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ALTERNATE WAY TO TRANSFER PHOTOS TO COMPUTER If your photos are stored on the memory card, then remove the memory card from the camera and insert it into an USB memory card reader. Connect this USB memory card reader and memory card into the USB port of your working computer. Your computer will see this as an USB Mass Storage Device or an external storage device; you can then open the folder on the memory card and copy the photos to your computer. Memory card reader is a handy device and is inexpensive. You can copy photos from other cameras and you can also download photos off your memory card to someone else's computer without the need of installing any programs.
Consider NOT connecting your camera to your computer.
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.
how are you actually downloading to PC - if you are putting the card into the PC and copying that way - make sure you have all the sub directories selected - cameras do create multiple sub-directories
it may also be able t recovery the files OFF the memory card, even after deleting and erasing
have a look at this software "digital image recovery" its free software http://www.z-a-recovery.com/
Try this, it may work without the software.
Turn off the camera. Plug the usb cable between the camera and the computer. Turn on the camera. If a box pops up on the computer asking what you want to do, scroll down and see if there is an option to view pictures. If a window opens up with all your pictures on it, great. Now open up a folder where you want to put your pictures. Bring up the other window with the pictures in it and hit the control key and the d key at the same time on your keyboard. Then drag your pictures to the window where you want them and let go of the mouse key. They should all move over. Then you can use Windows image viewer to see them. Let me know if that works.
Yes, you can download it from the Nikon website. In the UK, you need to go to the customer services section, create and account or log in, the select your camera model, and then click the software tab. Nikon View 6.2.7 Full Version is in the list. I would imagine that the procedure is similar for other nikon worldwide sites, though I don't know if you need to log in at all of them.
Alternatively, you can go into the camera setup menu, and change the USB mode from PTP to Mass Storage (I think you can do this on the 3100). Then you can use windows to simply copy the pictures over.