October 24, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Vista aims to be snappier with photos

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November 8, 2006

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Windows Vista has lots of new photography features, but not all of Microsoft's ideas are clicking with digital shutterbugs.

The new operating system offers a pretty complete overhaul of the way digital photos are managed. But some of Vista's nuances have drawn ire from the hard-core enthusiasts who have been putting it through its paces.

Vista images

In particular, testers have complained that the photo import wizard that pops up when a digital camera or a memory card with photos is connected to Vista only gives the option of importing all the photos or none. Windows XP allowed users to either import all the photos or manually choose which ones to add, a boon for people who don't clear their camera card between outings.

One of those testers, Brandon LeBlanc, praised some of Vista's new tools, including the wizard that allows for easier automatic naming of photos. "Unfortunately I'm forced to quickly exit this tool and go to manually grab my photos from my camera and put them into a specific folder of my choosing," LeBlanc wrote on his blog last week.

Microsoft counters that it made that decision consciously, to make it easier for novices to get their photos into the computer. By default, duplicate photos, at least those already part of the photo album, are ignored.

Special coverage
Piecing together Vista
As Microsoft puts the finishing touches on Vista, information is trickling out on it.

"We wanted to err on the side of making it easier for consumers to get their pictures in," said JP Wollersheim, a senior product manager in the Vista imaging group.

Critics note, however, that photos that aren't necessarily duplicates, but are digital duds, would still all get added, a challenge given that those who take a lot of photos might fill a 2GB card in a single shoot, quickly overflowing a typical notebook computer's hard drive.

Wollersheim said that there are lots of new features designed to make it not just easier to import photos, but to give users more options once the pictures are on their PC.

At the center of photo handling in Vista is a new photo library program called Photo Gallery, which puts all the photos into one library and adds the ability to do basic photo editing without need for a separate program. Similar in many respects to Apple Computer's iPhoto, the new tool was demoed by Bill Gates at January's Consumer Electronics Show.

For starters, the software is designed to allow users to easily add keyword tags and rate their photos, something that takes time but makes it easier to later pick out photos from a library that might have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of images.

On the photo-sharing side, Wollersheim said that Microsoft wanted to give users more options.

"The challenge is that with digital photos, they are all locked up into your computers," Wollersheim said.

Pictures can be shown in a slide show on the PC, tapping Vista's improved built-in graphics. Images can also be burned onto a DVD, sent to an Xbox 360 or special digital photo frame, or e-mailed to others. For e-mailing photos, Microsoft said it has improved the ability to easily scale down the photo to a more manageable size. Vista will offer one more size option than XP (1280 x 1024) and show the estimated size of the final set of images, it said.

"It's kind of a challenge when you mail 3MB pictures across the pipe," Wollersheim said.

As for printing, Microsoft tried to simplify the process of printing at home, as well as expand the range of other options. Microsoft added an online printing option with Windows XP, a move that was somewhat controversial at the time. However, it turned out that research showed only 0.2 percent of users even knew the feature was there. With Vista, online printing options are more prominent, and Microsoft is adding the ability to send the photos to a nearby retailer where they can be picked up after as little as an hour's processing time.

"From our perspective, it's all about choice," Wollersheim said. "How do I get the pictures to my mom?"

See more CNET content tagged:
photograph, digital photograph, Microsoft Windows Vista, printing, Microsoft Corp.

99 comments

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MS Dim Wits
More brain dead thinking from Microsoft's developers.
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I See that you ...
must be the lead developer for a successful company whose installation base reaches millions of users on countries spanning six continents. Or you could just be another hipster bandwagon junkie who likes to spout off cliché knee jerk statements about issues they obviously have nothing insightful, or meaningful to say.

Perhaps you don't actually care to know this, but the process of getting a job as a developer at MS is extremely difficult, and coveted by tens of thousands of IT professionals world wide. IF your resume is shiny enough to land you an interview you are still competing against a swarm of other bright individuals looking to get the job.

The developers at MS are far from incompetent and far from brain dead. But I'll let you get back to running your multi-billion dollar conglomerate organization.
Posted by jwarren.carroll (84 comments )
Link Flag
To be fair...
OSX has that (default) annoying habit of popping up iPhoto whenever you plug in a CF card too (I use GIMP for all my images - gives me tons more control w/o the expense of Photoshop).

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Just ran into the same problem
This past weekend, I tried to import about 70 photos from my digital camera. It took me 20 minutes to realize that only the Windows Photo Gallery program let me import photos -- and the REAL wizard was gone. The new one only gives you 2 step: select the device and file tags (and whether to delete them from the device).

The version in XP was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better!!! It allowed on-the-fly selection of which content items and which destinations -- as well as a preview of items ON the camera itself!

As a supported of their innovations, this 'advancement' reminds me of Win98SE .......
Posted by nasserd (112 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is it just me?
Or are the "brains" at microsoft literally trying to tick everyone off at once?

I think I like the file system as it is. This new photo program will be one of the first programs I either uninstall or disable. If I remember right there was this sort of metal looking dooflachie that hovered on the XP desktop that tried to do something similar... I disabled that too.

Listen you Redmond rubes: Knock it off. We don't want this garbage, we just want an operating system we can use the way we want to use it.
Posted by mattumanu (599 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nope, I prefer a more rubust app as well
I guess they're trying to appeal to the brain dead user who has trouble checking their email (seems to be alot of those). We do have alternatives available, thank goodness.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Yet another reason
that most professional photographers use a Mac.

Microsoft has yet to learn that their "MS knows best" attitude is tolerated by the clueless masses and few others.

This attitude, coupled with things like Vista's draconian licensing (upgrade twice and you have to buy another copy of Windows) will have a lot of Windows users looking at alternatives.

And today, more than ever before, there are real alternatives to Windows.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
uhm, your argument is going to totally backfire here
*** are you talking about. Have you ever listened to your mac crowd. They don't use anything but iphoto, well the home crowd, you are a pro' so you are in a different world. And just what program do you use for all this stuff? Probably one that is available on windows too. So, again, your point is moot.

As far as this being like iphoto, and trying to make a simple program that noobs will use, well, that's what they did. I hear people rave left and right about how great iphoto is. Sorry, it's not that special. Picasso is just as good, if not better. This new program is just the same. If you know your way around a computer at all, all of these programs are a waste of time, and there are better ways.
Posted by bemenaker (438 comments )
Link Flag
Where multimedia was best
The motorola processor originally used in the Mac, Atari ST, and Commodore Amiga was exceptional at working with graphics over the intel chip. Musicians gravitated toward the Atari ST which had the built in MIDI interface before anyone. All this has changed over the years and especially with the recent adoption of the intel chip command set for all personal computers (levels the field). As far as cutting edge goes today, I'd give the prize to linking thousands of PC's together running in a grid as a single "brain" as computing's greatest recent achievement. Handling graphics and music is old hat these days.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Vista makes you stupid...
With this and the "only 2 installs" thing seems to be proof that MS is trying to kill the hobbyist. People who enjoy building their own PCs will spend 5 times more for windows, and now photographers are being crapped on by useless tools.

Microsoft,

We do not want to run on lives on your terms. If you want to keep customers, then you have to allow us to use your products as we want.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Did you see this?
From the article:
>>Images can also be burned onto a DVD, sent to an Xbox 360 or special digital photo frame, or e-mailed to others.<<

Gee. I didn't know I couldn't burn my photos to a DVD in XP. And I didn't know I could email photos either. I'm a lowly XP user and can't email my photos at all... Geeze Louis micromud, I hope there's a wizard that explains exactly why I would want to send my photos to my XBOX.

Sounds like a candidate for disabling. I can hear is screaming now, "turn me off, turn me off, turn me off".
Posted by mattumanu (599 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft
Microsoft isn't interested in doing business with the average joe. Microsoft wants to do business with other businesses. They like dealing with the likes of Dell, Compaq, HP, Emachines, etc. Microsoft would rather have the average joe buy their machine from one of them and let them handle the average joe.

This is why windows costs so much, they are discouraging average people from buying it. They want you to keep the PC industry alive by buying another machine, just to upgrade your OS.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
Vista & photo importng and editing
If you feel limited in options when it comes to uploading pics from your camera to your comp than its all a matter of your settings, same goes for the auto-upload setting. Vista's photo book is by far one of the great bennifits due to layout and simplicity of keeping your album organized & together. It is to the point that now days everyone keeps there pics on there comp, whatever happened to prints by the way???

Anyways, If your camera has wireless capabilities than you dont even have to plug it into the system, another great plus that really makes Vista's expandability into future tech open, check the people around me settings, the system even deteced my pocket pc.

With Vista you can change an array of settings and configurations, almost to the point where it may be too much for the average user. I see rage in the future of those who are not patient & take the approach of not knowing what there changing before they change it. What a crap shoot. One thing that does aid with though is by simply hovering over the icon with arrow a little pop up will display what the item does or changes.

Anyway you look at it, people, they dont like change as it is. Vista goes about that change smoothly so as long as you pay attention during the install. First time I installed Vista it installed on my storage drive and not onto my dedicated C: drive. Well after literally destroying those files by forcing it with a

I am Microsoft partner and have been using Vista for 4 months now. I have Vista installed only my Media comp just so I could become familier with the OS. As for my laptop's, & pc's I will eventually install Vista on all but am going to ease into that transition.

Gods speed with Corp America and Vista's arrival. I think alot of people will need tutorials or navigational training to aid in the process, that's just my opinion.

HEY MICROSOFT, MIGHT WANT TO LOOK INTO PROVIDING AN OPTIONAL VERSION OF THE OS THATS SO SIMPLICIT THAT...WELL, MY GRANMOTHER COULD USE IT. THE RETIRED DEMOGRAPHIC COULD GIVE SOME GREAT FEEDBACK IN USER INTERACTION.
Posted by robwoods20 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I do appologize,
Sorry, I submitted my post without editing and proofing.
Posted by robwoods20 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Vista rocks - Digital Photo management sucks!
I think the photo section of both Vista and the beta newsgroups is the weakest attept I've seen. Unlike all other subsections of the beta and the beta newsgroups, the handling of PHOTO is pretty damn weak. Of course on one hand it's free - comes with the OS, but on the other hand, the management of files is so lacking and counterintuitive its not worth using.
To make matters worse, the newsgrout monitors appear disinterested in simple suggestions which IMHO would make it top-notch!
PajamaGal
Posted by PajamaGal (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Competitors
If MS makes that photo editor actually good and useable we'll see Adobe or Corel morons suing MS bottom off.
Posted by alegr (1590 comments )
Link Flag
I Hate It
MS does not know what's best for my computer!

I hate that XP requires a hack so that double clicking an image opens it in the photo editor you chose rather than what MS engineers developed.

I hate that MS engineers think that I store files together by type and not by project (let me make this clear: a report on a backpacking trip and images from that trip go in the same folder; I don't want images from that trip in the same folder as images from my church's 50th anniversary service).

And now I hate that MS engineers think I'm so inept with my computer that I don't know how to drag and drop the images I want onto my hard drive, that I don't know how to reduce the size of an image to e-mail it, that I don't know how to burn a DVD with images, and that I don't know how to prepare a slideshow in Windows Explorer, PowerPoint, or several other programs.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"A hack"??
To change what program is used to open images you just change the file type association. Most image editing programs will do that for you. Maybe you got some bad info. I know in Paint Shop Pro (PSP) all I have to do is change an option under preferences menu to have this stick.

Also, even though I have thousands of digital pictures on my computer, I've never bothered with any of the Windows built in features. I use Google Picasa to view them or the aforementioned PSP. The default programs may be good enough for simple environments, but it looks you and I need something more. I guess the high variety of apps (many free) and Web 2.0 sites to manage photos should make this a non-issue.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Can't type.....or spell either........LOL
Sorry for the typos and mispellings - Mr. Jive needs a spellchecker...............
Posted by PajamaGal (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Can't type.....or spell either........LOL
Sorry for the typos and mispellings - Mr. Jive needs a spellchecker...............
Posted by PajamaGal (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS can't do anything right
at least according to these posters. If MS had made the interface more 'professional level', these very same people would be complaining that MS made it too hard for ordinary people...
"MS did X? I'll whine and say Y is better. What, they did Y? I'll whine and argue for X"
Its nice to have arguments of convenience, that can be changed at the drop of a hat.

If you don't like the way Windows handles it, there are lots of other choices. Some free, some come with the equipment you buy, some you can buy.
Find what works best for you. At least you have choices.
Posted by catch23 (436 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I See...
that you must be the lead developer for a successful company whose installation base reaches millions of users on countries spanning six continents. Or you could just be another hipster bandwagon junkie who likes to spout off cliché knee jerk statements about issues they obviously have nothing insightful, or meaningful to say.

Perhaps you don't actually care to know this, but the process of getting a job as a developer at MS is extremely difficult, and coveted by tens of thousands of IT professionals world wide. IF your resume is shiny enough to land you an interview you are still competing against a swarm of other bright individuals looking to get the job.

The developers at MS are far from incompetent and far from brain dead. But I'll let you get back to running your multi-billion dollar conglomerate organization.
Posted by jwarren.carroll (84 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!
Cnet has really got to fix the whole issue with posts not ending up where they are supposed to.
Posted by jwarren.carroll (84 comments )
Link Flag
I don't get it
Vista won't copy duplicate files, but that could be "dangerous" if someone copies 2GB of images onto their laptop because it might "overflow" the harddrive? Yeah, if they have a laptop with a 4GB harddrive. Um...

Everyone seems to be up in arms about a feature that is convenient (or not), yet it is a tiny part of the overall OS. If you don't like it, then just use the software that came with your digital camera or any of the other countless Windows apps that are out there for importing and editing photos!
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Does CNET do any fact checking... ever?
"Microsoft added an ability to easily scale down the photo to a more manageable size, a feature that was part of the Mac OS, but lacking in Windows XP."

No, that feature has always been a part of XP. If you select the Email option in the task pane, it will ask you if you want to reduce/compress the pictures.

And why is everything a comparison with Apple? "Similar in many respects to Apple Computer's iPhoto...." This program is similar in many respects to A LOT of photo management programs, not just iPhoto. In fact, it's even similar to Microsoft's own software (Digital Image Suite and its predecessors). There's a deeply-rooted mindset here that if they're doing anything new in Vista, it must be copying Apple....
Posted by bluvg (90 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ur right, I noticed that too
In fact, I think the default state for e-mailing a picture (at least from my home setup) is for Outlooks to assume I want the picture resized smaller. I have to tell it to leave it as is.
Posted by yipching (3 comments )
Link Flag
I guess you never use an Apple.
MS has only imitaded what Apple has done.
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Link Flag
Clarification
Thanks for the comment. We checked this out with Microsoft, which had provided the original information. In Vista, the process will be more automated (less clicking through) and it will show the estimated size of the set of images, it said. There will also be one more size option offered: 1280 x 1024.
Posted by KarenSaid (17 comments )
Link Flag
Developers at MS clever ?
ummmmmmmmmm.

They don't think the general public is capable of drop and drag.

I was going to buy a copy for my new Mac Pro, but then I realised
howcrap it's going to be, will stick with XP, at least that almost
works.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You do get a lot more freedom not using a multibillion $ Companies Product
To all the Windows apologist that think you need to pay for software to get good software, you are incorrect. Windows is not the good product you think it is. Ease of installing software is it's only good point.

Also to Windows users who are very upset with Microsoft's products. Why are you still using an obsolete product? Linux, BSD & even Mac are far ahead on the issues you bring up.

If you use Linux or BSD you will get a free, secure & stable OS. If you insist on paying for it then Mac is pretty much the same as BSD with a simpler sheel.

As for the newbie. If all a person does is check email, surf the web and write a letter, oh yes and do photography then a base install of Ubuntu Linux would be all they ever needed.
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You do get a lot more freedom not using a multibillion $ Companies Product
To all the Windows apologist that think you need to pay for software to get good software, you are incorrect. Windows is not the good product you think it is. Ease of installing software is it's only good point.

Also to Windows users who are very upset with Microsoft's products. Why are you still using an obsolete product? Linux, BSD & even Mac are far ahead on the issues you bring up.

If you use Linux or BSD you will get a free, secure & stable OS. If you insist on paying for it then Mac is pretty much the same as BSD with a simpler sheel.

As for the newbie. If all a person does is check email, surf the web and write a letter, oh yes and do photography then a base install of Ubuntu Linux would be all they ever needed.
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's blatantly obvious to everyone except the Justice Department...
... that since MS cannot innovate its way out of a paper bag, it is
REALLY pushing its monopolistic weight around to force users to
"adopt" standards like this.

To all folks, consumer or IT, forget the FUD about training,
expense, etc. Do some serious due diligence and start pursuing
alternatives to the MS gorilla. It will be short term pain for very long
term gain.
Posted by ppgreat (1128 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How can MS innovate?
Businesses, consumers, ISV's and MS internal submit millons of ideas for stuff to include in the next OS. There's alot of great stuff in there, but at the end of the day, MS is forced to include simple, easy to use, fairly limited feature set applications to include with the OS. Why? Because if they produce great full functional tools and include them for free, some 2 bit company cry's foul that MS leveraged thier monopoly to put them out of business. They have to leave opportunity for partners to build value add and I think they've done a good job with that on all the OS's. I crack Vista for the first time and I've got some tools that do most of what I need. If I want more I can go buy or download something that gives me the missing functionality. I'm not forced to use the tools included in the OS, and I'm free to disable them if I want to. So what is the big deal here? Do people really think 80% of the world wants a start button and a blank screen for an OS?
Posted by erniescar (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MAC is free to innovate
Mac doesn't have to play by the monopoly rules and therefore can put whatever tools and apps with whatever functionality they want. Your not going to see anyone crying to the EU over new Mac features. And in this worry free environment MAC has done a great job. But don't try and argue that Mac innovates more than MS based purely on talent alone.
Posted by erniescar (11 comments )
Link Flag
Yes, that is what we need.
If Microsoft were to release a new operating system that was striped to the bare minimum, I think every IT department in the world (or 80% of the IT departments in the world) would buy it in an instant. The more junk you add the more broke it is.

Microsoft should fork it's product. Give us the version with the animated wall paper and singing clowns for home users to do there stuff, and the minimalistic version for business.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Inaccurate Statement
For e-mailing photos, Microsoft added an ability to easily scale down the photo to a more manageable size, a feature that was part of the Mac OS, but lacking in Windows XP.

Not true...get your facts straight. Check it out before you say it.
Posted by gdmaclew (158 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Inaccurate Statement
For e-mailing photos, Microsoft added an ability to easily scale down the photo to a more manageable size, a feature that was part of the Mac OS, but lacking in Windows XP.

Not true...get your facts straight. Check it out before you say it.
Posted by gdmaclew (158 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Third Person to Point This Out
You're the third person to point that out. I don't say that to condemn it. But, each time I wondered: I've seen (and routinely ignored) the option to shrink an image before e-mailing it, but is that a part of the Windows OS, or is it a part of Outlook? If the latter, then the article should say that MS is moving this functionality from Office to the OS, where it can support all e-mail clients. Right?

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Google Picasa is superior...
I think microsoft should have looked at Google Picasa first. This free tool is much more superior in all respects to Windows Photo Galery.
Posted by alenas (181 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Infranview pawns Picasa
From my own opinion this is the best free photo editor out there.
Posted by piggyshark (11 comments )
Link Flag
picasa spot on !
I agree ,I'm a pro photographer and have all the
'bells etc' but still use picasa dare I say it !more
then photoshop, well done google
Posted by proshoots (3 comments )
Link Flag
They can't add more functionality even if they want to..
...because other companies will cry foul. Monopoly issue remember? If they add more feature, many complain. If they strip it down, many complain. Oh well.
Posted by stoic (2 comments )
Link Flag
Nothing like iPhoto, right!
Is there anything that Winblows isn't copying?
Posted by american1776 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing like iPhoto, right!
Is there anything that Winblows isn't copying?
Posted by american1776 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's also why I hate iPhoto
This is exactly why I hate iPhoto. I dunno about the 2006 (I use 2005)version, but as soon as I plug in my camera iPhoto pops up and says, "Hey, you wanna import ALL of these photos?"

I am always forced to use Image Capture to get my photos off of my camera.

This feature sucks and should go away very soon.
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Problem between mouse and chair.
Hey buddy. Next time you're in the Image Capture application, try
opening up its preferences for a little surprise.

Click this link for a little hint:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://i13.tinypic.com/2j1v3es.jpg" target="_newWindow">http://i13.tinypic.com/2j1v3es.jpg</a>
Posted by MacDuff (62 comments )
Link Flag
 

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