How to Find Lost Photos in Windows 8 - dummies

How to Find Lost Photos in Windows 8

By Andy Rathbone

Windows 8 thoroughly indexes your e-mail, down to the last word, but it doesn’t index photos; it can’t tell the difference between photos of your cat and photos of your office party. When it comes to finding lost photos in Windows 8, the identity ID work lies in your hands, and these four tips make the chore as easy as possible:

  • Tag your photos. When you connect your camera to your PC, Windows 8 graciously offers to copy your photos to your PC. Before copying, Windows 8 asks you to tag those pictures. That’s your big chance to type a few words describing your photo session. Windows 8 indexes those words as a single tag, making the photos easier to retrieve later.


  • Store shooting sessions in separate folders. The Windows 8 photo importing program automatically creates a new folder to store each session, named after the current date and the tag you choose. But if you’re using some other program to dump photos, be sure to create a new folder for each session.

    Then name the folder with a short description of your session: Dog Walk, Kite Surfing, or Truffle Hunt. (Windows indexes the folders’ names.)

  • Sort by date. Have you stumbled onto a massive folder that’s a huge mishmash of digital photos? Try this quick sorting trick: Click the View tab (shown in the margin) and choose Large Icons; the photos morph into identifiable thumbnails. Then, from the View tab menu, choose Sort By and select Date Taken. That sorts the photos by the date you snapped them, turning chaos into organization.

  • Rename your photos. Instead of leaving your Tunisian vacation photos with their boring camera-given names like DSC_2421, DSC_2422, and so on, give them meaningful names:


    Select all the files in your Tunisia folder by clicking the Home tab on the Ribbon and clicking the Select All button. Then right-click the first picture, choose Rename, and type Tunisia. Windows names them as Tunisia, Tunisia (2), Tunisia (3), and so on. (If you messed up, press Ctrl+Z to undo the renaming.)

Following those four simple rules helps keep your photo collection from becoming a jumble of files.

Be sure to back up your digital photos to a portable hard drive, CDs, DVDs, or another backup method. If they’re not backed up, you’ll lose your family history when your PC’s hard drive eventually crashes.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.