Windows 8.1’s Metro Photos app is meant to be a pleasing, full-screen way to look at your picture collection, coupled with some easy-to-use photo editing capabilities.

The new Metro Photos app is reasonably capable, but it suffers from the same clunky navigation problems that plague all of the Metro side of Windows 8.1: Try to copy a handful of photos from one folder to another, for example, and your finger could fall off.

To take a walk around the Photos app:


From the Start screen, tap or click the Metro Photos tile.

The main screen of the Photos app appears, showing you the Pictures Library.

Microsoft is actively burying and killing Libraries in Windows 8.1. If you haven’t yet taken control of your Pictures Library, the only folder in the Library is your personal Pictures folder. What you see on the main Metro Pictures screen is a list of all the folders inside your personal Pictures folder, with a representative picture from each folder emblazoned on the front.

If you’re connected to SkyDrive, tap or click the down arrow to the right of the Pictures Library tile and choose SkyDrive.

Metro Photos likely shows you a very uninspiring tile that says, simply, Pictures.


If you have any files inside the Pictures Library on SkyDrive, tap or click the Pictures folder.

The contents of that folder and any other folders inside it appear inside the SkyDrive list.

The little clocks you see in the lower-right corner of the pictures indicate that the file isn’t on your computer — at least, not yet. SkyDrive has pulled down a thumbnail, not the whole file.

If you have any, double-click to open sub-folders to reveal more folders within — ad infinitum.


To perform your own search, swipe from the right or hover your mouse in the upper-right corner and choose the Search charm.

Type your search term in the box and tap or click the magnifying glass. Your results should look similar to what's shown here.

If you just want to see the photos you have that match the search criteria, in the results page, click or tap the link below your photos that says See All XXX Photos and Videos.

To get back to the main Photos screen in the upper-left corner, tap or click the back arrow repeatedly.

The Photos app can display an enormous variety of picture and video formats, including AVI, BMP, GIF, JPG, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, PCX, PNG, many kinds of RAW (high-quality photos), TIF, WMF, and WMV files. That covers most picture and movie formats you’re likely to encounter.