A co-worker was having problems getting her pictures off her camera, so I plugged it (via the USB cable) into my machine expecting to be able to see what was on it.

I saw an entry for the camera in "My Computer" (using XP), but it was not mounting the memory card as a drive - double-clicking the camera didn't seem to do anything.

Do I need special software to retrieve the images? The camera uses Compact Flash for storage.


3 Answers 3


The Compact Flash card should be readable by Windows, as it is in Windows format. Try taking the card out and plugging into a CF card reader. No drivers should be required to read the card or the camera. Make sure the camera can read the card and there are images on the card.

Edit: On the Rebel, go into Menu, and check Setup menu tab (1 or 2, don't recall and depends on exact model) If communication in the camera is set to "normal" you can only download with the Canon software. If it's set to "PTP" you can download using Win XP. Make sure its set to 'PTP".

  • \$\begingroup\$ PTP mode also allows older models to work with 64 bit versions of Vista/Windows 7, as well... \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5, 2011 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. This. Use standard protocols (PTP), not proprietary ones. Another option that some cameras support is USB mass storage device class, which essentially shows only the card in the camera to the computer. \$\endgroup\$
    – juhist
    Jul 5, 2019 at 12:58

No. As a matter, you do not even need the camera.

The best is simply to use a card reader. There are some for less than $10 and you can even buy multi-format ones for a little more. There are laptops and printers with readers built-in too.

Otherwise, some cameras do not mount the memory card as a drive. It is often possible to change that via a custom setting in the camera, something like 'Transfer Mode' which should be set to MSD (Mass Storage Device) or Computer.


I used RoboImport to download the images directly from my Digital Rebel without using flash-card on Windows XP. It was a few years ago.


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