I would like to be able to have "identical" Picasa installs on two (or more) PCs. Essentially my use case is this:

I want to bring my hard drive with a large number of photos away with me, plug it into my laptop which has Picasa installed, and make albums, star photos, etc.. Then I want to plug it into my desktop at home, and see those same albums & stars that I created on the laptop.

I guess this means either: a) having all metadata stored on the external drive, or b) coming up with a reasonable process to transfer metadata between machines whenever I do something on one of them

As far as I know, by default, metadata is split between the install directory (e.g. c:/program files/...) and the directory where the photos actually are. Any suggestions?


I do this with Picasa on my Windows XP ( Notebook and Desktop)

  1. Make sure Picasa is closed

  2. On Windows XP I went to the following directory:

    C:\Documents and Settings[user profile name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Google

  3. Copy the following directories to another location (eg external Hard drive):

  4. Copy over your photo folder (in my case it was in c:\my documents\my photos) to your external hard drive.

To restore on the second PC:

*Download and install the same version of Picasa you used on the first PC:

  1. On the second PC open the following directory:

    C:\Documents and Settings[user profile name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Google

  2. Copy over the (Picasa2 / Picasa2Albums folders) to this directory.

  3. Copy over your photo folder to the same location (e.g. c:\my documents\my photos)

  4. Start Picasa.

You should have a duplicate copy of your Picasa setup.

Remember to only use one version to update and add photos and then repeat the process above.

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  • 3
    I can't believe how a program of such character isn't portable "by nature". Were I to use it, what the OP is asking, would seem something I'd naturally do - most people too, for that matter. Good advice, btw +1 – Rook Oct 28 '11 at 1:45
  • It would be nice if this info could be configured to be stored inside the photo directory, so you can just backup the one folder and have all settings and photos together. :) – Russell May 12 '13 at 10:49

Ok after extensive online research I've come across a few options. But the answers suggested earlier of using a symbolic link are the simplest.

I also found the site picasastarter which helps do that for you. It however needs the location to the GOOGLE\ folder in the appdata\local, not just that picasa2 folders.

So the requirements for using the same picasa libraries over multiple pc's are:

  • Have the same picasa library files available to each pc, in the appdata location (depending on the OS)
    • I solved this by syncing the folder via freefilesync, and using symbolic links
  • Have the same photo path available on each pc
    • Same, as before using freefilesync. However they were different harddrives! To get the same path, I used the network share method (mounted local D: as Z: drive).
  • Do not use Picasa at the same time.
    • Manual process for now. Picasa touches all the library file each time it is run, so always choose one or the other to overwrite.

Other useful sites:

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Assuming that your hard drive is mounted with the same drive letter always, you can move Picasa2 and Picasa2Albums from directory C:\Documents and Settings\[user profile name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Google to external hard drive, and create links to them in that folder named correspondingly. This keeps you from copying caches folders back and forth.

Note that windows shortcut doesn't work in this case - you should create a symbolic link. This can be done with Far manager for example.

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