Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Microsoft in developing Windows 8 has not heeded this advise and attempted to make it simpler still. As least concerning importing photos from a camera to a Windows 8 PC this over-simplification has resulted in at best a toy. A toy, to borrow a phrase from Consumer Reports, “not suitable for a child that is being punished.”
For many years Microsoft has provided an outstanding tool for managing, enhancing, and sharing photos, Photo Gallery, formerly known as Windows Photo Gallery. This is still a member of the Windows Essentials suite that is available as a free download and already installed on many new Windows 8 computers.
So what happens when you plug your camera into your PC?
You get a little popup in the upper right corner. If you notice it and are quick enough to “tap” it – that is “click” for PC users without a touchscreen – an option dialog shows up there.
In the illustrations here the title is “D60” – that is my camera. The options are rather surprising. I have Photo Gallery installed on this PC and also Picasa. Picasa shows up but Photo Gallery does not.
Why Microsoft would show a competitor’s application but not their own will not be explored in this article, but that is an interesting question.
The problem is, Photo Gallery is not available as an import option. So what does the “Photos” option do? It searches the camera and then presents all the photos that it finds on the camera.
You can select all or none with a command at the top. You can select one by one the photos you want to import. No grouping as with Photo Gallery, no automatic naming of folders, no option to add tags. You can see that I had 561 photos in my camera. Most people have a lot of photos in their cameras. This app is clearly a cheap toy. Don’t bother with it, it will only make you mad.
There is a way to use Photo Gallery, but it is not as simple and easy as in Windows 7.
Go to the desktop and start Photo Gallery. Then plug in and turn on your camera. Ignore the inane “tap” option. (You can set the AutoPlay defaults to “Take no action” so these will not come up in the future.)
The camera will be recognized and shown in the Devices section of the Photo Gallery navigation pane. Note the screen tip. It advises that you can click the devise icon to start the import process. You can also get there with the “Import” option in the upper left on the ribbon.
The Photo Gallery importer – that fine utility that has served users for so many years – will now run normally, providing all the options that make the use of Photo Gallery such a joy and so convenient.
© 2012 Ludwig Keck