Chapter 14. Windows Live Photo Gallery

Your digital camera is brimming with photos. You’ve snapped the perfect graduation portrait, captured that jaw-dropping sunset over the Pacific, or compiled an unforgettable photo essay of your 2-year-old attempting to eat a bowl of spaghetti. It’s time to use your PC to gather, organize, and tweak all these photos so you can share them with the rest of the world.

Until recently, all Windows offered for digital photos was Paint. That’s right, Paint—a feeble holdover from 1985 that sat in your Programs→Accessories folder and opened one picture at a time. Barely.

Microsoft has addressed photo organizing/editing with a vengeance. Pathetic little Paint is still there, for the benefit of change-phobic Windows veterans. But now there’s also Windows Live Photo Gallery, a beautiful, full-blown digital camera companion that has nothing to be ashamed of. The current version has been smartly enhanced—among other things, it can now display video clips from your camera as well as stills.

It’s not built into Windows 7 the day you get it. You have to download it as part of the Windows Live Essentials software suite described on Windows Live Essentials. But once you have it, you’ll realize that it’s an important part of Windows. And beyond—it syncs with your free Windows Live account, so you can post your photos to free online slideshow galleries with a single click.


Then again, you may prefer Google’s Picasa—a free photo-editing program that you could argue ...

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