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Solved How to convert Seattle FilmWork CD's to a JPEG format?

October 1, 2015 at 10:53:55
Specs: Maci OSX 10.8.5
I have a number of CD's containing photos from a company called Seattle FilmWorks and later Photoworks( no longer in business) They are in a format with a SFW extension that is not readable on my MAC. How do I convert them to a JPEG format or something readable by my MAC?

See More: How to convert Seattle FilmWork CDs to a JPEG format?

October 1, 2015 at 10:57:12
✔ Best Answer
See here:

I use Xnview, it's a good program.


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November 2, 2015 at 09:32:19
The solution did not work. I downloaded Zip Devil. Then inserted the CD from Photoworks in the external drive. When the CD appeared on my desktop I dragged it to the Zip Devil in the dock as instructed and nothing happened. I am stymied. I need more instructions.

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November 2, 2015 at 13:04:59
Sorry, Zip Devil ??
Have no idea what your talking about.

The link I posted was for downloading XnView, which according to the website can convert SFW file to JPG files.

I use XnView, it is a good program and does list the filetype SFW.

Here is a direct link to the download page for XnView:

Make sure you get the Mac version.

After you install, simply open the SFW file then do a Save As
and select the file type of JPG

That should get you what your looking for.


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Related Solutions

November 3, 2015 at 05:19:37
I downloaded the Mac version of Zip Devil. I am thinking that the problem might be that the Seattle Filmworks CD's were made for Windows and I have a Mac. What do you think?

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November 3, 2015 at 05:49:40
Have you tried XnView?

What happened?


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November 3, 2015 at 13:11:53
I will try XnView and get back to you. Have not had time today.

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November 3, 2015 at 15:11:36
I downloaded XnView (MAC version). Then I dropped the SFW files on it. The pictures opened up as thumbnails. Then I clicked on convert and got an error message next to every one of the files. Any ideas?

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November 3, 2015 at 15:24:59
What was the error message?

Did they open as thumbnails within the XnView program?


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November 3, 2015 at 15:42:17
I have a number of CD's containing photos from a company called Seattle FilmWorks

Are these original Seattle Filmworks CD's?

Look around on the CD's as they sometimes included the program to display the pics.


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November 3, 2015 at 15:45:50
Here is a link to a download site where you can get PhotoWorks Verson 1.0.1 this is OLD software, so I don't know if it will run on your Mac or not, but you can give it a try.


message edited by mmcconaghy

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November 4, 2015 at 10:17:57
To bring you up to date, the CD's are the original Seattle FilmWorks.These CD's were created for Windows. The CD does say "free photo works software included." However, it won't work on my MAC.
The thumbnails opened up in the XnView program. Then I tried to save the thumbnails as JPG and it said "you cannot save as JPG, the extension is .bat.

Then I tried the convert button and all the files appeared as a long string of numbers with the words"create error " next to each file.
I am going to to download the old PhotoWorks software and see if that works.
Barbara P

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November 4, 2015 at 10:28:46
Old Photoworks software would not run on my MAC
Barbara P.

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November 4, 2015 at 10:55:13
See if you can find a Windows machine
and hopefully the software on the CD will run on the Windows machine.
I would probably go with an older version like XP.

Here is a link to a web page with everything you ever wanted to know about Seattle FilmWorks

Good luck.


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November 4, 2015 at 11:14:51
Thanks, Mike. I appreciate your effort.


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November 4, 2015 at 17:04:35

How did you solve the problem?

Was it anything gleaned from the "jonesrh .sfw conversion portal"?

If so, what? I'm sure other Mac users would want to know when they come across the Seattle Filmworks / Photoworks diskettes and CDs when cleaning out relatives old belongings?

And they'll want to know how easy or difficult it was, and if it cost any money.

What years did your CDs span?


message edited by jonesrh_sfwwhichfmt

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November 4, 2015 at 17:35:42
I did not solve the problem yet, but I have a good lead ( gleaned from the Jones portal) There is a German company owned by Thorsten Lemke called GraphicConverter. It claims that it can convert Seattle FilmWorks CD's to a universally recognized format. I sent him an email and he reaffirmed this. He is going to send me a video demo and he asked me to forward some SFW files to him. I guess he's going to try it out. I believe the Graphic Converter software costs 25 Euros.

My CD's span the 90's.

I don't know why it says"solved" at the top of this page. Nothing is solved.

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November 4, 2015 at 18:46:44

Since you haven't solved the problem yet, I'll continue talking.

When PhotoWorks quit creating SFW files, two of the pieces of software that they recommended for SFW conversion purposes were a) XnView, and b) Lemke's GraphicConverter. Both of them came highly praised.

Lemke GraphicConverter is quality software. I think you'll be satisfied with it.

However, my question is: why pay anything?

I just noticed your detailed description of the XnView error on the Mac. I've found XnView to be a very versatile solution on Windows and XnView is free as long as you are using it personally instead of commercially. Maybe you should post a question at The guru XnTriq in that forum can very likely help you get the Mac version of XnView to convert the sfw files to jpg (or any of a number of other formats). And XnView will be free.

If you post at, I'd include all the info in your original post of this thread and all the info in your post which describes the XnView behavior when your were fiddling with the thumbnails and getting the error messages on the Mac. I bet you'll get an answer within a day.

I'm sorry that I don't have access to a Mac and am unfamiliar how to use XnVIew properly on a Mac.

On another matter...

Do you have something like 10 CDs?
Or do you have 50 or more CDs?

If you have a relatively small # of CDs -- let's say <= 10, then another alternative to consider (besides XnView and Lemke GraphicConverter) is me. If you send me the images electronically and I return the results electronically, I'll convert your sfw images for free. I'd want to start with the contents of 1-3 entire CDs, convert those from sfw to jpg (or bmp or tiff or whatever format you desire and I have the capacity to convert to). I'm curious how long it will take me to convert each CD's contents and return the conversions back to you. And I'm curious if you have any other sfw formats than the ones that I've previously encountered and can handle already using my personal sfw98jpgtran software. You would get your images on those 1-3 CDs converted for free and you would contribute some more (potentially useful) .sfw format research data. By then I should know if I want to continue converting any more for free, and I'll know how long it takes per CD. Also, after 3 CDs I might be able to guide you to do the conversions yourself.

Why don't you forward me the same SFW files that you forward to Lemke. Then you can compare results between the two of us. Maybe there's no difference, but maybe there is.

My e-mail can be found by displaying "jonesrh .sfw conversion portal", then using your browser's View Source function, search for author, then solve the puzzle on that line.


message edited by jonesrh_sfwwhichfmt

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November 4, 2015 at 20:09:52

Just in case you missed it, Barbara P states that:

The CD does say "free photo works software included.

But it is apparently Windows software not Mac.

If she could get her hands on a Windows machine for a short while,
she may be able to run the software in compatibility mode.


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November 5, 2015 at 09:14:03

I cannot unearth your email address. My browser (Safari) does not have a "View source function." I am not as computer savvy as you and Mike Mc.
I am agreeable to sending you some of the SFW files if I can append them to an email. You can try your hand at it and let me know
To answer your question, I have 34 CD's that are either Seattle FilmWorks or PhotoWorks. They are vacation photos of trips made with my late husband and I am anxious to save them to a usable format.
Meanwhile, I will look into newsgroup.xnview,com. as you suggest and will try to send Lemke some files to see if GraphicConverter works.
Barbara P

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November 5, 2015 at 12:24:40

Just a thought, if you are interested in getting your hands on a Windows machine for a short time, you might try your local library or a local College/University library, many of which have an Audio Visual department.


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November 5, 2015 at 18:59:21

1. Your last post was quite informative to me. I see more clearly your "computer savviness" level, and I see how important the CDs are to you. I also had a beloved deceased mate which triggered me into properly storing all my SFW files.

2. I did some testing early today with the SFWINDEX.EXE (SfwIndex) viewer that comes with the Seattle Filmworks CDs and PhotoWorks CD to see if it can be used on Win8.1 (and by implication Win7). The SfwIndex viewer came on all 15 CDs that I had. In my CDs, there were 4 different versions of the viewer. The SFWINDEX.EXE modification dates, sizes, versions were:

- 1998-10-28 06:55 57344 v1.1
This SfwIndex viewer does **NOT** have a JPEG Export function. But it is good for viewing the thumbnails.
I saw this on a CD dated 1999-04-08.

- 1999-03-09 22:45 (or 1999-03-09 23:45) 81920 v2.0
This one has title of "Seattle FilmWorks Photo Index" and banner of "Seattle FilmWorks Photo Index", and it has a JPEG Export icon on the left pane, just below the Slide Show icon. For this SfwIndex viewer, you wait till the image thumbnails appear, then click "Select All", then click "JPEG Export", then browse to the destination directory, then select the highest resolution, then click OK.
I saw this on CDs dated 1999-07-09 thru 2000-02-23.

- 2000-03-29 22:40 (or 2000-03-29 23:40) 81920 v2.0
This one has title of "PhotoWorks Photo Index" and banner of "PhotoWorks PhotoVIEWER", and it also has a JPEG Export icon on the left pane, just below the Slide Show icon. This is the same viewer as the 1999-03-09 one, except that it is branded PhotoWorks instead of Seattle FilmWorks. For this SfwIndex viewer, you wait till the image thumbnails appear, then click "Select All", then click "JPEG Export", then browse to the destination directory, then select the highest resolution, then click OK.
I saw this on CDs dated 2001-02-21 thru 2001-05-14.

- 2001-09-13 03:37 488808 v2.1
This one is on CDs which contain JPG files instead of SFW files. Even though it has a JPEG Export icon, you should **NOT** use this SfwIndex for exporting, because it converts the JPG files into SFW files. Instead, on the later PhotoWorks CD which contain only JPG files, you should just copy the JPG files to whereever you want them.
I saw this on a CD dated 2003-11-24.

I could explain to you how to go to the library -- like Mike suggested -- to access a Windows machine, then use either the SFWINDEX.EXE v2.0 (either Seattle Filmworks branded or PhotoWorks branded) -- the 2nd and 3rd cases above -- to convert all the SFW files on your CDs, including the CDs (like the <= 1999-04-08) that do not have a version of SFWINDEX.EXE which has a "JPEG Export" function, but I've decided it's too complicated for your "computer savvy" level. I'll eventually add that as a page to, but it might be a while before I do that.

The reason I researched using SfwIndex on Win8.1 is I had ruled out the possibility of you being able to go to the library and easily use the CDs to install PhotoWorks on a Win7 or Win8.1 or Win10 machine. I think that is way above your computer savviness level. Furthermore, many libraries will not let you install software and would almost certainly not let you install software as an Administrator. So that "at the library" approach was fraught with too many problems. Plus that type of post-WinXP installation has already been documented at "How to install PhotoWorks on Win7 64-bit" for a Windows version which is pretty typical at the libraries I've been to recently.

3. In the meantime, I've changed and simplified my recommendations to you.

You seem to have your SFW files strictly on the Seattle FilmWorks and PhotoWorks branded CDs. The SFW files on those CDs are contained in folders that end with .ROL (and with some of the later CDs, also .HI and .LOW). For example, a CD might contain the folder 01184776.ROL which contains the files 84776_01.SFW, 84776_02.SFW, ..., 84776_20.SFW.

If that's the case -- all 34 CDs are in that format -- then both XnView and Lemke GraphicConverter will translate the .SFW images on those CDs to .jpg format (or any of a number of different formats, including .bmp, .tiff, other lossless formats, other lossy formats, etc).

Considering the importance of the photos, if I were in your shoes and if I had your "computer savvy" level, I would pursue both:

a) getting my XnView "how to use XnView on Mac to convert SFW to JPG" questions answered, and

b) buying's GraphicConverter -- whatever is the latest version that works with your Mac.

The cost of GraphicConverter is a pittance compared to the worry of not having your late husband's and yours time together properly preserved.

If you pursued both XnView and Lemke GraphicConverter, you would have at least one, and maybe two, pieces of software to convert SFW to JPG (and do a ton of other things with photos).

There's no point in wasting the time in sending the SFW files to me. And I don't want to convert them for you when you can use either XnView (or XnViewMP) or Lemke Software's GraphicConverter to convert them on your own Mac (and without having to go to the library to use a Windows machine).

I don't have any concerns about GraphicConverter working for you. I consider it a 100% certainty it will work -- short of "operator error". :-) But, if you still have concerns about GraphicConverter, you may still want to send Lemke some SFW examples, just to make absolutely certain GraphicConverter will handle your files. For example, you might send him at least 1 SFW file from your earliest CD, at least 1 SFW from a mid-range CD whose date was around the time of the Seattle FilmWorks / PhotoWorks rebranding, then at least 1 SFW from the latest CD which still contains SFW images instead of JPG images.

For at least one of those, I'd send the SFW image(s) to Lemke still inside the .ROL folder.

4. Once you get the SFW files converted to JPG format, then you can deal with losslessly performing a vertical flip, transpose, or clockwise rotation, if necessary, along with performing lossless cropping -- before you do any other editing relating to colors, contrasts, etc. On Windows, I use jpegcrop for the "jpeg lossless conversions". I know XnView can do some lossless operations like (at least) some of the ones I mentioned. I'm not sure what GraphicConverter's "lossless operations" capability is.

Let us know your ultimate solution. And remember to give an appropriate testimonial at the or site(s), if you are overwhelmed with appreciation.


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November 6, 2015 at 10:50:46
Hi Mike and R. Jones:

Going to the library will not work They will not let me put software on their machines. Besides, that seems like too complicated a process for me.

I sent Lemke about 12 SFW files from a 1999 Seattle FilmWorks CD by attaching them to an email. He was able to convert them to JPG. He also sent me a tutorial on how to use GraphicConverter. Given my meager computer knowledge, it looked doable. I am "overwhelmed with appreciation" and will buy his software.

Secondly I posted on the Xnview forum yesterday but have not looked to see if anyone responded.

My thanks and appreciation to Mike Mc and R Jones for sticking with me and not discounting me for lack of computer savviness. I will keep you posted.

Barbara Prettyman (You can look me up on Facebook if you wish)

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November 8, 2015 at 01:13:48

I spent a while yesterday playing around with using XnViewMP to convert the 14 (or so) Seattle FilmWorks branded and PhotoWorks branded CDs that I have. Since the XnViewMP interface is intended to be used on both Windows, and Mac OS X, and Linux, I came to the conclusion that in your initial testing with XnViewMP, you most likely tried to drag thumbnails from some Mac app (maybe the Mac equivalent of Windows Explorer) into XnViewMP.

I don't know if the XnView forum has answered your question or not. But I suspect that you simply need to access the CD's .SFW files directly from within XnViewMP instead of dragging the thumbnails from other Mac apps.

I think if you simply do the following, you will convert your first CD's .SFW files:

- create a folder to contain all the XnViewMP converted images;
- insert the earliest Seattle FilmWorks or PhotoWorks CD you have;
- close all windows that are created when you insert the CD;
- run XnViewMP;
- ensure a folder tree is visible on the left-hand side of the XnViewMP window;
- in that XnViewMP folder tree, open the CD;
- in the XnViewMP's (I'll call it) Detail pane, thumbnails of the CD's folders will appear, where 1 to 3 of those folders will have a 4 image window pane of different iimages in that folder;
- if there is a .HI folder, then open that .HI folder, else there should be a .ROL folder, so open the .ROL folder;
- the folder tree is now focused on the folder which you opened;
- the Detail pane now displays thumbnails for all the images in that .HI or .ROL folder;
- select one of the images if one is not already selected -- do *not* open it, only select it;
- search for some icon or tab that says "Info" or "Properties" and try to verify that the filename ends in ".SFW" [The reason I include this step is some of the later CDs have .jpg images on them, instead of .SFW images on them. If you've just inserted one of those CDs that already contain .jpg images, then eject it and insert another CD and start over with the 5th step above];
- after one of the .SFW images is selected...
- on your keyboard type whatever is the Mac's special key combination that represents "Select All" (eg, similar to Ctrl-A on a Windows system);
- all of the .SFW images should indicate they are selected;
- click or tap the Tools menu, then "Batch convert..." (and note what XnViewMP's special keystroke combination is for Batch convert, eg, Ctrl-U on a Windows system);
- a "Batch convert" dialog box appears;
- decide if you want to save the converted files into the source folder or choose some other folder for the converted files;
- on this first batch convert, don't change any other values;
- click or tap Convert button.

In the Windows version of XnViewMP, the above sequence converts that CD's highest resolution files from .SFW to the lossless .png format.

The next time you perform the "Select All" / "Batch convert" duo, I suggest you use the keyboard combinations to quickly select all the images and pull up the "Batch convert" dialog box. The dialog box will conveniently retain its latest values until you change them. It retains the settings even after XnViewMP exits.

Just play around with that Batch convert dialog box, changing things each time you invoke it -- eg, you might delete the "_result" suffix from "Filename:", you might change the "Format:" to "JPG - JPEG/JFIF", you might change Format / Settings to increase the Quality from 80 to 85 and/or to not "Rebuild embedded thumbnail" and/or to not "Keep EXIF", you might click "Keep original date/time attribute", etc. Then look at what results in the output folder.

After you get used to the Batch convert function and decide what kind of conversion you want to do for each CD, then repeat the following sequence for each CD:

- insert new CD (ideally in chronological sequence);
- click on the highest resolution folder -- either .HI or .ROL;
- click on one of its images;
- verify it is .SFW;
- Select All;
- initiate Batch Convert;
- tap or click Convert;
- wait for all images to be converted;
- tap or click Cancel;
- eject CD.

Repeat all above steps for each CD.


P.S. This post could probably be subtitled:
"Re: How to convert a Seattle FilmWorks CD or PhotoWorks CD of .SFW images into .jpg (or .png or some other format) using XnViewMP on Windows, MacOSX, or Linux." I realize it is intended for use by Barbara of XnViewMP on a Mac. But it's actually pretty general purpose, is definitely applicable to XnViewMP on Win8.1 (where I did the testing yesterday), and is likely applicable to Linux (due to XnViewMP's "Multiple Platforms" approach).

For others that might encounter this post and have .SFW files on Seattle Filmworks 3 1/2" diskettes, these instructions can even be adapted for that purpose also. Just use XnViewMP's Browser to locate whateever folder contains the .SFW files on that diskette, if it is not named .ROL. Then open that folder from within XnViewMP.

For those with Seattle FilmWorks .pwp files -- the files containing multiple, optimized, specially formatted SFW images -- XnViewMP can also convert those. Simply open the .pwp file from XnViewMP's Browser, ..., and voila you have a bunch of images converted from the SFW images imbedded inside the .pwp file.

XnViewMP will probably even convert the earliest SFW93A format .SFW, .#00, .#01, .#02, ..., .#20, ..., .#36, etc files, since XnView can do so on Windows.

See for my summary of XnView's usefulness, especially of its usefulness for converting Seattle FilmWorks / PhotoWorks files.

P.S.S. Lastly, for those with Mac OS X, remember that Lemkesoft's GraphicConverter can very likely do all (or almost all) of the above things which XnView can do. GraphicConverter is written expressly for the Mac environment. It is an extremely apt, affordable, "for pay" competitor to XnViewMP's free (for non-commercial use) conversion of Seattle FilmWorks and PhotoWorks files on Macs. Both Lemke's GraphicConverter and Gougelet's XnViewMP should be considered the top Mac software for Seattle FilmWorks / PhotoWorks file conversion.

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November 8, 2015 at 03:37:36
R Jones:

It is a little daunting, but I will try to follow your instructions.


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November 30, 2015 at 18:13:31
To do a batch conversion using XNViewMP, the .SFW file on the CD when converted must be sent to a folder on your hard drive, not to "Source folder," which is on the CD and can't be written to. To designate or create the destination folder, click the little box with three dots in it that lies just to the right of the "folder" pull down menu.

This worked fine on my Macbook Pro 17".

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December 6, 2016 at 19:26:00
I have recently saved Photoworks files from floppy disks (circa 1997), and couldn't open them with Windows 7.
I have used "Irfanview" from ( for many years, with great success on many files. Today I tried to open one of these saved files, it failed, but gave a message to download "plugins" from their website. This solved the problem, all files are showing without further work! If you still have no success, I suggest you try Irfanview, it is free for non-commercial use, and states in their Q & A:
"Q: Can I use IrfanView on Mac?
A: Yes, probably. There is no native-Mac version of IrfanView. However, you can use IrfanView in conjunction with Mac program like WineBottler/DARWINE. Take the ZIP version of IrfanView and unzip it or copy your existing Windows IrfanView folder to Mac. This is easier because the installer may need additional Windows DLLs to run".

If you have a friend with a Windows computer, perhaps they could install Irfanview on their machine to assist (if Irfanview is unsuccessful on your Mac). It would allow them to be saved as .jpg files, and copied/transferred to your Mac.

message edited by Willie41

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July 17, 2017 at 17:22:02
Help. I have a bunch of old Seattle Film Works CDs that I cannot open to convert to jpeg. I downloaded XnConvert2 through the App Store but it doesn't read the files as photos so I can't convert them. I am tech challenged which doesn't help matters and I am working on a MacBook.

message edited by NanaJac

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