First, does your camera have a Macro mode? This is usually denoted by a small flower icon, either as a mode to take pictures in, or a setting in one of your menus. If you have this, enable it and this will allow you to focus on closer subjects.
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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 such as Windows Photo Gallery or Picasa.
Go to the hardware store or even Walmart and pick up a couple of clip-on reflectors that use a standard-base light bulb. Purchase two "daylight" compact-fluorescent bulbs. Clip the units to some kind of stands and point the light on either side of your subject at 45-degree angles. Turn off the flash on your camera. Try to use a tripod if you have one. Your results will be spectacular!
If the camera was dropped or banged the lens could be damaged. Does it go in and out and can you take pictures? If not, the lens needs to be replaced.
If the built in lens covers will not close properly but the camera still takes pictures, it probably just needs to be cleaned or taken apart and rebuilt if one small spring has popped off from where it's supposed to be. Some cameras this is easy to do, don't know your camera model so I can't tell you if it's possible to do with yours.
Hope this helps!
Thomas Drayton Owner, www.darntoothysam.com Affordable Digital Camera Repair
This sounds like the program you are using to download the pics is set to erase them from the card when the download is complete. You need to dig into the program and adjust the settings. That's as much as I can tell you since I don't know what program you're using. Your camera is fine.
On most camers that means you are going to get a blurry photo because of camera shake. Using the flash should take care of it. You may have the flash set to "flash off" mode accidently, and in insufficient light the shutter speed is too slow to stop blur.