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Copying photos from your phone to your PC is simple with a few readily available tools.

Is there a simple way to transfer pictures from my Samsung Galaxy S2 to my PC? I use Windows XP. I have Bluetooth on the phone. I don't know how to get Bluetooth on the PC. Is there any other way?

In this excerpt from Answercast #92 I look at some easy ways to get photos off a phone and on to your home computer.

Copy photos from phone

Actually, there are several different ways. The approach that I've been using lately is to use Dropbox.

Dropbox for smartphones

I'm not terribly familiar with that specific phone. I believe it's an Android-based smartphone. If it is then you can get Dropbox for that phone.

Install it on that phone and install it on your PC.

When you install it on your phone, you will be given the option of having Dropbox automatically upload each of the pictures that you take as soon as you take them. Once you do so, then the pictures will, also, automatically show up on any of the other computers on which happen to be running Dropbox. So... onto your PC.

Automatic uploads

I've been doing this for a while and it's actually pretty convenient. I will take a picture; I'll actually typically forget about it; and then I'll come back to my PC and take a look at the camera uploads folder in my Dropbox account - and sure enough there are these pictures that I took a little while back.

Even the videos will automatically get uploaded that way. So that's one recommendation.

Cable your phone

The other approach (and this is also the way that I was doing it before Dropbox) is to use a cable.

Chances are your phone came with a USB cable. That should allow you to attach your phone to your computer. When attached, your phone should be enabled to look like a disk drive to your computer. Potentially even more than one.

On one of those disk drives that is your phone look for a folder called "DCIM". It will be at the top of the drive; at the root of the drive. In that folder will be the pictures that you've taken and you can simply use Windows Explorer to then copy those picture files from your phone to your PC.

Be sure to backup

You may at that point want to make sure that you backup your photos. Maybe delete them from the phone to make space for more pictures and video, whatever makes sense for you.

But the point is that you can manage your photos by simply copying them using Windows Explorer once you've attached your phone as a disk drive to your PC.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6289 - January 31, 2013 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Melvin Batchelor
February 1, 2013 6:44 AM

Another simple method is to use wifi if you have it. With a file manager app like ES Strong or File Manager HD (there are several good wifi capable file manager apps in the Google Play Store) , it's easy to transfer files between your Android device and your PC without having to connect cables.

February 5, 2013 10:52 AM

Dropbox was a lifesaver for me! I had a lot of pictures on my phone when I added my gmail to my phone, and I thought well I'll just pull the sd card and put it in the computer and save them. but a small zap when I put the card in wiped out the entire disk! I was just SICK about it. Then I realized I had recently installed dropbox and lo and behold, all my lost pictures were there! Seriously I cried because I was so happy. Some of the pics were of my brother who had passed away a few months beforehand. So I highly recommend dropbox!

February 5, 2013 1:56 PM

I have an Android, I tried an app from the PLay Store that uses Bluetooth to transfer any file including pictures via bluetooth. Computer asks for your permission on each file before it transfers, which means you have to sit in front of your Pc the whole time. There may be some way around it but I gave up quickly. The app was easy and did all the work connecting bluetooth for you....but transfer rate was very slow. I went back to my cable, but I am going to try the "Dropbox automatic upload" that sounds like way to go.

Mark J
February 5, 2013 1:59 PM

An extra benefit of uploading the photos from your phone to DropBox, is that DropBox gives you an extra 500 MB of cloud storage for each 500 MB of photos or videos you upload. You can get up to to 3 extra GB from doing this. If you move those photos from DropBox, you still get to keep the extra 3GB.

Elizabeth K.
February 5, 2013 8:48 PM

When I take a photo with my Apple I Pad and want to keep it for ever, I just email it to my desk top and save in my pictures and every fwdays i transfer these phot
os to a portable stand alone hard drive kept especially for my photo's eazy peazy.

Robin Clay
February 12, 2013 9:47 AM

Elizabeth K. may find it "easy peasy", but I do HOPE she backs up that drive as well ! My add-on HD has just died....

Robin Clay
February 12, 2013 10:05 AM

... or even "eazy peazy" ;-)

ian tanner
February 14, 2013 10:20 PM

...or, as I've just done if you can't find the right cable, take out the memory card and put it in a card reader.

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