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Picasa Photo Sync on Multiple Computers

Update: this is an old post, describing an obsolete solution. Please read How to Use Picasa on Multiple Computers – The Updated Definitive Guide instead.

A while ago I wrote about Google’s otherwise excellent Picasa photo management program,  complaining that all your editing, labeling, captioning information gets lost when you move / copy your photos to another computer.

That’s because Picasa does not store such information in the photo files itself, rather uses a set of system files.  This is actually a good concept, you can experiment and safely revert back to the original –  as long as you view / process pics only within Picasa.   However, with thousands of photos, who would not want a backup?   That’s when the nightmare starts .. which files / directories should be copied?  Yes, I know … I should be on Flickr.. call me old-fashioned, I prefer to have a local copy of my images.

Well, unbelievably, Microsoft comes to help with this Google application:-)  Since they recently acquired Foldershare, it is now a freely dowloadable application.   Install it, then set up the following directories to be auto-synchronized between your computers:

  • My Pictures (or wherever the Picasa photos are) with all subdirectories.
  • C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2
  • C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2Abums

This will synchronize not only your photos, but all the edit / label ..etc information between any number of computers, over a local network or the Internet.  Btw, the program can be used to sync. any filetypes, not just your photos.

Comments

  1. Never seen the blog before, but this is fantastic information – thanks for the tip!

  2. Awesome… that’s exactly the tip I was looking for! Thanks a bunch.

  3. Google Killing the Picasa Brand?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, what are the prerequisites for this to really work. Do the two computers need to be set up in the exact same way? Do the path “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2″ need to exactly the same. Does it for example work if usernames are different on the two computers??

  5. Anonymous says:

    Edward, I don’t know, I made them the same – you’ll have to experiment a bit :-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I know this was posted forever ago… but what a help! My computers are busy trading 7Gigs of photos as I type. I did have trouble with the Application Data syncing – I think Picasa might now keep that edit data in a folder called Originals in the same folder now, but I’m not sure. I see it in one place, but then not another. Thanks so much for the post!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yes, a lot changed in Picasa. I think in the current release “originals” are used when you decide to save all your photo edits into the photo file itself. (previously these were stored in db’s only). Now, when you “save” those changes, Picasa copies the untouched version into the “originals” folder.

  8. Can anyone confirm if this hack with Foldershare still works? My father has scanned over 10,000 of his old photos and has added captions in Picassa, and we really need it to be synced on different computers.

  9. I needed to flip and edit a large # of very old 35mm slide pics. (Korean Army duty). I have trouble always getting a good SAVE on my edits; also I highlighted the whole set (143 pics) to send to some Korean Vets & found them to be sent flipped back to their original status. I’m certain it must be my misunderstanding of Picasa features. Pls advise.
    Thanks
    lee

  10. You must first save your changes in Picasa. Only then the changes will affect images. Then you can send changed images to your friends. Without saving Picasa stores information about processing into special ini file and processes photos while displaying them, so you’ll see your changes only in Picasa as long as you don’t save them.

  11. I had a different user accounts (different usernames) on 2 different XP machines. I had Picasa on the first machine so here is what I did on the second machine to get the user name the same without losing all my settings:

    1) Create a new user on the second machine with the same name as the first machine

    2) Create a temporary user on the second machine

    3) Log in to both new user accounts to initialize them, the same named account first then the temporary account

    4) From the temporary account, right click “My computer > Properties > Advanced tab > User Profile settings

    5) Select the original account and click “Copy To”

    6) Browsed to “C:Douments and settings\NewName” and clicked ok

    7) Log in as the newly named account and deleted the original account and the temporary account

    I hope that helps!

  12. Can’t believe I’d never heard of this. Amazing, thank you.

  13. Andrew, this is a 4-year old post (almost). I have no idea if the method described here still works.

  14. KentuckyJoe says:

    Has anyone tried using the methods described to use picasa 3.5?

  15. This is an old post, describing an obsolete solution. Please read How to Use Picasa on Multiple Computers – The Updated Definitive Guide instead.

Trackbacks

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  2. [...] Definitive Guide Part 1: the ProblemBy Zoli Erdos on January 25, 2010 My 4-year old how-to guide, Picasa Photo Sync on Multiple Computers has attracted tens of thousands of viewers, and is still quite popular.  In fact too popular, [...]

  3. [...] 4-year old how-to guide, Picasa Photo Sync on Multiple Computers has attracted tens of thousands of viewers, and is still quite popular.  In fact too popular, [...]

  4. [...] Guide Part 1: the ProblemBy Zoli Erdos on January 25, 2010 Tweet My 4-year old how-to guide, Picasa Photo Sync on Multiple Computers has attracted tens of thousands of viewers, and is still quite popular.  In fact too popular, [...]

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