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How to Revert to the Original Version of a Digital Photo in Windows Vista

Have you ever edited a digital photo and decided you didn't like your changes? This happens all the time, especially when simply moving to the next picture saves changes to photos in Windows Photo Gallery. The good news is that you can easily revert back to the original version of a digital photo that was modified in the Windows Vista Photo Gallery.

Although Photo Gallery saves a copy of originals, it might have a different opinion about what an original photo actually is. It's a good idea to make your own backup before making any changes to a picture. It also helps to have an original for comparison.

Photo Gallery automatic saves a backup of every file it modifies. There are two ways to access this backup. You can use a handy link in the Photo Gallery or copy the file from a hidden folder that contains your original photos.

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If you use the Revert tool, Photo Gallery will bring back the original file — deleting any changes you made to the image. But sometimes that can cause more problems. What happens if I revert a picture and then decide that I don’t like the reversion? Can I undo the change?

A safer way to retrieve your original photos is to pull a copy out of Microsoft's hidden backup folder. Then you can compare both the copy and the original before making a decision about which to keep.

Whenever you change a picture using Photo Gallery’s tools, Photo Gallery looks to see if it has stored an “original” of the picture in a hidden folder called c:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Photo Gallery\Original Images. Each file has a long ID string in front of the filename.

To see this folder, you need to have the Folder Options set to allow you to see hidden files and folders.

For example, if a user named Woody modified a digital photo called 002.JPG, a copy will be stored at c:\Users\Woody\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Photo Gallery\Original Images with the filename like {ACE49601-7F66-4FE9-875A-A399029B568C}-002.JPG.

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To retrieve an original of his 002.jpg file to compare with the changes he made to it, he can open the c:\Users\Woody\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Photo Gallery\Original Images folder. Find the file ending in 002.jpg, and make a copy. Then he just needs to open the location of his changed image and place the copy there. (The funny new long name will prevent it from wiping out the newer version.) When he decides which version to keep, he can just delete the extra.

If you don't see your modified file in the hidden folder, your Photo Gallery options could be set to periodically send originals to the Recycle Bin.To prevent this from happening in the future, modify the Photo Gallery settings. Choose File→Options. Then, in the General tab, change the Move Originals to Recycle Bin After setting to Never.

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