My daughter recently sent me picture from college and I viewed them using
Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. There were many other extraneous pictures,
fonts and geometrical shapes. Is this normal? If so, why? How do i view only
what I want?
This isn’t really about Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, as it applies to any
program you might use to view your images. It’s really just about managing
where pictures are placed on your computer’s hard disk. The “problem”, if you
want to call it that, is that there’s often a lot of other stuff in the common,
default location for pictures.
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When you view a picture that’s been emailed to you as an attachment, your
email program needs to extract it from the email message and place it on your
hard disk separately so that it can be viewed. The issue, of course, is just
where on your hard disk your email program places it.
Many email programs will extract attachments and place them into your “My
Documents” folder. Some will extract them to the Windows “temporary” folder.
Others may place them into your “Temporary Internet Files” – particularly if
your email is web-based instead of a PC-based email program.
Unfortunately all of those locations may also be used by other programs.
“My Documents” is a popular location that many, many programs use as their
default storage location for images, word processing documents, and much more.
The Windows “Temporary” folder is full of many files that are considered to be
temporary in nature. And “Temporary Internet Files” is your browser’s cache of
images and pages that you’ve visited recently; it’ll have lots of
images in it.
of your own to save images in.”
When you fire up an image browser, like Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, or
any of the popular alternatives like Picasa, ACDSee, irfanview and others, they
don’t know which pictures you’re interested in, they just show all the pictures
in a folder. If you receive an email with one photo and your email program
saves it to one of these locations, your image viewer then shows you not only
the one photo you care about, but possibly all the images in that same
So what to do?
I recommend that you get organized, and create folders of your own to save
Start by creating a folder where you want your photos to be placed. For
example, create a folder within “My Documents” called “Emailed Photos”. That’s
where we’ll place all the photos you want to save.
If you use an email program such as Thunderbird, Outlook, Outlook Express,
and the like, there may be an option you can configure that tells the program
where attachments should be placed when they’re opened. Set it to be that new
folder you just created, and now whenever you open an attachment it’ll be
placed there automatically. When an image viewer fires up to show you your
photo you should see only those pictures that you received in email.
Unfortunately not all email programs work that way, particularly web-based
email services. Instead of clicking or double clicking on an attachment a more
reliable alternative is to right-click and select “Save As…” or “Save Target
As…”. This will allow you to explicitly specify where on your disk you want
the photo or other attachment to be placed. Naturally you could then specify
your “Emailed Photos” folder or any other folder you like. Once you’ve placed
your photos in an appropriate folder, you can then fire up your favorite image-viewing application and tell it to go browse that folder.
My strong recommendation is that when saving photos you always take this
approach. Don’t allow them to get placed in default locations to get mixed in
with other stuff that doesn’t relate, but rather create a folder or folders to
actually organize your photos and explicitly save them there when you get
them. Besides seeing only the photos you expect, it’ll make browsing them later
much easier; you won’t even have to open your email to do it.
And then be sure you’ve backed those folders up. There’s nothing worse than
losing all your photos because your hard disk crashed. By having your photos in
one folder or set of folders, even backing up is somewhat easier, since you can
simply copy or burn those folders to CDs or elsewhere.