What Is a DCIM Folder?

Every digital camera--even the camera on your smartphone--insists on storing photographs in a folder called DCIM. What's with the alphabet soup? Why not just call the folder ‘Photos', or skip it altogether and save photos directly to the root directory? Believe it or not, there is method in the DCIM madness, and it's all about standards.

Eons ago, DCIM (for Digital Camera IMages) became the default directory structure for digital cameras. Mostly it exists to keep everything organized. When you put a memory card into a camera, the camera immediately looks for a ‘DCIM' folder. If it doesn't find such a folder, it creates one.

Likewise, some desktop image-editing programs are designed to look specifically for ‘DCIM' folders on any media inserted into the PC. That saves time in scanning said media for images--and it prevents the software from importing images that your camera didn't capture.

(For more solutions to perplexing PC problems, see "The 21 Greatest PC Mysteries--Solved!")

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