Just back from vacation, I was eager to download my new stash of photos from my digital camera to my computer for printing and safe keeping. I plugged my camera cable into my computer and a window popped up, asking me if I wanted to copy the photos to the My Pictures folder. I clicked "OK."
A prompt on the screen, mercifully warned, "This folder already contains a file named DSC1001.jpg...Would you like to replace the existing file?" In my haste to see if that lucky photo I snapped looked as good full size as it did on the camera's tiny LCD, I clicked "Yes to all." Little did I know that I would soon be filled with a deep regret and despair that punishes me to this day. I wish I could undo it but my eagerness got the best of me.
I watched the progress bar growing as hundreds of new photos from my camera landed on my computer, replacing photos of the same name. Halfway through the copy process, I realized that the replaced photos were gone for good. I sent desk papers flying as my hand swiped for the mouse to click "Cancel." The next moments of my life are too difficult to share. [sniff] Please understand.
Most digital camera's name photos using the convention DSC000#.jpg (DSC stands for Digital Still Camera) where # is a number increment. Some cameras start the numbering sequence over again when the photos are removed or the memory is cleared. This can cause the duplicate file name problem that became my photo overwriting nightmare.
I've since discovered a wonderful, useful, well-being-preserving free utility that allows for logical renaming of all files in any folder on your PC. It is called Bulk Rename Utility. With this tool, you can quickly rename multiple files in any folder, based on any criteria you wish. You can rename by adding a prefix or suffix to help you identity files, or change all names to lower case and even rename the folders that contain the files.
This utility is particularly useful for digital camera files because each photo can be renamed according to time stamp -to the second. I use Bulk Rename Utility to rename all my photos to their date and time. Now, DSC1001.jpg, becomes 09_01_2006-9.45.44.jpg. This eliminates the chance of overwriting a photo of the same name and instantly identifies the time of the photo.