Chapter 12. Graphics and Multimedia

Windows Vista offers considerable multimedia capabilities; it is a substantial upgrade over Windows XP. Windows Movie Maker, for example, is a far more powerful and sophisticated program than the version that shipped with Windows XP, and Windows Media Player 11 is a significant upgrade as well. In addition, Windows Vista has new graphics applications, such as the Windows Photo Gallery and the Snipping Tool.

This chapter covers Windows graphics and multimedia tools; for information about installing related hardware, see Chapter 9.

Here is an alphabetical reference of entries in this chapter:

Fax Cover Page Editor

Snipping Tool

Windows Media Player

Microsoft Magnifier

Windows DVD Maker

Windows Movie Maker


Windows Fax and Scan

Windows Photo Gallery

Private Character Editor

Windows Media Center


Fax Cover Page Editor

See Chapter 10.

Microsoft Magnifier

See Chapter 10.

Paint: \windows\system32\mspaint.exe

A rudimentary image editor, used to create and modify .bmp, .jpg, .gif, .tif, .ico, and .png image files.

To open

Start All Programs Accessories Paint

Command Prompt mspaint


Paint is a basic image editor (often called a "paint program") capable of creating and modifying most Windows Bitmap (.bmp), Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg), Compuserve Graphics Interchange Format (.gif), Tagged Image File Format (.tif), and Portable Network Graphics (.png) image files. It can open icon (.ico) files but cannot save graphics in the .ico format. In essence, Paint is to image files as Notepad is to text files (see Figure 12-1).

Figure 12-1. The Paint utility, which provides a few rudimentary tools for working with image files

The first time you start Paint, you'll get a blank (white) image that is 512 x 320 pixels. Depending on the size of the Paint window, you may see the entire canvas, surrounded by a gray border.

To change the size of the image, go to Image Attributes and enter the new dimensions in the Width and Height fields. The default units are pixels, but if you choose inches or centimeters, the size of the image will be calculated using the resolution displayed at the top of the window.

At the top of the Paint window, you'll see a color palette; the leftmost box shows the currently selected foreground and background colors. Choose a new foreground color by left-clicking on any color in the palette; choose a new background color by right-clicking. The roles of the foreground and background colors depend on the currently selected tool (discussed shortly). For example, if you draw a filled-in ellipse (click the ellipse tool, select the second variation from the menu that appears, then left-click and drag to draw the ellipse), the foreground color will appear as the border and the background color will be used to fill the ellipse. You can mix your own colors by going to Colors Edit Colors.

To the left of the document area is a simple toolbox. Each tool has a different function used to manipulate the image in some way. The first two tools are used to select portions of the image: the irregularly shaped dotted line selects an irregular shape and the rectangle selects a rectangle. The eraser tool works like a paintbrush, except that it paints with the background color. The paint bucket is used to fill a bounded area with a solid color. The eyedropper is used to set the foreground or background color from a selected color in the image (left-click on a color to set the foreground color, right-click to set the background color). The magnifying glass zooms in and out; left-click to zoom in and right-click to zoom out.

The pencil icon draws single-pixel-width lines, and the paintbrush draws with a variety of brush sizes, chosen in the brush palette beneath the toolbox; the left mouse button draws with the foreground color, and the right mouse button draws with the background color. The spray can draws by splattering random dots. The A tool is used to add text to an image, although once text has been applied, it becomes part of the image and can't be changed. The line tool is used to draw a straight line between two points; with the squiggly line tool, you'll need to first draw a straight line and then distort the line with a third click. The last four tools are shapes; choose the shape, and then choose whether it will be filled or have a border by using the brush palette below.

In addition to these basic tools, there are some other goodies. Go to File Set as Background (Tiled, Centered, or Stretched) to set the current image as the Windows Desktop wallpaper. Use View View Bitmap to temporarily fill the screen with the image (note that this works on all file types, not just bitmaps); click or press any key to go back. Entries in the Image menu let you perform some extra functions, such as flipping, rotating, and resizing the image.


  • If you're creating an image file to be used on a web page, you must save that file using the .jpg, .png, or .gif format, a selection that is made in the File Save As box. Note that it is not enough to simply rename a file to a different format in Explorer; you must open it in Paint and save it as the new format.

  • If you paste an image into Paint that is larger than the bitmap you currently have open, you are prompted and can choose to have the bitmap enlarged.

See also

"Windows Photo Gallery"

Private Character Editor

See Chapter 10.

Snipping Tool: \windows\system32\SnippingTool.exe

Capture, annotate, and save screen captures.

To open

Start All Programs Accessories Snipping Tool

Command Prompt snippingtool


The Snipping Tool, new to Windows Vista, lets you capture any portion of your screen, annotate that screen capture, and then copy it to the Clipboard or save it as a .mht, .png, .gif, or .jpeg file. When you run the Snipping Tool a small screen appears (Figure 12-2). The rest of your screen dims, and your cursor turns into a big + sign. If you want to snip a rectangular area, use the cursor to define the area. You can instead capture a freeform area, the entire screen, or a screen or object such as the Taskbar. To do that, click New in the Snipping Tool and make your choice of screen captures.

Figure 12-2. The Snipping Tool, which lets you capture Windows screens

Next, the Snipping Tool displays your screen capture and lets you annotate it and/or save it to the Clipboard or to a file (see Figure 12-3). There's a highlighter, pen, and eraser for annotations. To save the clip to the Clipboard, click the Copy icon; to send it via email, click the Email icon.

Figure 12-3. Annotating a screenshot with the Snipping Tool

You can also customize several Snipping Tool features by clicking the Options button when the Snipping Tool first pops up, or by choosing Tools Options from the Annotation window. You can choose options such as whether to always copy the snip to the Clipboard automatically, whether you should be prompted to save the snip when you exit, whether to display the Snipping Tool icon in the Quick Launch Toolbar, and so on.


  • The Alt-Print Screen and Ctrl-Print Screen combinations will capture your screen to the Clipboard. You can paste the contents of the Clipboard into a graphics application, such as Paint, in order to save the screen as a file.

  • If you want a more powerful screen capture program than the Snipping Tool, try SnagIt, downloadable from

See also

"Clipboard," in Chapter 3

Windows DVD Maker: \Program Files\Movie Maker\DVDMaker.exe

Create DVDs that you can watch on a TV.

To open

Start All Programs Windows DVD Maker

Command Prompt dvdmaker


Windows DVD Maker is a simple program for creating DVDs that you can play on a TV. It features a wizard-style interface and walks you through two screens to create a DVD:

Add pictures and video to the DVD

This screen (Figure 12-4) lets you add videos and pictures to your DVD by clicking the "Add items" button; remove them by highlighting them and clicking the "Remove items" button. You can rearrange the order of the items as well. The Options link lets you choose from a variety of settings for the DVD, and for creating the DVD:

Choose DVD playback settings

Choose whether the DVD should start with a DVD menu, play the video, and then end with a DVD menu, or play the video in a continuous loop.

DVD aspect ratio

Choose between 4:3 and 16:9.

Video format

Choose between NTSC and Pal.

DVD burner speed

Choose the speed at which you burn the DVDfastest, medium, or slow. If you have trouble viewing DVDs you create, try a slower setting when you burn them.

Temporary file location

Choose where to store the temporary files used for DVD burning. If you don't have enough space on your boot drive, you can specify another internal drive or an external USB or FireWire drive here.

Figure 12-4. Windows DVD Maker, which lets you choose videos and pictures to burn onto a DVD that you can play on a TV

Ready to burn disk

This screen (Figure 12-5) lets you customize and preview your DVD before burning it to disk. It has the following options:


As the name implies, this lets you preview what the final DVD will look like.

Menu text

This lets you change the text on the DVD menu. You can add a disc title, change the font, and choose different words for the Play, Scenes, and Notes buttons.

Customize menu

Use this option to choose pictures or videos for the foreground and background of the menu page, play an audio file while the menu is displayed, choose a button style, and change the font for the menu. You can save your settings as a new style and then use that style whenever you want.

Slide show

This lets you create a slide show out of the videos and pictures on the DVD by playing the first few seconds of each, with music. You can customize most things about the slide show, including the length of each clip, the music that plays, effects to use between clips, the order of the clips, and so on.

Figure 12-5. Finalizing the DVD before burning it to disc

The righthand side of the screen lets you choose a menu style. The Burn button, as you might imagine, burns your content to the DVD.


  • You can launch Windows DVD Maker directly from Windows Movie Maker so that you can easily burn DVDs of the movies you create in Windows Movie Maker. See "Windows Movie Maker," later in this chapter, for details.

  • To use Windows DVD Maker, you have the proper video card. It must support DirectX 9 with video drivers for Windows Vista.

See also

"Windows Movie Maker"

Windows Fax and Scan

See Chapter 10.

Windows Media Center: C:Windows\ehome\ehshell.exe

Play and record media of all types, including TV.

To open

Start All Programs Windows Media Center

Command Prompt ehshell (only when you're in C:Windows\ehome\)


The Windows Media Center, previously available only in a special edition of Windows XP, ships with every copy of Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate. It uses an interface unlike any other program built into Windows (Figure 12-6), and it dispenses with menus, toolbars, and the usual screen elements you've grown used to in Windows; you instead navigate and choose features by using your mouse or arrow keys, or if you have one, a remote control. In fact, it looks more like it's been designed to be used with a remote control, rather than the keyboard.

Figure 12-6. The Windows Media Center, which features an interface designed to be navigated from a remote control as much as from the keyboard

Microsoft has been trying to make the Windows Media Center the center of home entertainment systems, and it has been designed to connect to TVs. Because it is supposed to have its place in the living room and has been designed to be accessed via remote control, it's simple and intuitive to use, so there's no need to delve into its general use in any great detail here.

The Windows Media Center interface is self-explanatory. Scroll to the kind of media you want to watch or record (Pictures & Videos, Music, TV & Movies, and so on) and select Program Library, or Recorded TV, to view a library of all the media in that category, as you can see in Figure 12-7. Then select it to view it. The Windows Media Center uses the familiar VCR-like controls along the bottom of the screen (e.g., Play, Stop, etc.) to control your playing. You can also watch TV and play DVDs.

Figure 12-7. Viewing a library of all the media in the Recorded TV selection

To watch TV, you need to have a TV tuner card in your PC (or an external tuner) that can either play on-air signals or connect to your cable TV. After you install the card, run the Windows Media Center and choose Set Up TV from TV & Movies.

The Tasks choice lets you change settings and perform tasks that otherwise might not be obvious. Scroll to Tasks, and then select Settings (Figure 12-8). From here, you can choose settings for the way the Windows Media Center plays media, functions, and interacts with Windows Vista and hardware. Again, the settings are quite straightforward and need no further explanation.

Figure 12-8. The Windows Media Center's Settings menu


  • The Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player perform many of the same functions and play all kinds of media. Windows Media Player, though, cannot play or record TV shows. And the Windows Media Center is not as well suited as Windows Media Player to managing media libraries, although it is well suited to playing media.

  • To connect your PC to many external devices and control them using the Windows Media Center, you can use a Windows Media Center Extender, a separate device that connects to your cable system and to your home network. You can also get a Media Center Extender for Xbox that connects your Xbox to your PC. For details, visit

See also

"Windows Media Player"

Windows Media Player: C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe

Play back a wide variety of video and audio media files, such as .mpg movies, .mp3 songs, .wma Windows media songs, audio CD tracks, .dvr-ms recorded TV shows, media files, and other streaming media.

To open

Start All Programs Windows Media Player

Double-click on any associated media file

Command Prompt wmplayer (note: you have to be in C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player to run it from the command prompt)


Windows Media Player is the default application used to open and play most of the types of video and audio media supported by Windows Vista (see Figure 12-9). You can open Windows Media Player from the Start menu, as well as by double-clicking on a supported media file or clicking on a link in a web page to open that video or audio clip and play it. The program isn't configured or enabled until you launch it for the first time, at which point a simple configuration screen will appear. (For details, see "Privacy issues," later in this entry).

Figure 12-9. Windows Media Player, which is used to play video and audio clips

Basic operation of Windows Media Player is fairly straightforward, with the standard VCR-like controls along the bottom of the screen (e.g., Play, Stop, etc.), the current view of your media or operations in the large, middle part of the screen, and navigation on the left part of the screen. This basic view, however, changes according to your current activity.

Windows Media Player has become increasingly sophisticated with each version, and the current versionversion 11has become a kind of multimedia powerhouse, allowing you to view media of many different types; record TV shows and DVDs; "rip" music from CDs to play on your PC; burn audio CDs or data CDs or DVDs; sync with portable music players, Pocket PCs, and Smartphones or Microsoft's own Plays4Sure devices; and buy music and videos online through Microsoft's URGE store and other online media stores.

Windows Media Player doesn't display the traditional menu, with File, View, Play, Tools, and so on. To make that menu appear, press the Alt key; to make it disappear, press the Alt key again. You can also make the traditional menu stay permanent by right-clicking on an empty portion of the toolbar and choosing Show Classic Menus.

Across the top of the screen is a toolbar that gives you access to all of Windows Media Player's features. To perform a function, click the main part of any button; to select options for that button, click the bottom part of the button and a down arrow will appear, revealing a drop-down menu. Here's what you can do with each toolbar option:

Now Playing

This lets you choose options related to your current selection, and how it plays and displays media. The most important options relate to enhancements, visualizations, and plug-ins:


This includes adding SRS WOW effects, which let you optimize bass, stereo, and other audio effects; using a graphics equalizer to choose how to enhance and mix your music; changing your video color settings, including changing the hue, brightness, saturation, and contrast; and other similar options.


These are graphics displays (see Figure 12-10) that react to the music you're playing; you can choose from dozens of different visualizations.

Figure 12-10. One of the many visualizations you can use with Windows Media Player


These are add-ins that work in concert with Windows Media Playerfor example, to add surround sound to Windows Media Player. You can configure existing plug-ins or click a link to go to a web site where you can download more plug-ins.


This lets you switch among various librariesfor example, among all of your recorded music, recorded TV shows, videos, and pictures. It also lets you create playlists and add new media to any of your libraries.


This controls your options for when you "rip" music from a CD, that is, convert its audio CD tracks to digital files that you can play on Windows Media Player. Before you place a CD in your PC to rip music from it, set your options by clicking the bottom of the Rip button, where a down arrow will appear. When you select Format from the Rip menu, you can choose from the following audio types:

Windows Media Audio

This is the default type for ripping music. Microsoft claims that Windows Media Audio files are of a superior quality to MP3s ripped at the same bit rate.

Windows Media Audio Pro

The quality of sound produced by this file type is superior to that of Windows Media Audio. However, it is not supported by as many portable music devices as Windows Media Audio or MP3 files, and so it has not caught on to the same extent.

Windows Media Audio (variable bit rate)

Using this file type, you'll get smaller files when you record at the same bit rate as Windows Media Audio, but with the same general quality. When you use this standard, tracks will be recorded at lower bit rates than your chosen rate if recording them at that rate will not lead to a reduction in qualityfor example, if you're listening to a less complex piece of music.

Windows Media Audio (lossless)

This file type produces files of higher sound quality than other Windows Media formatslossless means that there is no loss of quality when you record musicbut it produces files of much larger size.


This is the most common standard for recording and listening to music.

WAV (lossless)

This is a noncompressed digital format that is of a very high quality but produces files of an extremely large size.

Bit Rate, another choice on the Rip menu, lets you choose your recording bit rate. The available options will vary according to the audio type you've chosen. For example, if you select Windows Media Audio, you can choose bit rates between 48 Kbps and 192 Kbps, and if you select MP3, you can choose bit rates between 128 Kbps and 320 Kbps.

The Rip menu gives you several other options, including whether to start ripping music as soon as you place a CD in a drive, and whether to eject the CD after you're done ripping. With both of these settings enabled, you can stack up your CD collection next to your PC, and the only time you'll be distracted is when you need to insert a new disc.


This lets you choose the type of CD to burnan Audio CD, or a data CD or DVD. You can also choose whether to automatically eject a disk after you're done burning. An especially important option on this menu is Apply Volume Leveling Across Tracks on Audio CD. If you're burning an audio CD with music on it from different sources, the volume at which the music has been recorded may vary, so on your recorded CD, some tracks may be too loud and others too soft. Volume leveling will make all of the tracks on the CD you burn the same general volume.

Click the Burn button to burn your CD.


This will let you synchronize with portable music players such as Play4Sure-compliant players, with Pocket PCs and Smartphones, and with Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drives. If you have multiple devices, you can choose which one to sync, and you can control basic sync options for the device, such as whether to include files you've skipped in a previous sync.

When you sync a device, it will automatically sync all of your files. But if you want it to sync only some of your files, select the device from the Sync menu and then choose Set Up Sync. A screen such as that shown in Figure 12-11 appears. Select the playlists you want to sync, remove those you don't, and click Finish.

Figure 12-11. Customizing a sync with a portable device

At this point, you've set up a sync but not actually performed it. Click the Sync button to perform the sync.


This brings you to the URGE online music store, where you can buy and download music.

Sharing your media

If you have a network of two or more computers with Windows Vista on them and Windows Media Player enabled, you can set up the computers to share their media libraries so that you can play music from any other computer on the network with which you've enabled sharing. Windows Vista will automatically recognize any other Windows Vista PCs on your network, and a message will appear on the Taskbar telling you it's found another PC. Click it, and a notification screen appears; to share your libraries, click Allow.

You can also customize how your media is shared (Library Media Sharing). Instead of Allow, click Sharing Settings, and the screen shown in Figure 12-12 appears. Check the box next to "Share my media to," highlight any PC you see, and click "Allow" to share libraries or "Deny" to deny library sharing.

Figure 12-12. Selecting devices with which you want to share media libraries

You can also further customize how you'll share libraries with each PC. Click Settings (Figure 12-13), and you can choose which media types to share and even whether to share files above or below certain ratings.

Figure 12-13. Customizing how you share your media library

Privacy issues

In the past, there has been some controversy over whether using Windows Media Player has any privacy implications. Because of that, Microsoft has built options into the program to let you decide how Windows Media Player contacts Internet servers.

The first time you start Windows Media Player, you'll get a choice of using the default settings (the Express option), or using custom settings, where you can customize your playback, privacy, and online store options (the Custom option). If you want to change your privacy options, select the Custom option. After you do that, the first screen you'll see is the Select Privacy Options screen, shown in Figure 12-14.

Figure 12-14. Customizing your privacy settings

All of these settings have to do with how Windows Media Player interacts with various Internet services, and with Microsoft. Because these options send information back and forth between your PC and various servers and sites, and in some instances send information about your system to a server or site, some people worry about their privacy implications. Here are the settings you can change:

Enhanced Playback Experience

This section controls several settings related to how Windows Media Player communicates with media-related servers to handle the media on your PC. All options are enabled by default:

Display media information from the Internet

With this option enabled, Windows Media Player will communicate with servers to obtain information about your media, including song title, artist, length, album cover, and so on, and use that information inside Windows Media Player.

Update music files by retrieving media information from the Internet

With this option enabled, Windows Media Player will update any missing information in your music files by sending information about them to a Windows Media database. If the database has more information than you havefor example, if it has an artist name, a track number, and so onyour local music files will be updated from it. Note that the actual music itself will not be changed; only the information about the file will be altered.

Download usage rights automatically when I play a file

With this option enabled, Windows Media Player will automatically download media usage rights from a server if it finds that the rights on your media are out-of-date or missing. If you make this choice, you won't be prompted to look for the rights. Note, though, that if you choose this option, some files that you can normally play but that do not have these rights associated with them may no longer play.

Enhanced Content Provider Services

By default, this is not enabled because it has proved to be very controversial in the past. With this option enabled, Windows Media Player will report your music and movie use to Microsoft and will place a so-called "supercookie" on your hard disk that some privacy advocates claim can leave you open to privacy invasions, something that Microsoft disputes.

Windows Media Player Customer Experience Improvement Program

This option, not enabled by default, sends information about your hardware and your usage of Windows Media Player to Microsoft. Microsoft says it uses the information in order to improve the quality of Windows Media Player, and that all information is anonymous. Users worried about their privacy usually do not enable this option.


This option saves your file and URL history in Windows Media Player.

You can always change these options, even after the first time you've set up Windows Media Player. Click the down arrow at the bottom of any button on the toolbar and select More Options from the drop-down menu. Then click the Privacy tab, and you can make your changes.

The rest of the options in the custom setup control whether to download the URGE online music store, and other options.


  • There are many options you can change for how Windows Media Player works. To select them, click the bottom of any button on the toolbar so that the down arrow and the drop-down menu appear, then choose Properties. Then click any tab to change the optionsfor example, click Burn to change burning options.

  • If you encounter a video or audio file that Windows Media Player doesn't understand, you can usually add support for it by downloading the appropriate codec (compression/decompression driver). Right-click on the media file, select Properties, and choose the Details tab to view the name of the required codec (if available), or the file type. Then, use an Internet search engine (such as to locate the codec installer. You can also try VLC, an open source media player that seems to be able to play any media type in existence. Find it at

  • Use the Windows Update feature, discussed in Chapter 8, to install the latest drivers, codecs, and updates to Windows Media Player.

  • You cannot use Windows Media Player with an iPod.

Windows Movie Maker: \program files\movie maker\moviemk.exe

Capture and edit video, and create video clips.

To open

Start All Programs Windows Movie Maker

Command Prompt moviemk (you must be in the movie maker subdirectory to run this)


Windows Movie Maker has been significantly beefed up from its Windows XP incarnation, and it is now a full-featured program for creating videos. The Windows XP and Windows Vista versions of it have become popular for creating videos uploaded to video-sharing sites such as YouTube (

The program can import video clips, graphics files, and sounds from a digital video camera, or from files on your hard disk or other PCs on your networks. With a digital video camera, you can create your own video clips from scratch. Windows Movie Maker (and most video editing software) can be quite complex, so I will include only an introduction here.

In Windows Movie Maker (Figure 12-15), on the lefthand side of the screen are the tasks you need to completein step-by-step orderto create a movie, beginning with importing various media, moving on to editing the movie, and finishing up with publishing it.

Figure 12-15. The beefed-up Windows Movie Maker, which lets you edit video clips and create movies

Here are the basics of each major step:


You can import video from a digital video camera connected to your PC, via the USB or FireWire ports. You can also import video, pictures, or audio and music files from your PC, from PCs connected to your network, from storage devices attached to your PC, and from digital cameras connected to your PC. When you import any files, you'll see thumbnails of them in the central part of your screen. The currently highlighted video or clip appears on the large window on the right side of the screen, so you can display or view it.

Once you've imported the videos and pictures, drag them to the storyboard at the bottom part of the screen (Figure 12-16) and drag each object into a frame.

Figure 12-16. Dragging a clip to the storyboard

If you want your movie to have a soundtrack, apart from the sounds within each individual video clip, drag a music file onto the storyboard. When you do this, a timeline appears (Figure 12-17), showing the music clip underneath and the frames above it. You can rearrange your clips and pictures by dragging them into different locations.

Figure 12-17. The timeline from which you can coordinate music with clips and pictures


Once you have your storyboard in place, you can edit the movie in these ways:


Adds effects to clips and pictures, such as rippling, blurring, aging, panning, pixelating, posterizing, and so on. Just drag the effect onto the clip or picture.


Adds transitions (Figure 12-18) between clips and pictures, such as dissolves, cross-cuts, fading in and out, fanning, and so on.

Figure 12-18. Adding transitions between clips, scenes, or pictures

Titles and credits

Adds titles and credits. You can add titles at the beginning, before clips, or on top of clips.

Use the controls at the bottom of the screen to play your movie and continue to add media, effects, transitions, and so on, until you have it the way you want. The actual video project consists of clips inserted into the storyboard. Using the magnify controls to the left of the timeline, you can zoom in for more precise work or zoom out to see more of the timeline at once.

To the left of the magnify controls is the storyboard/timeline link: click it to switch between the default Storyboard view (where each clip is the same size) and the more sophisticated Timeline view (where clips are sized relative to their duration). The Timeline view (the view with the numbers across the top) is much more intuitive and easier to use, as it shows a more accurate view of the project and allows more precise control when splitting.

The video preview, shown in the upper right, allows you to view the video project as it will appear when you're done. Click the Play button, or simply drag your mouse across the timeline to view any portion of the video project.

Publish To

Once you've gotten your movie the way you want it, click any of the links in this section to publish your movie to your computer, DVD, CD, and so on. If you publish to a DVD, it will launch Windows DVD Maker; if you publish to a recordable CD, it will burn it directly onto the CD.

There are other tools as well, notably the file menu across the top of the screen. A full description of those tools is beyond the scope of this book, but it will be worth your while to experiment with them.

You can also edit clips and graphics placed on the storyboard/timeline by right-clicking and making choices from the menu, including adding effects fading in and out, removing the graphic or clip, and so on.


  • Windows Movie Maker supports a variety of video, graphics, and audio formats, allowing you to import media from a number of different sources into your projects. Suffice it to say, if there is a major (or not-so-major) format, Windows Movie Maker will be able to import it, with one very notable exception: QuickTime (.mov) files.

  • When you delete items from Windows Movie Maker, it does not affect the original source files.

See also

"Windows DVD Maker"

Windows Photo Gallery: \program files\Windows Photo Gallery\WindowsPhotoGallery.exe

Organize, view, and edit pictures and video clips.

To open

Start All Programs Windows Photo Gallery

Command Prompt windowsphotogallery (you must be in the Windows Photo Gallery subdirectory to run this)


Windows Photo Gallery (Figure 12-19) is an organizational, viewing, and editing tool for handling digital pictures and video clips. It won't replace more powerful editing programs, but for most basic tasks such as viewing and organizing your clips, as well as for basic photo-editing tasks such as eliminating red eye, it's perfectly serviceable.

Figure 12-19. Windows Photo Gallery, for organizing pictures and video clips

When you load Windows Photo Gallery, you may notice that not all of your pictures and video clips are in it. That's because by default, it loads only pictures and videos from your Pictures folder (\users\username\Pictures). You can, however, add other folders, or even other individual pictures and clips, to it. To add folders, choose File Add Folder to Gallery, or open Windows Explorer and drag a folder from Windows Explorer to Windows Photo Gallery. You can also add individual pictures and clips, or groups of them, by dragging them in.

The lefthand side of the screen lets you filter the pictures and videos you're viewing in a variety of different ways, including by tag, date, ratings, folder in which they're located, and so on.

Right-click any picture to display a menu that lets you accomplish a variety of tasks:

  • Previewing the picture or clip in a kind of full-screen mode

  • Opening the picture or clip in a graphics or video program or player

  • Setting the file as your desktop background

  • Adding tags

  • Clearing the rating

  • Rotating the picture

  • Changing the time the picture was taken

  • Copying, deleting, and renaming the picture or clip

  • Viewing the file properties

To view a single picture or video, double-click it and it will be displayed as shown in Figure 12-20. The righthand side of the screen displays the file's details, such as size, resolution, date taken, rating, and tags. To add tags, click the Add Tags button.

Figure 12-20. Viewing an individual picture in Windows Photo Gallery

Back on the main screen, to change the way Windows Photo Gallery displays pictures and clips, click the down arrow next to the thumbnail icon just beneath the toolbar. You have a variety of options, including tiling them, displaying them as thumbnails (the default) or as thumbnails with text, grouping or sorting them in many different ways (date taken, date modified, file size, and so on), and an odd kind of Table of Contents option that lists the filter you're currently using to summarize groups of files on the left side of the screen.

There's also a Search box that searches through filenames, properties, and tags.

The bottom of the screen sports CD-like controls. Press the large, central Play button to play a slideshow of the pictures and clips. When you do this, it takes over your PC and plays full-screen. You can pause the show, move forward or backward, and change a variety of playing options by clicking the Options button, where you can change the speed of the show, play or mute the music, and either shuffle or loop the pictures and videos. To stop the show and return to normal view, click Exit.

Also at the bottom of the Windows Photo Gallery screen, along with the Play, Forward, and Back buttons, are several other controls. The far-right magnifying glass icon lets you change the size of the displayed thumbnails; click it and move the slider to change the thumbnail size. There are also buttons for rotating and deleting any file you highlight.

The toolbar is a particularly important feature. Here is what each button does:


This drops down a File menu and lets you do the normal tasks you would expect, such as copying, deleting, and renaming files. But it lets you do a lot more as well, including adding folders to the gallery and importing pictures from a camera or scanner. If you choose Share with Devices from this menu, you can share all the media in Windows Photo Gallery with other users on your network via file sharing, and find media from other PCs on the network. Oddly enough, there's also an option for changing your screensaver settings, even though Windows Photo Gallery has nothing to do with your screensaver.

The Options choice lets you set global options for Windows Photo Gallery, including a variety of import settings for cameras, scanners, and CDs and DVDs, such as into which folder to import pictures and clips, and whether to prompt for tags when importing.


This brings you to a new screen (Figure 12-21) that has a variety of basic photo-editing tools.

Figure 12-21. Windows Photo Gallery's photo-editing tools

You can use the following tools:

Auto Adjust

Automatically adjusts both the contrast and the color.

Adjust Exposure

Displays sliders that let you control the brightness and contrast individually.

Adjust Color

Displays sliders that let you control the color "temperature," tint, and saturation individually. The "temperature" control makes the picture appear either warmer (more reds) by moving its slider to the right, or cooler (more blues) by moving its slider to the left. The tint selection controls what is called a color cast in the picturesthe predominant color that makes the other colors in the picture appear to be inaccurate. The saturation slider makes the colors appear more or less vivid.

Crop Pictures

Gives you a variety of tools for cropping the picture. It includes a number of predetermined crop sizes, or lets you choose your own custom crop size.

Fix Red Eye

Fixes the dreaded, ghostly looking red center in the middle of people's eyes when a flash photograph is taken.

You can undo your changes by clicking the undo button at the bottom of the screen, and you can redo them by clicking the redo button.


This displays a preview pane that gives you detailed information about the currently selected picture. If you want to add tags to the picture, in the preview pane click Add Tags, and type them in.


From here you can either print or order photo prints to be made of the picture. If you choose to order photo prints, a wizard appears that first lets you choose which online photo site to use for ordering and then walks you through the process of uploading the picture to the site and ordering the print.


This will attach the picture to an email, and it will shrink the size to make for a smaller attachment if you want. When you click the button, you'll first be presented with a screen (Figure 12-22) with suggested dimensions, and beneath that, the file size of the picture in kilobytes at those dimensions. Choose a different size from the drop-down list; when you do, the new file size in kilobytes will be displayed. After you choose the new size, a new email message will be created in your default email program, with the file attached to it.

Figure 12-22. Choosing new dimensions for a picture to send via email


From here, you can choose to burn your pictures to disc, in either a video DVD or a data disc.

Make a Movie

This opens Windows Movie Maker, with your selected pictures or video clips imported into it. For details about making a movie, see "Windows Movie Maker," earlier in this chapter.


This will open the selected picture or clip in any of the graphics- or video-editing programs on your PC.


  • When you double-click on a graphics file, depending on what other graphics software is installed on your hard disk, the graphic may open inside Windows Photo Gallery or in another graphics program. If you have no other graphics program installed, graphics files will open in Windows Photo Gallery. But when you install another graphics program, that other program may change defaults so that files open in it instead. To change defaults for which files Windows Photo Gallery opens, and which other graphics programs open, select Start Default Programs. For details about how to use the resulting screen, see "Default Programs Control Panel," in Chapter 10.

  • Some applications that are not graphics programs but that include a graphics component may also change defaults so that graphics files open in them rather than in Windows Photo Gallery. For example, if you install Microsoft Office, .tif files will open in the Microsoft Office Document Imaging applet.

  • If you've edited a file and decide that you want to undo all your changes, choose File Revert to Original.

See also

"Paint" and "Windows Movie Maker"

Part II: Nutshell Reference