Understanding the Pictures Folder

by Barry Dysert
(last updated December 9, 2013)

There are several "personal system" folders included in Windows that serve as convenient repositories for various types of media files. Some of these folders include Pictures, Music, and Videos. Depending on how you've customized your Start menu, links to these folders may appear on your Start menu. If you click the Pictures option on the Start menu, Windows opens an Explorer window to display the Pictures library. This library defaults to the following location on your system (replace <user> with the appropriate user name on the system):

C:\Users\<user>\Pictures

Note that Pictures is a library, which means you can add other directories to it while leaving the actual picture files in their current location. To do this, click the Pictures link on the Start menu and then click on the Locations link when the Explorer window comes up. (The Locations link is located at the top of the window, right under the words "Pictures Library.") Windows displays the Pictures Library Locations dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Adding another location to the Pictures library.

You can then click the Add button to add another location to this library. (Windows libraries are covered under another tip.)

Another nice feature is since Pictures is a library, its Search and Arrange features are designed to work on its content's metadata. For example, if you go to the Pictures library and click the Arrange By drop-down list, Windows presents you with choices that are appropriate to working with pictures. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Arranging the Picture library's contents by metadata.

Likewise, if you want to search in the library, click the Windows Search box and Windows presents you with searching options that are tailored for picture files. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Searching the Picture library's contents by metadata.

Here you see that you can search by when a picture was taken, what tags it may have, or what type of picture it is.

 This tip (12830) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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