Windows Photo Gallery: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about Windows Photo Gallery.

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How do I find Windows Photo Gallery options?

  1. Open Windows Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Photo Gallery.

  2. Click the File menu, and then click Options.

How do I stop picture and video thumbnails from getting larger when I hover the mouse pointer over them?

By default, Photo Gallery shows a larger preview of a picture or video when you hover your mouse pointer over its thumbnail.

Example of a picture preview
Example of a picture preview

If you would rather not see this preview, do the following:

  1. Open Windows Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Photo Gallery.

  2. Click the File menu, and then click Options.

  3. Clear the Show picture and video previews in tooltips check box, and then click OK.

If I make changes to a picture that I'm not satisfied with, how do I restore the picture back to its original state?

Whenever you edit a picture in Photo Gallery using the Fix pane, Photo Gallery automatically saves a copy of the original picture. To restore the picture to its original state, click the Undo menu in the Fix pane, and then click Revert to Original

Picture of the Revert to Original command
The Revert to Original command

Why would I want to move my original pictures to the Recycle Bin?

If you want to create more free space on your hard disk, you can set up Photo Gallery to automatically delete your original pictures after a specified time period. This is useful if you do not expect that you'll need to revert to the original versions. Remember, though, that if you delete your original pictures, you will not be able to restore the picture back to its original state by using the Revert to Original command.

To specify when original pictures will be deleted

  1. Open Windows Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Photo Gallery.

  2. Click the File menu, and then click Options.

  3. Under Move originals to Recycle Bin after, click the time after which your original pictures should be deleted.

When I import pictures and videos from my camera, how do I change where they are saved and what they are named?

By default, all pictures and videos are saved to the Pictures folder in a folder named for the current date and the tag you assign to the pictures when they’re imported. Each picture is given a name that includes the tag. To change the way your pictures and videos are saved to your computer, do the following:

  1. Open Windows Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Photo Gallery.

  2. Click the File menu, and then click Options.

  3. Click the Import tab, and then do one of the following:

    • Click Browse to change the folder that pictures and videos are copied to.

    • Click the Folder Name list to name the folder using other elements, such as the range of dates in which the pictures were taken. You can add several items together to create a more descriptive folder name.

    • Click the File Name list to change the information that is used to create the picture's file name.

  4. When you are finished making changes, click OK.

When I import pictures and videos, is there a limit to the length of file or folder names that I can choose?

Yes, there is. Most of the time, you'll never encounter this limit, but in rare instances you might see an error message reporting that the file name is too long. If this happens, shorten the file name or folder name, or change the location where pictures are imported. For more information, see File names and file name extensions: frequently asked questions.

What are tags, and why am I prompted to add one during import?

Tags are descriptive pieces of information that you can create and attach to your pictures and videos to help you to find and organize them. If you specify a tag when you import your pictures and videos, it will automatically be added to all of those files. You can always change the tag later or add new ones in Photo Gallery.

Picture of the dialog box that prompts you to add a tag
Dialog box prompting you to add a tag

If you never intend to add tags to your pictures and videos during import, you can stop being prompted to add them by following these steps:

To stop being prompted for a tag when importing pictures and videos

  1. Open Windows Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Photo Gallery.

  2. Click the File menu, and then click Options.

  3. Click the Import tab.

  4. Clear the Prompt for a tag on import check box, and then click OK.

Should I let the computer erase pictures from the camera after import?

If you don't intend to keep the pictures on your camera after you import them, there's no reason why you shouldn't let the computer erase them for you. There is no risk that your pictures will be accidentally lost, since the pictures and videos are not erased from the camera until after the files have been imported to your computer. Erasing pictures automatically after import is convenient and can help conserve your camera's battery.

What does it mean to rotate pictures on import?

If your camera can detect whether you take pictures vertically or horizontally (usually by using a sensor that can tell how the camera is oriented), your computer can automatically rotate JPEG pictures to the correct orientation when they are imported. If you use this option, you will not have to manually rotate pictures that appear sideways on your computer, and it does not affect the image quality of your pictures. Windows does this by default, but you can turn this feature off.

To turn off automatic picture rotation

  1. Open Windows Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Photo Gallery.

  2. Click the File menu, and then click Options.

  3. Click the Import tab.

  4. Clear the Rotate pictures on import check box, and then click OK.

What picture file formats are supported by Photo Gallery?

Photo Gallery will show pictures with any of these file types:

  • BMP

  • JPEG

  • JFIF

  • TIFF

  • PNG

  • WDP

If Windows Movie Maker is installed, Photo Gallery will also play videos in these file types:

  • ASF

  • AVI

  • MPEG

  • WMV

Note

  • Not all editions of Windows Vista come with Windows Movie Maker installed.

For more information about these file types, see Understanding picture file types.

How do I download and use updates to Windows Photo Gallery?

Occasionally, when you start Photo Gallery, you might see a message that new updates are available. Usually, these updates enable you to view and edit additional kinds of pictures or videos. If you import pictures using your camera’s RAW format, for example, Photo Gallery will let you know when software becomes available to see and edit those RAW pictures.

If you agree to install the update, your web browser will open. Follow the instructions on the webpage to download and install the update. After installing the update, you will need to restart Photo Gallery for the changes to take effect.