Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

Official blog for the Windows Live Digital Memories Experience team

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Definitions

WPG: Windows Photo Gallery (Windows Vista O/S application)

WLPG: Windows Live Photo Gallery (component of the larger Windows Live Suite)

Table of contents

I shoot RAW with my digital camera. How do I get the right codecs so I can view them in Windows? 

I have feedback and/or feature requests for the RAW codec I use. Who do I send it to?

Wndows XP keeps asking me to insert a disk for the "Windows Photo Gallery". What should I do?

What is XMP and what other applications support it? 

Why don’t my tags get written back to my photos and videos?

Why do my photos have an odd color cast in Vista (but look fine in XP and IE)?

Can I save (or share) the slideshows from Windows Vista?

Why can't I see the fancy slideshow themes on Windows Vista?

I want to specify which photos are imported from my camera. How do I do that?

My camera takes Quicktime video. How do I see those files in the Windows Vista Photo Gallery?

How do I re-size my photos?

Why don't my animated GIF files animate in the Windows Vista Photo Gallery?

Why doesn't the Photo Gallery automatically rotate all of my photos?

If I use WPG on Windows Vista what should I expect when I upgrade to WLPG?

Currently, WLPG installs alongside Windows Photo Gallery in Vista. Will that still be the case after the beta ends, or will Live Photo Gallery replace WPG?

It sure seems confusing to have shortcuts to both WPG and WLPG on Vista  Why did you do this? Aren’t you worried about user confusion?

Can I remove Windows Photo Gallery?

If I have added ratings, keywords and captions to the photos, will this data be lost?

Sometimes when I acquire photos it automatically launches WPG.  How can I change this?

If I delete WLPG will I lose my photos or metadata?

After I install WLPG, can I still run WPG?

Where do I go for help?

Questions and Answers

Q: I shoot RAW with my digital camera. How do I get the right codecs so I can view them in Windows?

Codecs allow Windows and many applications to view your RAW files. They are provided and maintained by the camera manufacturers. You can find codecs for the files in your Gallery by going to the 'File' menu in the Photo Gallery, and pressing the 'Check for updates' button in the 'Options Dialog'. If there are codecs available for files that you have in your Gallery, a web page will open with a link to download the codec.  

We also try to post a link to each manufacturer's web site as they become available for your convenience. Try searching this blog for codecs and look for your camera manufacturer in the list.

Q: I have feedback and/or feature requests for the RAW codec I use. Who do I send it to?

Contact your camera manufacturer. Although Microsoft provides some guidance and input to camera makers on their RAW codecs, they ultimately decide which features get implemented. If you have run into an issue that you believe to be a bug, they may need information from you to help troubleshoot and resolve the issue, so it's best to contact them directly.

Q: Wndows XP keeps asking me to insert a disk for the "Windows Photo Gallery". What should I do?

Microsoft produced a program for Windows Vista called the "Windows Photo Gallery", but not for Windows XP. If you are seeing this message on your Windows XP computer, it is an unrelated program of the same name and was probably put there by your computer's manufacturer. Contact your computer's manufacturer for more information.

Q: What is XMP and what other applications support it?
 
The Extensible Metadata Platform or XMP is a specific type of extensible markup language used in PDF, photography and photo editing applications. It was first introduced by Adobe Systems in April 2001 as part of version 5.0 of the Adobe Acrobat software product.  XMP can be used in JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, PNG, and TIFF.  In a typical edited JPEG file, XMP information is typically included alongside Exif and IPTC data.  The Windows Photo Gallery offers support for the XMP standard.

Here is a short list (all of these are available on XP today):

Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge, and others
iView MediaPro
Extensis Portfolio 
 
Q: Why don’t my tags get written back to my photos and videos?

Many video file formats don't support metadata write back. When you apply a tag, it's kept in a local database on your computer, but because we can't write it to the file, it may not get carried over to other applications that use that file.

For photos, the most common causes are read-only files or other permissions issues. We have written several blog posts on metadata. If you would like more information, search our blog for 'metadata'.

Q: Why do my photos have an odd color cast in the Photo Gallery (but look fine in the XP Picture and Fax Viewer and IE)?

The photo viewer in Photo Gallery is a color managed environment (it can use a color profile to render a color-accurate representation of your photo).  The XP Viewer and IE (and many other applications) are not color managed. Color management can be a complex topic. It's possible that there is an incorrect color profile embedded in the photo, or perhaps you have an incorrect color profile applied to your display device. Following these instructions may fix the problem:

1. Control Panel->Hardware and Sound->Color Management

2. Select your display device

3. Check the box “Use my setting for this device”

4. Click Add

5. Choose “sRGB IEC61966-2.1” (this is the color profile that IE is using)

6. Set it as default.

Q: Can I save (or share) the slideshows from Windows Vista?

Unfortunately, no. But it's a frequent request from our users that we're looking into for future releases.

Q: Why can't I see the fancy slideshow themes from the Photo Gallery?

Slideshow themes have specific hardware requirements. See this blog entry for more information.

Q: I want to specify which photos are imported from my camera. How do I do that?

Unfortunately, you can't. But it's a frequent request from our users that we're looking into for future releases. For more information, see this blog entry.

Q: My camera takes Quicktime video. How do I see those files in the Windows Vista Photo Gallery?

In the Windows Live Photo Gallery, QuickTime videos are displayed if you have QuickTime installed. However, in the Windows Vista Photo Gallery there is no compatible codec available for Quicktime video files, so this is not yet possible. If and when this changes, we'll be sure to post about it here.

Q: How do I re-size my photos?

The Windows Live Photo Gallery has a Resize feature: Select the photo or photos you want to resize and then go to the File menu or right click on the photo and choose “Resize…”  Blog article. The Windows Vista Photo Gallery doesn't have a stand-alone re-size feature.

Q: Why don't my animated GIF files animate in the Photo Gallery?

The Photo Gallery is designed for management of photos. The GIF format is not widely used for photos, but we included limited support for it due to the fact that some users have photos in this format. However, we did not implement the animation feature. You can use Internet Explorer to view your animated GIF files.

Q: Why doesn't the Photo Gallery automatically rotate all of my photos?

Some photo applications will display photos as rotated (we refer to this features as 'soft' rotating) by reading metadata on the photo itself. Although the Photo Gallery rotates photos on import using this same metadata, many users have asked why it doesn't also rotate all un-rotated photos in their collection for them automatically, or at least display the photos as rotated like some other applications do?

The reason that the Photo Gallery rotates on import, but not after that (unless the user explicitly rotates a file), is because there are a number of applications that don't correctly update the photo metadata after rotating. This metadata is supposed to reflect the state of the photo, but if the photo is rotated without updating this metadata, another application using this metadata to determine whether or not to rotate it will incorrectly rotate the photo.

During import, the photos are coming directly from the camera, at which point the integrity of this metadata is not in question. So although it's 'safe' for the Photo Gallery to rely on this metadata to make an accurate rotate decision during import, as soon as the photo makes its way to the PC, any other application could interact with the photo, and potentially corrupt this metadata. Therefore, the Photo Gallery doesn't 'soft rotate' at this point.

We continue to hear feedback from users that this is a desired feature. Since most photo applications today handle this metadata correctly (most of the badly behaving applications have either been retired or updated over the years), we may revisit this decision in the future.

Q: If I use WPG on Windows Vista what should I expect when I upgrade to WLPG?

When you install WLPG, the experience is similar to the familiar WPG, however links have been added to allow users to easily publish their favorite photos to Windows Live Spaces, Flickr, and Soapbox.  Additionally some improvements have been made in the User Interface based on user feedback.  These include shortening the number of items in the left hand navigation column, and changing some of the verbs on the top navigation to streamline user workflow and more easily enable them to perform common tasks.  Additionally, some additions have been made in edit to allow for finer tuning of the exposure settings.

The specific differences are:

Panoramic stitching – Support for a series of contiguous photos that can be stitched together to create a panoramic view.   The panoramas do not need to be horizontal but can also be vertical

Improved Import -- Will automatically organize them into events based on time and date.  Additionally the user can add custom tags for a set of photos based on event

Photo E-mail -- With the new Photo e-mail, users simply select the photos they want to mail, hit email, and a stylized email is generated with thumbnails with fancy borders and several templates.  When the recipient clicks on the thumbnails they are taken to a stunning slideshow experience

Web Publishing – Users can easily publish their photos to Windows Live Spaces, Soapbox and Flickr.

Improved Editing – Improved exposure settings including shadows/highlight manipulation plus a histogram.

Q: Currently, WLPG installs alongside Windows Photo Gallery in Vista. Will that still be the case after the beta ends, or will Live Photo Gallery replace WPG?

The WLPG installs as a separate application alongside WPG.  It will not replace the WPG. 

Q:  It sure seems confusing to have shortcuts to both WPG and WLPG on Vista  Why did you do this? Aren’t you worried about user confusion?

WLPG, like any other installable application, appears in the start menu as part of All Programs, and on the most recently used menu based on usage. We believe WLPG is a better alternative to the WPG that ships with Vista, and users will prefer it.  As a user uses the WLPG more, the system will reflect the user’s choice.  It will appear higher in the start menu. Users can allow WLPG to be the default program for opening photo files, or importing photos.

Q: Can I remove Windows Photo Gallery?

No, however as a user you can change the default file associations (WLPG prompts for this).  Additionally you can modify the default autoplay per device which will in turn impact the enhanced import functionality.  The start menu Most Recently Used will also update based on the applications that you use.

Q: If I have added ratings, keywords and captions to the photos, will this data be lost?

No.  All the data you have added is preserved when you upgrade to Windows Live Photo Gallery

Q: Sometimes when I acquire photos it automatically launches WPG.  How can I change this?

You can change the autoplay settings.  On the Vista start menu, choose “Default Programs” and then “Autoplay”.  You’ll be able to change the default behavior when you attach a camera or insert a memory card.

Q: If I delete WLPG will I lose my photos or metadata?

WLPG writes back changes to photos and metadata back to the original photo.  So, if you delete the WLPG, you will still have all your photos and metadata.    As an operating system component, WPG will still be on your Windows Vista computer and you can still use this application to manage your photos.

Q: After I install WLPG, can I still run WPG?

Yes.  WLPG installs as a separate application.  The shortcut to WPG remains in the start menu, should you choose to use it.

Q: Where do I go for help?

For support please visit http://support.live.com/.  Select the link for Windows Live Photo Gallery.