How to recover from Picasa hostile takeover
February 27, 2012 3:12 PM   Subscribe

If I could punch myself, I would. Clicked too fast and our beautifully organized Windows Live Photo Gallery has been emptied into Picasa. DO NOT WANT!!! Is there a site out there that will walk me through zeroing out and disabling Picasa and getting my old setup restored?

I have gone from neutral on Google (sometimes evil, but useful, meh) to hating it with the heat of a thousand hells. I fear that even if I can get the info back into Windows Live Photo Gallery, we will have lost all our careful tagging and rating that has taken months to do. All my searching on Picasa so far has been fast and clouded by pure unadulterated rage, but seems to indicate that Picasa is like kudzu and about as ineradicable, but I am motivated. But how and where to start?

All of the electronic picture frames that we had set up in our house, fed from Windows Live Gallery with only the photos we'd selected and rated, are now black and lifeless, and I want blood, I tell you.
posted by clever sheep to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
What did you actually, specifically do? Did you delete WLPG or any other files? How did it get 'emptied'?

(Also, deep breaths)
posted by Sparx at 3:45 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thank you for the breathing reminder. I fired up the scanner, which is dusty from disuse. After coaxing it to start the scan, a box popped up with the OK button on the computer. I'm fairly used to a clunky interface there from the scanner, so my fingers clicked it before my brain processed it.

Sudden horror. I barely had a glimpse of a disappearing screen saying picasa was now my default for photo management, and all our photos began importing, with no way to pause or stop. I've now been searching for an hour, and I'm getting lucid again. But there don't seem to be any silver bullets to find that would walk me through a reversal, or assure me that all our rating and tagging won't be lost.
posted by clever sheep at 3:55 PM on February 27, 2012

Picasa does not, by default, move anything. It searches your drive and creates a database of pics it finds, but that process is entirely non-destructive, so relax, it's going to be ok. I don't know anything about WLG, but I did this with iPhoto once and it was as simple as removing Picasa to get back to normal.
posted by The Bellman at 4:01 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you, thank you. I have my SO's assurance now too, that all our stuff is backed up online, so our posteriors are covered no matter what boneheaded moves I pull. I appreciate your kindness in herding me away from the cliff edge!
posted by clever sheep at 4:08 PM on February 27, 2012

If what you want to do is destroy a photo colelction, Picasa is probably the single most difficult tool to use for the job. It goes to great lengths to leave things as it found them. It's far easier to damage your collection using ordinary file manipulations in Windows Explorer than it is to do so using Picasa. It's entirely unlike iTunes in that regard, which is the main reason why it's the only media organizer I've ever used that I don't hate with the heat of a thousand suns.

That said: I fully understand how maddening it can be when some piece of software unexpectdly appears to take it upon itself to tell you how you should be using your own computer.

So if you want to undo everything Picasa has done to your disk, all you need to do is (a) uninstall Picasa and (b) remove all the hidden picasa.ini files it leaves behind in folders it's found photos in. Step (b) will do no harm at all to leave out; nothing but Picasa will ever take any notice of those files. But if you want to do it anyway, open a cmd window and enter the following two commands:

attrib -h C:\picasa.ini /s
del /s C:\picasa.ini

But really all you should actually need to do is simply avoid launching Picasa. It will have done nothing at all to your photos that's visible to WLPG. Just launch WLPG again, and everything will be as you left it. With one possible exception:

If you just clicked Next or Yes without reading what you were agreeing to the first time you launched it, Picasa will probably have made its associated Photo Viewer application the default handler for .jpg, .jpeg and assorted other picture file formats. That's usually easily changed as well, if you don't like the way PPV works (personally I think it's quite OK). Just open whatever app you would rather be using to view photos, and poke about in its options menu until you find the part that lets you choose what formats to associate that app with, and then do that.

If you can't find such an associations option within your preferred viewer, you will need to associated picture formats with it by hand. Right-click on any photo, choose "Open With..", then select "Choose Program" near the bottom of the menu of programs that Windows offers you. That will bring up a more comprehensive list of things you could possibly use, and you should be able to find your preferred photo viewer among those. Click on that, then check the box that says "Always use this application to open files of this type", then click OK.

It's entirely possible that you would need to do this re-association step even after uninstalling Picasa. Which is not Picasa's fault, by the way - it's just how Windows works.
posted by flabdablet at 7:22 PM on February 27, 2012

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