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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. Or you can use Nikon Transfer or any other photo cataloging program.
The next time your pics are safely on your computer, put the card back into the camera, go into the menu and find "format"....follow the on-screen instructions to completely erase and optimize your card. The 7 pics should be gone.
And your question was?
A new CCD for £128 - that is a total bargain. If you think you can buy a camera half as good as the D40 for RM750 you are deluded... although I agree that the CCD shouldn't have gone in such a short time - I would guess that Nikon UK would have repaired it on good faith - as long as the camera was obviously in otherwise good condition.
You may know this already, but you don't need the camera to upload photos. I have used Nikon Digital SLRs for several years and have never uploaded from the camera. You should be able to do so, but in the mean time, remove the SD card and use a SD card reader. If your PC doesnt have a built in SD reader, get a USB version like the SanDisk MicroMate or get SD with a built-in USB plug(see attached photos for both. When connected to your PC, either will show up as a removeable drive on your PC from which you can copy the files onto your PC's harddrive: save the photos, back them up, then use the camera to format the SD card--this is the best way to clear/erase the card. Then try opening the photos with the Nikon software or photoshop or if they are jpegs, windows will view them. Using the camera to upload photos, in my opinion, should only be done when you do not have a way to read the SD card. This can be the begining of a productive workflow and part of the process for organizing and backing up photographs. You should also watch the Nikon website for software updates to fix bugs: http://support.nikontech.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/61 You should also check for firmware updates for your camera(1.11 is the latest for the D40 and no updates yet on the D40x): http://support.nikontech.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/13783
There's a couple things to try so dont panic... yet.
first I need to know if you used the software everytime you connected your camera to the computer or did you save them on the computer and then use the software to organize them. From the sounds of it. You used the software from the getgo.
Did you ever format your memory card since the downloads or did you just delete the photos?
Let me know about those and I will try to duplicate the situation on my computer to see where to go from here.