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How Come My Computer Won’t Let Me Import Pictures and Videos?

Your computer should detect removable media like SD cards, external hard drives, cameras and smartphones. If the computer doesn’t automatically detect the media, it may still show up as a disk drive, but you won’t be able to automatically import your photos and videos from the media to your hard drive. Whether the problem lies with your external device or your computer settings, a few tweaks will help you easily copy photos and videos from one device to another.

Missed Connections

Check whether all of the connections between your device and the computer are working properly. To see whether the device is connected, type “Computer” into your Charms search and open to see a list of drives and connected media. If your device isn’t listed, the computer isn’t detecting it. Remove the media from the port that it’s connected to and try plugging it into alternate ports, using alternate cables. Test your USB ports, SD readers and other connections with different media to see whether the problem lies with your external device or with the port itself.

Settings Struggles

Make sure your device is set up to share its files with Windows. For example, Bluetooth devices should be turned on and paired to your computer. The Bluetooth feature on your computer also needs to be turned on. Phones and tablets should be set to connect as a disk drive or a media device. Some camera models need to have the power turned on to share photos with the computer, too.

Hardware Changes

If your computer isn’t detecting your device after the device has been powered on properly and set up to connect to the computer, force Windows to scan for hardware updates. Type “Computer” on the Start screen, right-click the Computer icon and then click “Properties.” From the Action menu, click “Scan for Hardware Changes.” If the computer is able to detect your device, it should show up in the menu. Double-click the name of the device to see its status and the error code associated with the device, if applicable.

Import Options

To import your photos with the default Windows program, open the “Photos” program, right-click in the window and then click “Import.” As long as the removable media is being detected by your computer, you’ll be able to import photos from that media to your computer. You can also right-click on the icon for the removable drive and choose the “Import” option to start the process. If you want to copy them directly from your removable media, then select the photos you want to move to your hard drive and drag them into the appropriate folder.