Digital Photography Goodies in Vista

Five years ago, around the time that Digital Focus launched, Windows XP appeared on the scene and replaced Windows 98, Me, and 2000 on many desktops. Windows XP didn't have many features especially for digital photographers, but that's not too surprising. Digital photography was still in its infancy in those days.

Today, digital photography is all grown up, and Windows Vista--Microsoft's new operating system--has been designed accordingly.

This week I'm giving you a peek at the bits of Vista that cater to photographers like you and me. (Full disclosure: I work as a user assistance writer for Microsoft.)

Getting Photos Onto Your Computer

Let's start at the beginning. Downloading photos from your digital camera will be a lot easier in Vista thanks to what amounts to a two-click photo-import wizard. Here's how it works: Plug your camera or memory card into your PC, and wait a moment for AutoPlay to appear. Click Import Pictures using Windows, and you'll see the Importing Pictures and Videos dialog box.

What's that "tag" field, you ask? Well, if you want to, you can add descriptive keywords to your digital images, just like in Flickr, Adobe Photo Album, and a host of other tag-loving apps. When you import your files, the same tag is applied to all the photos in the batch, but you can fine-tune your tags later.

Click Import, and all your photos are automatically copied to a new subfolder in the Pictures folder. You can also click a check box to delete all the pictures from your camera when the import process is complete.

More goodies: If your camera has an orientation sensor (so it knows how you were holding the camera when you took the pictures), Vista automatically rotates your photos as they're imported. And even if you don't delete the photos from your camera, Vista is smart enough not to import the same images more than once.

Finding Your Photos

After you import your photos, Vista automatically opens Windows Photo Gallery, a photo organizer similar to Microsoft Digital Image Suite.

Here you can see the value of tags--you can add any number of tags to your photos, and then quickly organize and find photos using these descriptions. One way to search by tag is to type one into the search box at the top of the screen. When you do that, the main window automatically filters the view to display items that have that word in the file name, tag, or caption. Alternately, you can click a tag in the list on the left side of the screen--instantly, you'll only see the files with that tag. You can also nest tags in a hierarchy, so it's easy to see all your family photos or just shots of your cat.

You might like the idea of tagging your photos, but dread the thought of all that typing. Well, fear not: You need only create a tag once. From then on, just drag pictures from the main window onto the tag in the list. In fact, you can select dozens or hundreds of pictures at once and drag them to the relevant tags. I have about 10,000 pictures on my hard disk, and I managed to get all my photos tagged in one weekend. This is huge. I've been advocating the use of metadata like tags and keywords to organize photos for years, and now this ability is about to be baked right in to the Windows operating system, instead of slapped on top with a third-party photo organizer. How cool is that?

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dave Johnson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?