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Clearing memory card with computer

Saturday, January 8th, 2005 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

A reader asks, “I have a memory card reader for my digital camera. I use it to move the photos on my card over to my computer—and that’s it. Someone told me I could delete the photos off the card right from the computer (once they are transferred). Is this safe?”

Let me give you a qualified “yes” to that question.

You should be able to delete the photos off your memory card using your computer with no problems at all. I do it all the time and I find it’s much easier than fussing around with the menus on the camera itself. Just a quick CTRL-A and a press of these Delete key gets the job done. Easier than fallin’ off a log.

That said, be sure to double-check this advice with your owners manual. I’ve heard some manufacturers don’t recommend deleting from your computer—just from the camera (this is probably due more to worries about user error than actual data corruption concerns). That said, I’ve yet to actually read it for any digital camera I’ve run across, but it wouldn’t hurt to check, just in case (99.9% of you are probably safe to delete from your computer).

As an aside, if you have a memory card reader, you can use your memory cards for more than just your digital camera (I know, GASP!)

For instance, instead of floppy drives or CD-Rs to move files from one computer to another, I now use memory cards. First, I put the file I need onto the card. Then I grab both the memory card & reader and plug them into the other computer. If it has Windows XP, it automatically sets the reader up in a matter of seconds. From there, I just copy the file on the memory card to the new computer. It’s fast, easy, and impresses the heck outta everyone nearby :-)

Although it generally isn’t necessary (and shouldn’t be), I recommend you remove any extra files you’ve placed on the memory card before using with your camera again. If nothing else, you don’t want to run out of that digital film stuff in the middle of something good.

So, don’t be afraid of your memory cards and readers. They can do more that just hold photos :-)

~ Steve

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