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Windows 8 App Update: Photos

Microsoft recently confirmed that it would be updating many of the built-in apps in Windows 8 between the release to manufacturing (RTM) of the OS and its general availability on October 26. Here’s a peek at the changes the firm just made to its Metro-style Photos app, two of which address major limitations in the original version of the app.

I wrote about this app updating confirmation in Windows 8: Updates Coming to Built-In Apps after having been speaking about (on podcasts) and writing (here and in Windows 8 Secrets) for months about Microsoft’s plans to do just this.

Here’s what’s new in the Photos app.

Crop and rotate photos

The RTM version of the Photos app (build 4204) offered no editing functionality at all, causing users to seek out more full-featured desktop applications. But in the latest version of the app (build 4388), the first basic editing tools, crop and rotate, appear. To see these tools, display any photo and then enable the app bar (WINKEY + Z). New buttons for Rotate and Crop appear.


Both editing features are actually pretty nicely implemented. Crop provides a multitude of options:


And rotate works exactly as expected, rotating the image 90 degrees each time the button is pressed.

View photos and videos on network locations in your Pictures Library

Answering one of the biggest complaints about this app, Microsoft has fixed Photos so that you can now view photos that are stored in network locations (such as Windows Home Server, HomeGroup locations, or any network share) and added to your Pictures library. In the original version of the app, those photos would not appear. But now they do, as expected.

Photo-to-photo navigation

In the original Photos app, if you navigated to a photo in your Picture library from the desktop environment and then opened it with Photos, you could not navigate from photo to photo (viewing, in turn, other photos in the same folder). In this update, photo-to-photo navigation now works normally, and as expected, even when you open the photo from the desktop environment.

Note: For this to work, the photo must be stored in a folder that is part of the Pictures library. If you open a photo from a folder that is not part of the Pictures library, you still cannot navigate from photo to photo.

Is there more?

Have I missed anything? If you see any new features in the Metro-style Photos app, please let me know and I’ll update this article.

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