green-check then disconnect the removabel drive:disconnect removable drive.

copy-paste-delete method

to copy the pictures to your hard disk (My Pictures - C:\documents and settings\yourusername\my documents\my pictures on 2000/2003/XP, C:\users\yourusername\Documents\Pictures on Vista/7), first you need to select your pictures. Make sure you are in thumbnail view. (in windows 9x/ME you don't have that feature, so any view is fine - the more files you can view the better, try list).

12. The easiest way to select pictures is to select all (Ctrl-A). \The most dangerous way is to hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the pictures you want (it is too easy to open all of the ones you have selected which is very messy and chews up memory!). However, with this you can pick individual pictures instead of just a range.

The safest way is to do a range selection: left click on the first item you want, and hold down the shift key and left-click on the last item you want. Or if you only have 1 picture, just left-click on that picture and it is selected.
Next, copy them to the invisible clipboard: either hold down the Ctrl key and hit the C key (Ctrl-C), or from the menu do Edit|Copy, or right-click on one of the selected pictures and pick Copy. Now all those pictures should be copied to the clipboard. or,
right-click, Copy

FOR PICTURES: Now to make a new folder to put the pictures in - you can organize them by date or by subject:
13. Browse to the top of Windows Explorer to My Documents in the left pane, click on the little square box with a plus in it in front of My Documentsplus in front of my documents to expand it and get to My Pictures. 14. Left-click on My Pictures in the left pane of the right window. 15. In the right pane of the right window, right-click on a blank area in the right pane of the right window and pick New, Folder, and IMMEDIATELY type the name you wish the folder to have, then hit Enter. 16. if you make a mistake and it's finished editing, hit F2 and start typing in the proper name and hit Enter (be careful you don't change the file extension [.jpg]).
right-click, new|folder

my pictures,right-click,new|folder

17. Now to paste the items from the clipboard into the new folder: right-click on the folder you just created, and pick Paste.
right-click, paste

18. If you browse into that folder you should see the photos/files you pasted. if you don't, something went wrong along the way: start over from the selection instructions (step 12).
repeat the process starting at selection.

now we go back and delete the photos on the card.

19. Go back to the card folder you want to delete, and re-select the pictures you need to delete off the card which you just copied if they are not already selected.

Either hit the Delete key, or right-click on one of the pictures/files you selected and pick Delete.
right-click, Delete
repeat the delete process on as many files/pictures as you feel is necessary, including unwanted photos, videos, .wav files. If you can, leave the DCIM and other folders there.

20. After you are done using the card, don't just unplug the card or it could corrupt the filesystem on the card. instead, click the usb plug green check usb-plug-green-check then disconnect the removabel drive:disconnect removable drive.

CARD SAFETY?

I was told by a photographer that using Cut (Ctrl-X or Shift-Del) and Paste(Ctrl-V or Shift-Ins) was not a safe method of getting pictures off of the card - he lost pictures that way (his USB port may have been damaged by too much plugging and unplugging or bending and became flaky, I don't know).

I have had no problems on my near-permanently installed card reader. It's on a hub. However, I have also been careful to avoid placing my card near static, and washing machines aren't good for it either, and I don't keep plugging my USB devices in and out (messes up the port physically!).

That may have been what he was running into - a flaky port.

So if you have a flaky port, use a different port! If you want to save your precious computer USB ports, use a hub! USB hubs are cheap - computer ports cost you a whole new computer or possibly a replacement USB card.

After you are done using the card, don't just unplug the card or it could corrupt the filesystem on the card. instead, click the usb plug green check usb-plug-green-check then disconnect the removabel drive:disconnect removable drive.

Deleting Photos off a Card

(you can't do this on a cd-rom by the way, but you can on a cd-rw or dvd-rw). Go back to the folder on the card, and re-select the pictures you need to delete off the card which you just copied (If you used Copy instead of Cut or you used Picasa or you didn't Delete):

Left-click on the first picture you want to select. hold down the shift key and left-click on the last picture you want to select as a range.
Either hit the Delete key, or right-click on one of the pictures/files you selected and pick Delete.
right-click, Delete
repeat the delete process on as many files/pictures as you feel is necessary, including unwanted photos, videos, .wav files. If you can, leave the DCIM and other folders there.

open a picture in favorite picure editor

Left-double-click on a photo to "Open" the picture in your picture editor. this will bring it up in teh default viewer/editor (depending on how your software is set up).

if that's not your favorite picture editor and you have multiple of them installed, start your favorite picture editor, choose File, Open, browse to your picture file(s), select and open them.

Windows XP/Vista: Rotating a picture

browse in the left side to the folder that has the pictures (like the new one you created).
click on that folder so its contents appear in the right side.
from the menu, do View|Filmstrip if you aren't already in that mode (where you get to see a larger view of pictures and there are 2 small green triangular rotate buttons, or you can right-click on the photo and pick Rotate Clockwise or Rotate Counter-Clockwise).
left-click on the photo you want to rotate on the right side at the bottom.
click one of the green rotate buttons under the bigger image to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise (think analog clocks/watches that have hands. Think of the direction the hands move).
rotate
you can also right click on an image and pick Rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise.
right-click, rotate

Congratulations. If you understood things so far, you now know how to shuffle files around on your computer. There are a lot of people who don't know how to do that. And you know how to get files off of a picture cd-rom even if it is giving you errors when you insert the cd-rom (ignore the errors). you can get your pictures anyway.