Why can't I edit a picture?

Occasionally, you might not be able to edit a picture or change its file properties (such as tags, ratings, or captions) using Windows Photo Gallery. If this is the case, you might see a message indicating that the file can't be changed.

If you see such a message, you probably can't edit the picture for one of the following reasons:

  • The picture might be read-only. If a picture is read-only, you can't edit the picture or change its file properties. You can correct this problem by changing the picture's read-only setting. For more information, see Change a read-only file.

  • The picture might be stored in a read-only location. If your pictures are stored on a CD, DVD, or a portable media player, for example, you might not be able to edit them or change file properties. You can correct this problem by copying the pictures you want to change to a folder on your computer.

  • The picture might be saved in an unsupported file format. Photo Gallery can't open or edit some picture file formats, such as RAW or GIF. If you want to edit a picture that is saved in one of these file formats, you will have to convert it to a compatible file format first (JPEG is recommended). For more information, see Change a picture's file type.

  • The picture might be saved in a file format that does not support tags, ratings, or captions. If the picture is saved in a file format that does not support tags, ratings, or captions, you can still add these properties by using Photo Gallery. However, some of these file properties will only be visible in Photo Gallery and might not appear elsewhere in Windows or on a different computer.

  • The picture might be in an offline location. If you are trying to change a picture that is stored on a network location or on removable media, it's possible that the location is not currently connected to your computer or the media is not currently inserted in your computer. You can correct this problem by re-establishing a network connection or inserting the media that contains your picture.

  • The picture might have been deleted or moved. It's possible that the picture was moved or deleted after you selected it for editing. When Photo Gallery tried to access the file, it was no longer there.

Why can't I save a picture I've changed?

This is rare, but it can happen. You might see an error message indicating that you can't edit a picture for one of the following reasons:

  • The picture’s file properties might be corrupted. Pictures have many properties, such as tags, exposure information, and other details about the camera and picture resolution. If a program or camera accidentally corrupts this information, then Photo Gallery can’t save the picture.

  • The encoder software might have failed while saving the picture. A program called an encoder is used to convert your picture from its usual format (such as RAW or TIFF) to a JPEG while it is being saved. If the encoder encounters a problem, your picture can’t be saved.