What is the difference between albums and folders on SkyDrive?

Windows Live SkyDrive has a long history and carries a legacy of features. Currently the primary purpose is for storing and sharing files and photos.

SkyDrive in the root location, the first one you come to when you click SkyDrive in the top bar, can contain documents and folders. Folders in the root location have a Folder type parameter. Sub-folders, folders inside other folders, do not have a Folder type.image You can see the Folder type in the information pane under Information.

In the root location the Folder type may be fixed for some folders (legacy Documents, Favorites). Other folders, and all newly added ones, can be of Folder type Documents or Photos and the Folder type can be changed.

When you click Documents in the left pane, only folders of Folder type Documents (and Favorites, if you have any of those) will be shown in the main area.

When you click Photos, only folders of Folder type Photos will be shown in the main area. These are the albums.

There is one other distinction: Only albums, i.e. folders of Folder type Photos, will show in Windows Live Photo Gallery in the upload dialog. So you can only upload photos to “albums”.image

You can change the Folder type of folders in the root location. In the information pane, under Information, you can see the Folder type. There is a Change link.image

Click on Change and a new page allows you to change the Folder type.

The two options are:

  • ● Documents – Store documents, spreadsheets, and other files
  • ● Photos – Store photos to show on your Photos page

To summarize: Albums are folders of folder type Photos. They are located in the root of your SkyDrive. They will be shown in the main display area when you click Photos. These albums will also be shown as album options when uploading from Live Photo Gallery.

Other folders and subfolders may contain photos – by moving individual photos or folders into them. imageWhen a folder, or subfolder, contains a photo, the folder icon will show that photo. When a folder contains more than one photo, the folder will play a continuous little slide show of the photos inside on the folder icon. You can see this by clicking the folder illustration here.

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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Can I send photos to a SkyDrive album via email?

Update 6 April 2012: As of May 2012 this feature will no longer be available.

Yes, you can send photos to your SkyDrive albums via email. Windows Live SkyDrive offers a large amount of free storage and some nice photo album features. Normally you upload with a drag-and-drop procedure or, even easier, directly from Windows Live Photo Gallery.

ULbE-01pSending photos to a prime-level SkyDrive album via email is another very useful option. The procedure must be enabled first.

Here is how:

Log in to your Windows Live account. In the upper right corner click on your name. In the drop down menu, click Options. See the red pointers in the illustration here.

imageOn the options page in the lower right corner find and click Email publishing.

This takes you to the Email publishing page. Most of the page is greyed out until you click the Turn on email publishing check box.image

When the form is enabled, there are four steps:

  1. Enter the email address (up to three) from which photos can be sent to a SkyDrive album. Note that photos sent from any other address will not be delivered to the album, the email will just be lost.
  2. Enter a “secret” word. This will become part of the address for sending the photos. This is just used to make the process more secure. (No spaces in this word!)
  3. Select album codes. This is an optional step, codes, three-digit numbers, are pre-assigned to your albums. You can change these, but the ones offered will work just fine.
  4. Click the Save button.

Once you have saved the information, there will be a display of the email addresses for sending the photos. Each album – and this is only for the prime-level albums, it does not work for albums inside other albums – has a unique email address. The address looks like this: name.album.secretword@spaces.live.com. Where name is a name derived from your name, it may be slightly different from your user name – be careful with that! The album will be the three digit album number (or other, if you changed it) to identify which album it is. The secretword is the word that you specified.

imageTo send photos to an album you must originate the email from an email address you specified on this page. Attach the photo or photos to the email. Do not use the Photo album feature in Live Mail. Do not “Change to photo album”.

Be sure to use the correct email address from your Email publishing page.

If using Hotmail use Insert: Attachments, do not use the Photos link.

Enter a subject and message if you like so you can find and see the email in your sent messages. Only the photos get to your album, no messages, no hint that they were sent via email. Only JPG photos can be sent to albums, this does not work for sending documents, just pictures.

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

Can I re-import photos when the computer says no new photos were found?

On occasion you will get a dialog that says “0 new photos and videos were found” when you try to import pictures from your camera.Import-01 This happens if you already have imported those photos, even though you might have deleted or moved the pictures on the computer.

Can you re-import the photos? You can, provided that you did not erase them on the camera. We are assuming here that you have set up your computer to use Windows Live Gallery to import photos from your camera. Just click the Next button (see illustration). In the next window you will see the photos on your camera arranged by date. It will say “0 items selected in 0 groups”. Note that the check box in front of the groups is not checked.

Import-02Import-03

Click on the group check box that you wish to import again. There is also a “Select all” option. Make sure you have selected just the ones you wish to import once more. Click Import and the process starts.

Import-04While the photos are being imported you will see the progress in a dialog like the one shown here. Note the check box with the legend “Erase after importing”. This means “erase from the camera after the photos have been imported to the computer”. I always leave that unchecked, which is also the default. This way the photos stay on the camera.

So what happens if you already have the photos on your computer? A new set will be imported, if the file name already exists, the import process will add a number in parenthesis at the end of the file name for the new file. You will wind up with duplicated photos. No harm will be done to photos that are already on your computer. Of course you can delete the duplicates.

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

How do I move a sub-folder up a level?

Sometimes you need to re-organize your picture folders and may wish to move a sub-folder up so it is on par with other folders. Here is an illustration:

image

On the left the folder “Bob” is inside folder “Ann”. You can tell by the little arrowhead. In fact, until you expand (click on) folder Ann you cannot see folder Bob in the navigation pane.

To move it so it is on par with – at the same level as – folder Ann, proceed as follows: Drag the folder to the name of the folder where you want it. In this illustration we want folder Bob to be inside My Pictures. So it is dragged to the My Pictures folder name. Notice the little note (screen tip) that says “Move to My Pictures”. When it says the correct folder name, drop it (let go the mouse button). You have moved the folder.

You can use this procedure to move any folder to be inside any other folder, even inside sub-folders.

Sometimes the procedure will not succeed, such as when a folder is open in an application. Just close the application and try again.

You can reorganize your folders in the navigation pane of Windows Live Photo Gallery or in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer. (Do not have both open at the same time, see warning above.)

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

 

How do I send pictures by attaching to email rather than using Photo Email?

Windows Live Photo Gallery together with Windows Live Mail provides “Photo Email” for sharing pictures in an efficient and pleasant way. I described the feature a while back (links below). But sometimes you might want to send pictures as attachments to an email.

Steps for sending photos as attachments

In Windows Live Photo Gallery, select the photos. imageClick the text part (or the down arrow) of the Photo email command. On the little drop-down menu click “Send photos as attachments”. See the illustration here.

Next you will be offered to specify the image size to be sent. The default size is 1024 by 768 pixels (the maximum dimensions, if an actual dimension is smaller that will be retained). You can select Original size or several other sizes.image

After you have clicked the size you want click Attach.

Your default mail client “new message” window will open with the photos already shown as attachments.

If Windows Live Mail is your default client, it will come up with the Photo Album Tools tab active and showing that the photos are attached. You have the option of changing to a photo email instead of sending them as attachments.

imageThe Live Mail “New message” window permits you to change from photo email to the attach method even if you started out specifying the photo email option.

The “paper clip” icon in the “Album style” group specifies “attach”. Clicking on any of the other styles makes the email a photo email.

The illustrations here show the options in the Photo Album Tools tab. image

To make the tab visible click on the photo layout in the message area of your email.

NOTE:

When sending pictures as a photo email or by attachment, the Windows Live Photo Gallery “publish” options are not applied. Any metadata in the image files will be retained in the photos and sent to the recipient.

If you do not wish to share such data remove it from the file before sending it.

Also see: Set Photo Gallery to remove sensitive data from photos prior to uploading.

 

On the recipients side

The recipient of the email with photos attached gets the message and all theimage attachments. That is the time-consuming and often annoying aspect of attachments, since they are downloaded to the recipients computer before the recipient can see the email.

In Windows Live Mail, attached photos are shown by small thumbnails (except for very large files). To save the attached photos the recipient can right-click and select the appropriate action.

 

When using Hotmail in a browser, similar thumbnails are displayed. imageThere is a download option shown on each, or all the photos can be downloaded as a zip file.

There is a nice viewing feature called “Hotmail active view” which permits viewing the individual photo, or a slide show of all attached photos. This allows the recipient to see and enjoy the pictures without having to download them.

image

You may wish to also see my post Photo Email–from Photo Gallery to Friend’s Inbox or my article at Microsoft based on that post: Explore Windows – Photo Email.

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How do I replace the DSC prefix on my photo file names?

Most “Digital Still Cameras” assign the file names of the photos in this format: “DSC_nnnn.xxx”. The “nnnn” is a four-digit number and the “xxx” the file type, often “JPG”, but it can also be another extension. For example for Nikon “raw” files the extension is “NEF”. The first four characters can be changed in some cameras, but most just set the “DSC_” prefix.

Of course, you can change this by renaming the file. Doing that one at a time is not practical, so here is the procedure I use for doing “batch” renaming. I use a “Windows Batch File” to do this chore.

Creating a Windows Batch File

imageOpen Notepad and type in the Windows “command line” commands. See the illustration here. My first command starts with “REM”. That stands for “remark” and does nothing. It is just used to tell me what the batch file does.

The next command is “cd %1”. The “cd” part stands for “change directory”. This is old language dating back to the time before “folders” were called “folders”, they were “directories”. The command is equivalent to you clicking on a folder in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer. The “%1” part tells the command to use the “command line parameter” that was passed to the program. That sentence probably means nothing to you, don’t fret. You will see shortly how we pass the folder name to the batch file program – by just dragging it to the bat file icon.

The last line is “rename DSC_????.* LK6A????.*” Now here the first term is easy enough, “rename” means just that (you can also use just “ren”). This is followed by the name of the file (or files) to be renamed. The first part is clear enough. The question marks each stand for “whatever character is there”. There are four question marks to specify the four numeric characters in the photo file name. The period follows the numbers. The asterisk after the period says “whatever follows the period”.

Now the new name is entered. This is the same except for the first four characters. I use my initials followed by a “camera identifier character” (“6”) and that is followed by the letter “A” in my case. You can specify any four characters, no fewer and no more, or else the command will do “unexpected things”.

Save the file to your desktop, using Save as and giving it a name. I use “renameDSC”. imageSince you created it with Notepad is is just a plain text file, not a “batch program” yet. If the icon on the desktop shows just the name without an extension, reset the viewing options to make the next step easier: Open Windows Explorer (StartComputer). Click on Desktop (at the top in navigation pane). Click Organize then Folder and search options. In the Folder Options dialog click the View tab. imageFind the option reading “Hide extensions for known file types”. Click it to uncheck the box. Click OK then close Windows Explorer.

Now the extension of the file you created will be visible, it will say “renameDSC.txt”.

Click on the icon to select it, a moment later click on the name. This opens the rename box. image

 

 

 

 

 

Replace the “txt” extension with “bat”. The “bat” stands for “batch file” and imageindicates to Windows that it is a batch program. Press Enter. There will be a warning message. Click Yes to perform the rename operation.

You now have created a “batch program” and the icon will now show the “gears” image:

image

If you wish you can reset the option to hide the extensions of “know file types”. 

You can edit and revise the batch file by right-clicking the icon and selecting Edit – this opens Notepad. When you are finished save the file. It will remain a batch file, so there are no further hoops to jump through.

 

You are now ready to perform the renaming operation. You will find this fast and easy – now that you have a desktop program for doing so.

 

Renaming the DSC files

After importing your photos, open Windows Live Photo Gallery. Find the folder or folders of the new photos in the navigation pane.

image

Now just drag the folder name to your batch program.

image

You will see the “Command prompt” window open momentarily and carry out your instructions. If you folder contains a small number of photos you might not even notice the operation. But take a look at the thumbnails. If you have the display showing the file names, you will see that they all have been renamed.

Do this for any other folder containing photo files that need renaming. It takes just a couple of seconds, but you do have to do it one folder at a time. You will find this quick and easy and fun to do.

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How do I import photos from my camera to my Windows 7 computer?

Windows 7 and Windows Live Photo Gallery make importing photos from your camera very quick and easy. Here is how to set up your system and how import photos quickly.

Setup camera on Windows 7

Connect your camera to your computer using a USB cable. Turn on the camera. If this is the first time that the camera is connected to the computer you will see something like this near the right end of the Taskbar.

image

Windows 7 will install the needed driver software as soon as it sees the camera. This will take but a few moments.

imageThe camera device window will open, it is show below. (If it doesn’t open automatically, click the camera icon on the Taskbar.

image

The window will show a variety of information. The illustration is for a Nikon D60 camera, for another camera the information will be similar. Of concern here is the import-06option labeled “Import pictures and videos”. Click on “Change program”.

A dialog windows opens like the illustration on the left. The default option is “Import pictures … using Windows. For much better control and more options use Windows Live Photo Gallery to import the photos. So click on “Import pictures and videos using Windows Live Photo Gallery”. Then click OK.

Next click “Change general settings”. In the next dialog, click on the option bar that says “Take no action”.

image

Click on “Import pictures and videos”, then click OK.

Windows is now set up. Turn off your camera. The camera icon will disappear from the Taskbar. Next set up options in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Set import options in Windows Live Photo Gallery

Open Live Photo Gallery and click the blue “File” tab (upper left). Click Options. In the next dialog click the Import tab.

image

Here a number of options can be set. Since you are setting up importing from your camera, leave the setting for “Cameras” and keep the import destination of “Pictures”. Your Pictures folder is the proper place to keep photos.

As photos are imported new folders can be created for the photos. There are a number of naming conventions you can select from. I like “Date Taken + Name”, this is illustrated here.

You can also choose the file name format. My preference is to keep the file names that the camera has assigned to them.

The dialog window contains an example to show how the folder names and file names will appear according to the settings you select.

There are three other options. Check what should happen. Then click OK.

This completes the setup of your computer for importing photos. So let’s try it out. Close Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Importing photos from the Camera

Connect the camera with a USB cable to the computer. Turn on the camera.

Windows will recognize the camera and start carrying out the option that you have set import-01up. Momentarily you will see a window telling you that Windows is “looking for photos and videos…”.

As soon as it has finished analyzing the photo files on the camera, an new dialog window with more options opens up.import-11

This may look like the one illustrated here. It will show the number of photos on the camera and display two options. I like, and recommend, the “review” option. There are additional choices that can be made using that approach.

Make your selection and click Next.

If you chose the review option you get something like this:

import-12

Photos will be grouped by date. You can change the grouping with the slider control on the bottom. You can enter a names for the folders that will be created for each group. You can also specify tags that will be common to all the photos in a group. This can really help you get your organizing of the photos underway. Click on “Enter a name” to enter the folder name (or the name part of the folder name). Click on Add tags to get this started.

Separate different tags with semicolons. Here is an example with information filled in:

import-15

Note that you can inspect the photos in each group – click “View all … items”, and can even check or uncheck the individual photos to be imported.

To proceed, click Import.

Windows Live Photo Gallery now imports your selected photos, creates folders named in accordance with your settings, and places the grouped photos into the folders. If you have set the “Open … Photo Gallery after importing…” option, Windows Live Photo Gallery will open once the photos have been imported showing the photos.

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