How can I get my computer back together with my camera?
November 16, 2006 8:48 PM   Subscribe

Why did my computer suddenly stop recognizing my digital camera?

I have a Canon PowerShot A520 (not great, but does the job) and a laptop running Windows XP. About a month ago, my computer suddenly stopped recognizing the camera when I plugged it into the USB port. I've tested it on friends' computers (both PCs and Macs), and it communicates just fine. I've uninstalled and reinstalled all of the software that came with the camera, installed the latest drivers I can find, and uninstalled and reinstalled the camera from my computer's list of hardware. Nothing helps. I am not incredibly tech-savvy and have run out of ideas.

It can't be the camera, because it works with other computers. It can't be the USB cable, because I've used the same one when I've tried plugging it into other computers. It isn't a faulty USB port, because no other USB devices are giving me problems. And I don't know what to do from a software/driver perspective, since I've uninstalled and reinstalled everything several times. Ideas? I'd like to see my pictures!
posted by scarylarry to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
It isn't a faulty USB port, because no other USB devices are giving me problems.

True, many usb ports does your laptop have? Have you tried connecting the camera to each port?
posted by tremolo1970 at 9:36 PM on November 16, 2006

It's got two, and, yeah, I've tried both....
posted by scarylarry at 9:40 PM on November 16, 2006

We have some PowerShots at school, and in my limited experience with them, I've noticed they sometimes need to be in playback mode (and turned on), and then connected. Hitting the menu button seemed to also help for some reason. And it's only on some computers. It drives me batty.
posted by niles at 9:41 PM on November 16, 2006

I'm curious- what mechanism do you use to unload pictures? Is it possible, that, in Windows XP's dialog "What do you want to do with x?", that you clicked "Do nothing" or whatever it says there?

I would recommend going to start/settings/control panel/system/device manager and seeing if, when you plug in the camera, it shows up there. If it does, then it's likely that the default Windows camera transfer thingy has been turned off.

An extremely simple way to solve this problem is to get a card reader- like a PCMCIA SD reader- for about 10$, and just leave it in your card slot. Want to transfer images? Put the card in the slot. It's absolutely foolproof, bombproof, and eliminates the need for any cable.

Personally I hate the way Canons unload so with mine I use a card reader. It's faster and simpler.
posted by fake at 9:42 PM on November 16, 2006

Do the following:
  1. Open up the XP Control panel
  2. Click on Administrative Tools (you need Administrative rights to see this)
  3. Open Services
  4. Check that the following services are running: "SSDP Discovery Service" and "Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)." If they aren't, double-click them and turn them on. While you're at it, make sure they're set to automatically turn on at startup.
  5. Go back to the services list and go to "Canon Camera Access Library" and make sure the service has been started. You need to do this step after the previous step, because it relies on the other two services running.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:44 PM on November 16, 2006

It might need to mapped to a drive letter with diskmgmt.msc. That, or the drive letter is hidden from explorer (check with TweakUI)
posted by aye at 9:58 PM on November 16, 2006

Civil_Disobedient, we may be onto something. I followed steps 1-4 (Both services were running, but on manual, not automatic). But there is not "Canon Camera Access Library" in my services list.

I googled it, to find that it's related to the process calmain.exe. Tried to run that, and windows couldn't find it.

I swear I've reinstalled all the Canon software several times. Should I try yet again?
posted by scarylarry at 10:00 PM on November 16, 2006

Any ZoomBrowser past version 5 (I believe) should install this service, so yes, try again. I think the latest version is 5.7, available on any Canon website. Make sure you've uninstalled old versions first.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:02 PM on November 16, 2006

I had the same problem with a Canon digicam several years ago. I just got a cheap card reader and stopped connecting the camera directly to the computer.
posted by forensicphd at 2:47 PM on November 17, 2006

My recommendation would be to get a media card reader and don't connect the camera directly.
posted by dgeiser13 at 6:21 PM on November 17, 2006

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