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So I have tons of photos taken all the time. I have a lot from years past that I never went through (meaning deleting duplicates, etc). I've got a new pc with windows 7, and I'm wondering what a good process is to organize those photos. They're in folders that have really no meaning (it used to be people would put them in a folder wherever, even the desktop or somewhere else, not just the My Pictures folder).

I'm going to keep all pictures in the "My Pictures" folder from now on.

I've used Picasa from g=Google, and it works great. Is this the recommended free software for this?

What process do I use to move the old pictures over in to new "organized" folders?

Lately in Picasa when I import off my camera card, I would just select something that names the folder after the date it was taken. Is this advised?

Just give me ideas on how to stay organized with photos. Should I tag them also? Should I rename the file names? Keep in mind I have over 16,000 photos I'll have to go through, so it can't be anything to thorough.

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Since you're on Windows 7 I would recommend Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 because it's better integrated to OS and makes use of other Windows applications such as Paint, MovieMaker, Windows Live Mail etc.

It's free and has all the basic and some advanced tagging, searching features that may come handy while organizing your pictures. It includes some basic picture editing tools that can help you if you need to fine tune some of your photos.

It also has face recognition which you can use to find, tag or delete some pictures that includes someone special but I can't speak for it's success because that depends on the quality of pictures.

As for "how to organize them" depends on how you want to find/search them. You can put them in separate folders according to the event, date, place, people etc and create some sub-folders if you need to further categorize them.

If you don't like browsing through folders or you're having difficulty to decide exactly which folder you should put a picture then you should go for multiple tagging.

Either way, a strong recommendation would be including "date taken" information while importing your pictures from the device. Just putting them in date taken folder can be good and advised if you're organizing them according to date otherwise it's no use. A "between-these-dates" filter will help you quickly find while searching some randomly named, uncategorized photos.

Renaming each and every photo requires some serious time and patience so you might at least batch rename them. Takes no time and can be helpful for searching later.

Below is a screenshot: alt text

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Although Live Photo Gallery is nice, I like Picasa a lot better. –  BloodPhilia Jan 2 '11 at 20:28
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