Windows 7 : Playing Photo Slide Shows from the Shell, Using Photo Gallery to Manage Digital Videos

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1. Playing Photo Slide Shows from the Shell

One last thing you can do from the shell is display very simple photo slide shows via the Slide Show toolbar button that you'll see in the Pictures Library and other photo-containing folders. These slide shows are pretty basic and cannot be configured in any meaningful way. There's no navigational UI, so to access the few configurable options—Play/Pause, Next, Back, Shuffle, Loop, and slide show speed (see Figure 1)—you have to right-click. You can also use the arrow keys as Back and Forward buttons, or tap Esc to exit at any time.

Figure 1. Windows 7 offers very basic picture slide show functionality right from Windows Explorer.


If your mouse has Back and Forward buttons, you can also use them to navigate through the slide show.

The Slide Show button appears in any folder that contains pictures. This includes the Pictures library, of course, as well as any subfolders that are displayed within this library.


If you just tap Slide Show without selecting any pictures, the slide show will include all of the pictures in the current windows as well as those in any subfolders. To restrict the slide show to a subset of pictures, simply multi-select individual pictures and/or folders and then tap the Slide Show button.

2. Using Photo Gallery to Manage Digital Videos

Although the name Windows Live Photo Gallery suggests that this application is suitable only for pictures, it can also be used to manage digital videos as well. This actually makes sense: today, most digital cameras and many cell phones include video recording capabilities as well, and short videos created on these devices are already far more common than video shot with traditional video cameras.

Videos can be viewed in Photo Gallery by selecting All photos and videos, My Videos, or Public Videos in the Navigation pane, or any other video-related node you may have configured. This is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Videos, too, can be organized in Photo Gallery.

By default, videos appear as thumbnails that provide a glimpse into the contained movie. If you double-click a video in Photo Gallery, the application switches into a special video preview mode so you can watch the movie, as shown in Figure 3. (Conversely, when you open a movie file from the Windows shell, it typically opens in Windows Media Player.) In this mode, the application's navigational control changes to add Play and Stop buttons, like a video player.

Figure 3. Videos that happen in Photo Gallery stay in Photo Gallery.

Even though the Photo Gallery toolbar doesn't change when you view videos or video previews, some options simply aren't available with videos. For example, the Fix menu returns a simple message, "Video files can't be fixed using Photo Gallery," if you try to access it.

Videos are fully compatible with the tag, rating, and caption metadata types that are utilized by pictures. This means that you can easily add this information to your videos, filter the view, and search for specific video content just as you do with pictures. Again, this makes sense given that most of the videos you have on your PC have likely come from a digital camera.

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