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One more Vexing Vista Problem “solved”

Vista has a fancy utility program to help manage photographs and videos called “Windows Photo Gallery”.  It has a bunch of nice features like the ability to tag images, and to automatically categorize them by date.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked properly since I migrated to Windows.  Every time I tried to use it, it came up with nothing except for the pictures in the “Public” (\Users\Public\Public Pictures) folder.  When I tried to add my own pictures folder (\Users\Kelly\Pictures), it failed with an error saying (paraphrasing): “Cannot add this directory: it or its parent are hidden or system folders- please use the Pictures folder”.

I eventually came to the conclusion that this was a permissions problem (d’uh).  And I then came to the even more profound conclusion that this was a result of me using the “Windows Easy Transfer” utility, which transfers files from your previous Windows machine to your new system.  What I surmise happened is this: when I use Windows Easy Transfer, it transfer my user files (E.G.: my pictures) and attempts to retain the old Windows XP permissions.  In XP, a user’s home directory has different (odd) permissions compared to Vista. 

Sure enough, when I looked at \Users\Kelly (right click=> properties), it was marked as “hidden” and with some of its contents “read only”.  Irritatingly, the “hidden” permission was greyed out- meaning I couldn’t change it.  Sigh.  After some pondering, I deselected “read only”, and said “this folder only” (I.E.: not recursive).  I was then able deselect hidden. 

After this, I was then able to re-launch Windows Photo Gallery, and chose File-> Add Folder to Gallery successfully.  Moral of this story: Windows Easy Transfer transfers easily, but appears to do (or arguably not do) some rather unfortunate things with file permissions that will come back later to bite you.

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