How to: Change ‘random’ setting for viewing photos in Vista

This How-to will step-by-step you through how to change the manual / scrolling / slide-show sequence when viewing photos in Windows Vista. (I use Ultimate).

The problem: (example)

“I have a folder of photos which I would like to view in the order in which they were taken. I have sorted them by (date … etc). But, when I open the first picture in Explorer and then click the ‘next’ arrow, the viewing sequence is always random. This is driving me nuts as I cannot find a way of changing the settings … !??” etc.

Evidently many people have this issue – the question comes up time and time again in user-forums, but very few people have shared the (actually) quite quick and easy solution. There is one, of course, but MS decided to squirrel it away somewhere where no unsuspecting post- XP / 200X user would ever just stumble across it … ever. So here is the answer (at least … caveat … it worked for me):

Unless you manually change the default, when you open a photo in Explorer on Vista, the picture is automatically viewed via the Windows Photo Gallery application. This has its own menu bar across the top which looks like this:

and would be the most logical place to look for a Settings option. Do not be fooled, it’s not you or your eyes, the option really isn’t in any of these drop-downs. Instead, they are embedded in the Gallery app. itself, which is accessible by clicking on this:

visible at the top left corner of your screen. There is, in fact, a mouse-over tip which says “Organize Pictures and Videos using Windows Photo Gallery”, but if you’re like me and always want to find something yesterday, the chances of you hanging over that button long enough for the tip to pop up are very slim, so don’t blame yourself if you didn’t work that the settings are in there!

Once in the Photo Gallery you will see the same menu bar again. The option is still not there. Nor is it included in the features’ menu on the left. It is, in fact, lurking randomly behind a completely insignificant and anonymous button, which, if you can’t boast the curiosity of a starved hyena, you would never click on ‘just because’ in a million years, found here (click on the image for an enlarged view):

(The mouse-over tip here btw, is “Choose a thumbnail view” (thanks MS :-/ ) but click it anyway. Et voilà, there are your sequencing settings – menu item names:

<< Group By >>

<< Sort By >>

(I can’t include a snip of them as MS does not allow the PrintScr function to capture drop-downs. At least I haven’t discovered a workaround yet which avoids procuring additional software (watch this space for a potential future How-to!) ).

But anyway. You can now sort or group your pictures for viewing as you like  .. at last!

This worked for me but I cannot guarantee its success for anyone else following this how-to. Risk to data by following this process is minimal but you still do so completely at your own discretion. As a general rule, you should always back up your data before following any instructions from an unknown and therefore potentially unsecure source. I therefore take no responsibility for damage or loss of data incurred as a result of following these instructions.

Good Luck!


This entry was posted in IT How-To, Vista, Work, Working From Home and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s