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Press the self-timer button to cycle through self-timer settings. The rectangle indicates normal shooting, the clock indicates self-timer. Depending on the shooting mode, you may also see overlapped rectangles for continuous shooting.
To change the delay time, select [Self-timer] from the Recording menu.
The self-timer button is the same as the down-arrow on the circular multi-selector, marked with a clock.
First you press the self timer button. Then press the shutter button to start the timer.
You can download the manual under the guides and manuals section at this link: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=183&modelid=14904#DownloadDetailAct
It's very hard to troubleshoot software problems online, and it likely is a software issue. But why put up with the headaches of bad software in the first place? Please see this article, as it describes the use of a card reader as a much easier, faster, and less error prone way to download your videos and photos.
I use an A550 and an A570, and when the batteries are getting low, they slow down between pics. Also, if the flash is used, IT has to recycle between uses, and THAT takes time. On MY cameras, I press the "function" button, and look for DRIVE mode to change timer settings. Hope this helps.
There's a button with a clock next to it. Press that button and put your camera where you want it. Press the shutter release half way, to get focused. When you press it the whole way down, the timer will start and you will have 8-10 seconds. There is normally a burst of a few flashes when it takes the picture.