Walt Mossberg

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Moving Photos off a Cellphone

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

I recently lost my cellphone for a few hours. What was most upsetting was that I have nearly three years of family photos stored on my phone’s memory card. Other than emailing all of these photos to myself and then saving, is there any way you can think of how I can move these en masse (over 100 pictures) to a hard drive or disc?

Well, assuming the card is removable, you can simply remove it from the phone, pop it into your computer, and copy the pictures to the computer’s hard disk. Depending on what slots your computer has, and the type of memory card the phone uses, this might require using a cheap, small adapter for the computer.

This should work with any modern computer, Windows (MSFT) or Mac (AAPL), and no special software should be required. The memory card should show up as an external disk drive, and you would just open the folder or folders containing the images and copy them to a folder on your hard disk, as you would with any other file. You can leave the originals on the card if you wish. Alternatively, you could import the pictures using photo software like the Vista Photo Gallery or Apple’s iPhoto, although you will want to be sure that the photo software is set to save a duplicate of each photo on the hard disk.

I read your column about avoiding identity theft last week, but am still concerned. I look at my T. Rowe Price (TROW) account, my Chase account, and my J.P. Morgan (JPM) account every day. I also pay my bills online. Is it safe to do this? I am afraid someone will try to steal my passwords and get my money.

There is nothing wrong with checking your accounts and paying your bills online. Millions of people do that safely. All I was saying last week is that there are some rules you should follow to avoid falling into traps commonly set by crooks. One important rule is to never, ever trust any email you get purporting to be from a financial institution, even if it looks official. Never click on any link in any such email, or enter any login or account information in such an email.

Beyond that, just log into the sites manually or using bookmarks you created yourself. Keep your login IDs and passwords for these sites safe, either by memorizing them or writing them someplace where they won’t be easily seen or found. Choose passwords that are hard to guess, and change them every so often. I would also advise against checking financial sites or doing online banking when on public networks, especially wireless networks at hotels, coffee shops, or airports, because some crooks monitor what is typed on such networks.

What exactly was Microsoft’s thinking in moving from XP to Vista as its operating system? If it was for improved resistance to viruses and phishing, I can accept the slower operating speeds along with the few other glitches.

As with any new operating-system project, the development of Vista had numerous aims, including easier networking and an improved user interface. However, Microsoft officials at the time repeatedly said that much more robust security was the main design goal for Vista. And, in fact, Vista does have an array of security features Windows XP lacked. However, much of the antiphishing work is contained in version 7 of the Internet Explorer Web browser, which is also available to XP users. And Vista didn’t eliminate the need to operate add-on security software.

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft is continuing to bolster the security and other features of Windows XP, and will soon release a major XP update called Service Pack 3, or SP3. It includes improved security.

  • You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online for free at the new All Things Digital web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

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