Can’t import photos on Windows 10? Try these solutions

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • Importing photos from external devices has been an ongoing ache for Windows 10 users for quite a while now.
  • Instead of going through the troubleshooting process, why not go for an alternative solution packed with bonus features? Try Adobe Bridge!
  • Check out our Photo Software page fore more time-saving solutions.
  • Don't ignore the signs your OS is giving you and make sure to address all issues as soon as you spot them thanks to our Windows 10 Errors Hub.
Windows 10

Ever since Windows 10 was launched, users encountered issues when trying to import photos from their external devices (camera, phones) to their computers.

Microsoft’s forum is flooded with user complaints regarding these issues, but it seems Microsoft did not hurry to find a solution.

When Windows 10 users try to import photos from, let’s say, their camera to their laptop, various error messages may appear on the screen: An error has occurred while attempting to import. Either the source is unavailable or the destination is full or read-only or Something went wrong. Try again or cancel.

Other users simply had a message informing them there were no photos found on their camera card.

How can I fix photo importing issues on Windows 10?

Photo importing is a useful feature, but sometimes issues with it can occur. Speaking of importing issues, users reported the following problems:

  • Windows 10 photo import something went wrong – According to users, sometimes they might get Something went wrong while trying to import photos. This can be a big problem, but you might be able to fix it by using one of our solutions.
  • Photo importing Windows 10 denied – Sometimes you might get a message saying that your access is denied to a specific directory. This can be a big problem, but you can fix it by choosing a different import directory.
  • Windows 10 Photo app not importing – According to users, sometimes you might not be able to import photos using the Photos app on your PC. If that’s the case, be sure to check your camera settings.
  • Photo import not working, very slow – In some cases, you might not be able to import photos at all. This can occur due to your antivirus, so you might have to disable it or uninstall it.

1. Download Adobe Bridge CC

Adobe Bridge

If Windows 10 just won’t let you import photos, you might want to consider acquiring a third-party app. You can, of course, go through the entire troubleshooting process (and you can rest assured that we will guide you through it, step by step in the following solutions).

However, if you wish to get an alternative solution fast and to get on with your import, we suggest you download Adobe Bridge.
The Bridge is a powerful asset manager that lets you preview, manage, modify and publish multiple assets easily, plus it imports photos from devices flawlessly.

You can also import pics from Adobe Stock and various libraries since the Bridge integrates seamlessly with these apps. Needless to say, you will enjoy a wide range of additional features that will definitely come in handy like organization tools, filters, and search options.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Import photos and videos from your mobile or digital camera
  • Bulk import, export and preview Libraries assets
  • Transparency support for PSDs
  • Batch export to JPEG
  • Edit photo capture time
  • Export/ Import network cache
  • Native PDF Output Module
  • Easy upload of images to Adobe Stock
  • Quick organization and stacking of HDR images
  • Drag-and-drop option

Download Adobe Bridge CC free


2. Change your security settings

  1.  Right-click on the Pictures folder in File Explorer. Now click on Properties.
    Windows 10 photo import something went wrong
  2. Click on the Security tab.
    Windows 10 Photo app not importing
  3. Under Group or Username click on HomeUsers.
  4. Under Permissions for System click on Full Control.
  5. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for Administrators under Group or Username.
  6. If you don’t see the downloaded photos, restart your Windows 10 device and import them again.

The good news is that Microsoft is planning to patch these issues with its Redstone update later this year, as Axel R. confirms on Microsoft’s forum:

There was an issue with the recognition of some card readers (only SATA-based readers, often found as integrated readers in slightly older laptops, or as 3rd-party multi-reader add-ons, but less common than USB-based card readers found on most machines nowadays).
That particular fix will likely be in Windows 10 “Redstone” later this year, I don’t know if (but hope that) it will also be released in an upcoming “patch Tuesday” servicing update to Windows 10 “1511” before that […].

If you can’t transfer photos from your iPhone to your Windows 10 computer, check out this fix.


3. Restore default settings for Pictures folder

According to users, sometimes your settings can cause problems with photo importing on Windows 10. However, several users reported that they fixed the issue simply by restoring default settings to the Pictures directory.

This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Locate the Pictures directory, right-click it and choose Properties from the menu.
  2. Go to Location tab and click the Restore Default. Now click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    Photo importing Windows 10 denied

After doing that, your Pictures directory will be restored to its default location and the problem with photo importing should be resolved.


4. Check your camera settings

If you’re having photo importing problems on your PC, the issue might be your camera settings. If you’re trying to import pictures from your camera, be sure to check your camera settings.

According to users, if your USB connection settings are set to Auto on your camera, you won’t be able to transfer your photos.

To fix the problem, open your camera settings and make sure to choose MTP or PTP mode before trying to import your photos.

This issue also affects your phone as well, so be sure that you set the connection method to MTP or PTP on your phone before you try to import pictures.


Media Transfer Protocol doesn’t work on Windows 10? Check out this guide to fix the problem in no time.


5. Check your antivirus

Your antivirus is a crucial component of your operating system since it will keep you safe from malware, but your antivirus can also cause photo importing issues to appear.

All cameras and phones connect to a PC via USB cable, and many antivirus tools will block USB devices by default in order to prevent the spreading of malware.

However, sometimes this feature can prevent you from importing photos to your PC, and in order to fix the problem, you need to check your antivirus settings.

Several users are recommending to disable your firewall during photo import, while others suggest allowing Runtime Broker to go through your firewall.

If that doesn’t work, you might be able to fix the problem simply by disabling your antivirus. If you can’t find the feature that is blocking photo import, the second-best option is to temporarily disable your antivirus.

In some cases, the issue might persist even if you disable your antivirus. To resolve the problem, you might have to uninstall your antivirus completely. After uninstalling the antivirus, check if the problem is resolved.

For the Norton users, we’ve got a dedicated guide on how to completely remove it from your PC. There’s a similar guide for McAffe users, as well.

If you’re using any antivirus solution and you want to completely remove it from your PC, be sure to check out this amazing list with the best uninstaller software you can use right now.

Many users reported that Norton antivirus is the problem, but other antivirus tools can cause this issue as well.

If removing the antivirus solves the problem, you might want to consider switching to a different antivirus solution.

There are many great antivirus tools available, and the best are Bitdefender, BullGuard, and Panda Antivirus, so feel free to try any of them.


Looking to replace your antivirus with a better one? Check out this list with our top picks.


6. Manually transfer your photos

Many users reported photo importing issues on Windows 10, and if you’re having this problem, you might have to transfer your photos manually. This isn’t as hard as it seems, and to do that, you just need to do the following:

  1. Connect your phone or camera to your PC.
  2. Now open This PC and navigate to your phone or digital camera.
    Photo import not working
  3. Navigate to Internal Storage or SD card directory. If the images are stored on your internal memory, go to Internal Storage. On the other hand, if you’re storing them on microSD or SD card, go to SD card directory.
  4. Now navigate to DCIM > Camera directory and all your photos and videos should be there.
  5. Move your photos and videos to the desired directory on your PC.

This is just a workaround, but if the photo importing feature isn’t working on your PC for some reason, be sure to try this method. This method might not be as straightforward as photo importing, but it will work nevertheless.


7. Connect your SD card to a card reader

This is another workaround that might help you with photo importing issues. According to users, they were able to circumvent this problem simply by inserting their SD card or microSD card to a card reader.

After doing that, simply right click the new drive on your PC that represents your SD card and choose Autoplay. Now you should be able to use Photo Gallery to import photos.

This is just a workaround since you’ll have to remove your SD card and connect it to a card reader every time you want to transfer photos from your camera or phone.

Even though this is a workaround, many users reported that it works, so feel free to try it out.


SD card is disabled in Windows 10? Count on us to solve the problem.


8. Try running the Photos app as administrator

If you’re having problems with photo importing, the issue might be the lack of administrative privileges. To fix the problem, be sure that you’re running your photo importing application as an administrator. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Locate your photo importing application.
  2. Right-click it and choose Run as administrator from the menu.
    Windows 10 photo import something went wrong Photo importing Windows 10 denied

Nothing happens when you click on Run as administrator? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right fix for you.


The application will now start with administrative privileges. If running the application as an administrator fixes the problem, you might want to set the application to always use administrative privileges. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Right click your photo importing application and choose Properties from the menu.
  2. Go to Compatibility tab and check Run this program as an administrator. Now click Apply and OK to save changes.
    Windows 10 Photo app not importing

After doing that, your photo importing application will always run with administrative privileges and you won’t experience any issues.


Learn everything there is to know about the administrator account and how you can enable/disable it right here!


9. Use third-party applications

If you’re having photo importing issues on your PC, you might be able to solve the problem by using third-party applications.

There are many great applications that allow you to manage your photos, but ACDSee Photo Editor and Photo Manager Deluxe stand out from the rest.

Both applications offer simple to use and friendly interface, and by using them you should be able to import your photos without any problems.

Using one of the solutions above will certainly help you import your photos on Windows 10.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to check them out.

FAQ: Learn more about photo importing

  • Why won’t my photos import from iPhone to PC?

If you’re having import issues, try to restore the Pictures folder to its default settings. To do this, locate the Pictures directory, right-click it and choose Properties from the menu. Then switch to the Location tab and click the Restore Default button.

  • How do I import photos to Windows 10?

Simply establish the connection between your PC and the external device from which you want to import photos by plugging the cable into the dedicated port. Right-click the device as soon as the File Explorer to recognizes it and choose to Import Pictures.

  • Where do I find imported pictures on my computer?

The imported pictures are usually stored in the Windows Live Photo Gallery (if not configured differently). You can access this location directly from the Start menu.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in May 2016 and was revamped and updated in November 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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