I always used the "Import Pictures and Videos" feature to transferring photos and videos to my computer from a camera, memory card, or USB drive. But during a Windows 10 update, this great little program was lost. Windows tried to get me to use their "Photos" app instead, which did not even come close to doing what I wanted to do. "Windows Photo Gallery" program would sort of work for importing pictures, but even this disappeared.

I learned that the old "Import Pictures and Videos" program is still in Windows 10; it just isn't readily available or obvious to most users. There are numerous ways to get to it, including changing registry keys. But the method presented on this page is simple, and perfect for those who are not comfortable tweaking the Windows registry.

Here are the steps I took to reclaim my preferred method of importing pictures. Follow these steps to create a shortcut on your desktop; then use this shortcut to start the "Import Pictures and Videos" program. After making the shortcut, you can pin it to your start menu and/or task bar if these are your preferred locations for starting programs.

Okay, here we go!

First, in a blank spot on your Windows desktop, do a right-click.
From the resulting pop-up menu, select "New":

On the next menu, select "Shortcut":

This will bring up a Create Shortcut window:

In the area where it says "Type the location of the item", enter the following text, exactly as typed in the next paragraph. (You may select it from the next paragraph, then copy it (Ctrl-C) to your clipboard, and then paste it (Ctrl-V) in the dialog box.)

%SystemRoot%\system32\rundll32.exe "%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Windows Photo Viewer\photoAcq.dll",PhotoAndVideoAcquire

So now your Create Shortcut window will now look like this:

Now click the "Next" button. This will take you to the next screen where you can "Type a name for this shortcut":

We don't want the suggested name of rundll32.exe. So type over it with a meaningful name such as Import Pictures and Videos.

Then click the "Finish" button.

You should now have a new shortcut on your desktop that looks something like this:

You can use that shortcut to launch the "Import Photos and Videos" program...just like old times!

If you want this on your Start Menu and/or your Taskbar, you can right-click on the newly-created desktop shortcut, then select "Pin to Start" or "Pin to taskbar", or both:

To rearrange the newly created items on your Start Menu or Taskbar, just drag them to where you want them to be.


OPTIONAL: Here's a brief review on how to use the Import Pictures and Videos program.

When you double-click on the desktop shortcut, the program starts with this window:

Or, if you have a camera connected, a memory card inserted, or a USB drive connected, it might show those devices in the window:

Select the device you want to import from.
Then click the "Import" button.

The device will be scanned for pictures and videos:

Then a window will appear, giving you a chance to change import settings:

If you click on "More options" in the lower left, you will get:

This is where you can change the folder location where images and videos will be imported and stored on your computer. Here you can also change the name that will be given to the subfolders, and the name given to the actual imported picture files themselves. You can also indicate whether or not you want the files deleted from your device after they are imported (perhaps safest to uncheck this box until you are comfortable importing with this program).

Clicking the "OK" button will return you again to the previous window:

From here, you can click the "Next" button.

You will now see a window showing the pictures broken down into groups by date:

You can check or uncheck boxes depending on whether you want to import everything, or just select folders.
Tip: Moving the "Adjust groups" slider in the lower right will give you finer control over how the pictures are broken down into separate folders.

Click where each group says "Enter a name" if you want to customize the folder and/or file names:



When you are satisfied with your customized settings, press the "Import" button. The selected pictures and videos will now be imported. Then either a File Explorer window will open to the folder containing the imported files, or you will have to navigate to it yourself, depending on which "More options" you chose.

That's it...good luck!