Windows Vista Photo Gallery Scoping

The Windows Vista Photo Gallery is built on top of a database that allows you to perform powerful queries against your collection of photos and video. Although a file will live in one only folder, you’ll be able to find it in new ways, like by the date it was taken, the date it was imported, the tags you have applied to it, the rating you have given it, or by searching for text in the file name, path, or caption.

Indexing every file on your PC would be very time consuming and resource intensive, and is not usually required since most people keep their photos in one or two specific places on their PC. The most common locations are added to ‘scope’ by default (and therefore get indexed automatically).

  • \Users\<user>\Pictures
  • \Users\<user>\Videos
  • \Users\Public\Public Pictures\
  • \Users\Public\Public Videos\

The public folders are great for families that share a PC and have a shared set of photos that they want everyone to see. Any photos stored in the Public folders will be able to be seen by all of the other users on the PC. Any tags that get added to these photos will show up in the Gallery for the other users of the PC automatically.

If you keep your photos in a different location (like an external hard drive), it’s easy to add your photos to the Gallery. Select ‘Add Folder to Gallery…’ from the ‘File’ menu. This will let you browse for the folder on your PC (maybe it’s on an external hard drive, or even a network location).

Once you have added the folder, the Gallery will start indexing this new location for you. The Photo Gallery will automatically stay in sync with any changes that are made in any of the folders that are in scope.

– Scott Dart (Program Manager)

Comments (1)

  1. DuncanMackenzie says:

    We’ve posted an out-of-date, but still interesting video on the Photo Gallery up at