Using the default photo importer in Windows Technical Preview
With the Windows Technical Preview, a preview of Windows 10, Microsoft promises to correct all the flubs of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Those prior offerings were a disappointment for photo enthusiasts. Is there hope for the new system? In this article, I will look at the preview and see what is offered.
The Windows Technical Preview takes you to the desktop on start – a good omen. When a camera is plugged in, it is recognized and a little blue panel pops up just at it did in Windows 8. It asks “Tap to choose what happens with this device”. “Tap” is touch-speak for “click”, we can live with that. Next come some offerings, “Open device to view files – File Explorer”, “Import photos and videos – Photos”, and “Take no action”.
The only useful one is to import with “Photos”. In Windows 8 that was a big disappointment. The next full screen message does not inspire much confidence. Does it really take a full screen to say “Scanning your device. Files found …”. Then, still full screen, an ominous listing of the photos on the camera. I say ominous because instead of thumbnails of the photos the listings shows a little landscape icon for each file. There are option in a menu bar on the bottom. All images are checked and there is a Clear selection option. Others are Select all, Import, and Cancel.
There is no hint of being able to select the target folder or any other options. Import is all that will cause the process to proceed. So I click Import. The import process goes on and the screen turns black for a simple message.
These full-screen “modern” apps can be run in a smaller window on the desktop, but there are limits to how small you can make them. My fear is stoked when the message says “There are no files or folders in this view”.
File Explorer is more helpful. The import app made a folder in Pictures with the date of the importation as the file name. All photos, regardless when they were taken, that were on the camera are stuffed into that one folder. There are no thumbnails. Nothing is displayed when you click on a photo file.
The files are in “RAW” format on my camera which the Windows Technical Preview can’t handle. Windows 8.1 did! So now I know that the Windows 10 preview is based on Windows 8 and not on Windows 8.1. Why the step backwards, Microsoft? I’m sure if the photos were JPEG files they would show alright. But photo enthusiasts, and certainly professional photographers, want the best their cameras can deliver and that means RAW format, in my case Nikon NEF format. As I said, my Windows 8.1 machine has a codec for these files. It took Microsoft a long time to include that, Windows 8 didn’t. Microsoft has offered a codec for many years and I have used it with Windows 7, but that gets us ahead of my story.
When you click on a photo file you get “This file can’t be opened. The file might be damaged.” No, dear Microsoft, the file is not damaged, the Windows Technical Preview is. For now the Windows Technical Preview is too dumb to be of use to photo enthusiasts. We can get around that, I tried a couple of approaches. “Those stories and more” in coming posts, stick with me.
© 2014 Ludwig Keck