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The best way to download pictures from your camera to your computer involves removing the memory card from the camera and plugging it into a card reader (either built-in to the computer or connected via USB or FireWire). This is likely to be faster than connecting the camera to the computer, and won't run down your camera's batteries.
Once the card is plugged in, it will appear to your computer as a removable drive. You can use the operating system's drag&drop facility to copy pictures from the card to the computer's hard drive, the same way you copy any other files. Or you can use any photo cataloging program.
You do not need cameras software to download pics from your camera, btw. Just plug in your camera to USB port and it shows as an external DRIVE or USB STORAGE device in your MYCOMPUTER folder. Just click on its drive letter and you are looking at your cameras memory.
Click on the folder called DCIM and then subfolder(s) named depending on camera model. For Panasonic it is 100_PANA for example. Click on this and here is your pics. View, Drag and Drop, Delete, etc any pic just as if it was already on your computer.
To down load all pics, Drag and Drop (or cut and paste)the whole pic folder (100_PANA for example) to a location on your computer, as \Documents\Pictures. To delete all pics on camera, right click on pics folder and delete 100_PANA folder. or folder where your pics show up on your camera.
You don't need camera's software to download pics. Just plug it into your PC and it will recognize it and pop up a windows base window ask you what you want to do with camera pics.
If it doesn't, goto MyComputer on your desktop and click on this. Your camera will be showing up here, along with your other computer hardware drive/devices, with a drive letter assigned to your cameras memory(flashdrive) and named USB Drive or Storage or Camera.
Click on this to find a folder named DCIM, Digital Computer IMages. Click on this and find another folder named 100_PANA or similar. Click on this and these are you pics. Drag and Drop or Copy and Paste individual pics, or whole PANA folder to where ever you want them on your computer.
A better long term solution to your problem for this and every other future camera you may buy is to buy a mini cardreader that is not much bigger than a USB Thumbdrive and costs about $15. I suggest SanDisk's MobileMate SD+, available at RadioShack, Staples, or most anywhere Mem cards are sold.
Advantages: No bulky and unique USB cable to lug around. Doesn't use cameras battery power while viewing/downloading pics cause it is USB port powered. And it is small enough to fit in most camera cases along with the camera..
This seems like a card or software error. If you are using the camera software[from the disc] to upload the images- remove the software[Start/ControlPanel/add/delete software] Windows does not need software to perform this task. If that fails Invest in a USB card reader and always use that to down load images.