Synchronize photos on two computers!

You’ve tagged, edited, and organized your photos on your home computer. Your photo collection is perfect – just how you want it. But wait, there’s a problem. Your collection is perfect on your home computer, but you want your photos and videos on your laptop as well. Who wants to go through all that work again?

It’d be much easier if you could synchronize computers so that new photos on one computer were automatically copied to the other. Guess what? The Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Sync teams have partnered to make that possible!

Windows Live Photo Gallery Sync

With Sync, keeping photos synchronized on two computers is simple. Download and install Windows Live Essentials on two computers, launch Windows Live Photo Gallery on both and sign in on each using the same Windows Live ID. You’re on your way to synchronizing photos!

It gets better.

Say you edit a photo on your home computer that’s synchronized with your laptop. Later, while looking at that photo on your laptop, you decide you don’t like the edit you made and to want to revert back to the original. With Photo Gallery, you know that’s possible, but you edited the photo on your other computer. With Sync, your photo’s file history is also synchronized so you can undo changes you’ve made from either computer!

This is a new feature that we’re trying out with a limited number of people. If you can, try it out and let us know what you think. If you can’t, hold on – you’ll be able to soon!

—Photo Gallery and Sync teams

Comments (14)

  1. Charlie Owen [MSFT] says:

    OK, I find this *supremely* cool and can’t wait to try it out! This has an added benefit of being a great approach to offsite backup provided you can sync your entire photo collection.


  2. boikej says:

    I have been using Microsoft’s SyncToy 2.0 to syncronize photos between computers. It seems to do exactly the same thing as this Live Sync. The only functional difference I can see is SyncToy would not copy a photo’s file history, but that’s not important to me.

    Which is the better option for syncronizing my photos between two computers over the long term?

  3. mollyfud says:

    Cool features, but how about 2-way syncing with Flick and Face Recognition like iPhoto just got?



  4. Scott Breckenridge says:

    Just blogged about this.  I had used a laptop to tag files in a share, but those tags were not appearing on the other computer and were in fact sometimes blowing away the tags I’d already added.  And locating and tagging people’s faces never worked from the remote computer such that it was recognized on the share owning computer.  

    Syncing directories with Live Sync does make this work almost perfectly.  I haven’t messed with reverting to prior (unedited) versions of photos but, now that I type this, I can’t help but wonder if the versioning was messing up edits to the files in the share.  Anyway, Live Sync works well to tag people via multiple computers so I’m liking it.

  5. Haplo1701 says:

    I know Microsoft loves one-click solutions, but please let me choose to disable "Video" and "Public Video" sync (even better yet let me choose to not manage videos at all in Live Photo(!) Gallery). Even when I disable the video folders on the sync-website everytime I start Photo Gallery they are back. And my computer starts hashing 50GB of videos which does not make it any faster either… Thanks for listening!

  6. pixblog says:

    Thanks everyone for all the comments and feedback!

    @boikej SyncToy is a great little app and has a lot of advanced options, but there are some big differences. For example: (1) WL Sync will keep your files in sync between 2 PCs on a home network or halfway across the globe, SyncToy doesn’t sync files over the internet. (2) This Photo Gallery Sync feature is ‘baked’ into the Photo Gallery and knows about all of the files added to Photo Gallery, including the originals (used to revert during editing).

    @mollyfud @Haplo1701 Thanks for the feedback. These are things we’re thinking about!

  7. JK of Seattle says:

    I have 18000+ photos on my Windows Home Server photo share folder and have 4 PCs on my home lan. What would be the best way to setup/use Photo Gallery to have all PCs in sync with the photos and tags ?

    Should the photo Gallery Db reside on the WHS server for all PCs to symbolic link to ? or ?

    Will live sync work within my lan or go out to the live service on the internet for interaction and updating ? I want all syncing to be contained behind my lan firewall.

  8. gcoupe says:

    1) I certainly don’t want to sync everything in my Pictures folders on my workstation PC with my laptop. For one thing, the laptop doesn’t have enough storage. It is essential to be able to choose which folders I want to be synchronised.

    2) It’s not clear to me what the difference is between choosing to sync from within Windows Live Photo Gallery, or simply choosing folders in Windows Live Sync. Are you saying that Windows Live Sync does not work with undoing edits?

  9. pixblog says:

    @ JK of Seattle You ask a lot of good questions. 🙂 The Photo Gallery Sync feature is designed primarily for two PCs with Windows Live Photo Gallery. Today, Photo Gallery doesn’t have a “network mode” that allows you to point multiple installs of Photo Gallery at a central location like WHS, nor is there a supported way to move the location of the Photo Gallery database to a location other than the default one on the local disk. This is a scenario we’ll think more about. As far as your last question goes, Windows Live Sync is smart. It is also a P2P solution. When the other device is on the same local network it does not send the data outside the firewall and over the internet. It will make a direct connection to the other PC.

    @gcoupe (1) Yes, this is feedback we’ve heard loud and clear. See part of my next answer. (2) The difference is really with the initial set up. Sure, you could manually set up Windows Live Sync to sync all of the same folders you have added to Photo Gallery, including the Originals folder userd for Revert, but that’s a lot more work than just clicking a single button. Now back to your first question. You could turn off Photo Gallery sync (File menu) and manually set up the folders you want so you aren’t syncing your entire collection.

    Hope this helps! Thanks for the comments and feedback.

  10. jaxim says:

    can you drag tags onto photos yet in photo gallery? That’s one of a few essential features that is missing that has made me stop using the live software.


  11. gcoupe says:

    @pixblog – thanks for your response, but part of it left me more confused than ever, so I did a little digging around my system, and still remain confused.

    You referred to "the Originals folder", implying that if I want to be able to reverse changes made to images on either of my PCs, I would need to Sync this folder. That’s all very well, but as far as I can see, this "Originals" folder, which you so blithely mention, is a hidden folder. OK, so I go and look for it, thinking it would be a sub-folder in the Windows Live Photo Gallery section of the user’s AppData hierarchy. Nope – not there. But wait, there’s an "Originals" folder in an entirely different sub-tree, the "Windows Photo Gallery" section. Ah, so that’s where they are…

    Is there some reason why you folks seem intent on creating "a maze of twisty little passages, all alike" in your software?

  12. pixblog says:

    @gcoupe Hi again. Sorry if it was a little confusing. The Originals folder we referred to is documented in You’re right, it is in the Windows Photo Gallery folder. It is there for legacy reasons – Windows Photo Gallery in Vista first introduced the concept of storing originals in a different location once an image is edited. Since Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Photo Gallery can run side by side it was important to keep the location the same for that scenario and migration scenarios.

    Setting up Photo Gallery Sync manually is not the primary scenario we designed for in this release, so that task was not really optimized nor are we really promoting that. We do believe there are a lot of Photo Gallery users that will be happy with the very easy solution to keep their memories in sync across their PCs. We mentioned the workaround in our earlier response just to let you know it could be done if you’re familiar with Windows Live Sync and manually setting up individual folders to sync. We’ve heard the feedback that some users want the ability to customize which Photo Gallery folders are synchronized as part of the Photo Gallery Sync experience. Providing that additional option would prevent the need for users to manually set up the Photo Gallery folders. Thanks.

  13. cfineman says:

    @pixblog Regarding your respond to [JK of Seatle]; I have a similar situation where all my photos are on a shared NAS… if I use the PG Live Sync, will it just sync the database… will it get confused if the two machines are actually referencing the same physical file?

  14. izapharry says:

    Thank for useful information and i will try this feature of Microsoft