Apr 062010

I’ve heard many people say they don’t know where Picasa puts their pictures.  I’m here to tell you that Picasa only puts pictures where *you* tell it to.  If you don’t tell it what folder to import your pictures to, they don’t get imported.

Here is Picasa’s Import screen.


It gives you two places to specify where you want the pictures to be.

  1. Import to:
  2. Folder title:

Notice that, until you specify something in these boxes, you cannot import your pictures.  the ‘Import all’ and ‘Import Selected’ buttons are grayed out.  You can’t click on them.  As soon as you put something appropriate in the first 2 boxes, then the Import buttons become available.

File Drawer and File Folder

If your computer is your filing cabinet, then box #1 is the drawer, and box #2 is the folder where you want the picture stored (or #1 is folder and #2 is sub-folder).  Notice that box #1 reads ‘Pictures’.  That means, unless you change it, your pictures will be imported to the ‘Pictures’ aka ‘My Pictures’ area of your computer.  Then, you can create a folder within ‘My Pictures’ by typing something into box #2.

This means to import pictures into a *new* folder called South Carolina within My Pictures area.

Import to an Existing Folder

After you have created a folder, it will appear in the drop-down for the first box.  So the next day, when you’ve taken more pictures in South Carolina, you can just click on the ‘Import to:’ drop-down arrow and choose South Carolina from the list.



Now, you can leave the Folder title box blank and click ‘Import all’ or ‘Import Selected.’  Your pictures will be stored in PicturesSouth Carolina.

If the folder you want isn’t on the drop-down list, you can click ‘Choose.’  This will open up a dialog box where you can navigate to any folder on your computer.

Picasa is just your Tool

You can tighten a screw with your thumbnail, or you can use a coin, or you can use a swiss army knife, or you can use a Craftsman screwdriver or a Stanley screwdriver.  They are just different tools for accomplishing the same task.  Once you learn to use a screwdriver – you will probably prefer it.  But the screw doesn’t care – it gets tightened regardless what tool you use.

Picasa is just a tool – it doesn’t actually store your photos – it just helps you put them where you want.  You don’t need to use Picasa to get pictures from your camera to your computer.  You can use the software that came with your camera, you can use the software that came with your computer.  Picasa doesn’t care how the pictures get onto your computer.  As long as the pictures are in a folder that Picasa is watching (see Folder Manager) then Picasa will display them for you.

You can even completely remove Picasa from your computer if you should decide you don’t like it.  Your pictures will remain in whatever folder you put them.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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  31 Responses to “Where did my Pictures Go?”

  1. recently I had a factory reset on my HTC One phone and I lost my photos stored in Picasa how do I retrieve them, where can I retrieve them.

  2. Lately, when I down load pictures from my inbox to Picasa, they download just fine, and I am able to lable and send new pictures to a new folder. Then when I get out of Picasa and go back to them later, they are not there? Can I have too many pics in Picasa and therefore overload? What am I doing that after successfully downloading and placing in a new folder, the pics disappear when I get out of Picasa and try to go back and find?

  3. Lost so many photos that can not be replaced. Thought I found them on Google but not all and I am sorry to say that I can not do anything about it. Heart broken. Picasa where are you?
    Sylvia Howard

  4. Lost so many photos that can not be replaced. Thought I found them on Google but not all and I am sorry to say that I can not do anything about it. Heart broken. Picasa where are you?
    Sylvia Howard

  5. I have told my computer to put photo’s in Picasa when it ask that ….for at least 4 years or more I have benn doing the same thing. I give the folder a name & date mostly but I do the same process all the time. It looks to me you have changed Picasa. I loved the program…. so simple to use, now it loses my photo’s. When I click in to the progam a this bar from the left comes and rattles them out and I can see them, but can’t catch so to speak. Picasas has gone nuts. I have had this program a long time but it defintely is going to have to be deleted from my computer unless you can tell me what is going on. I have tried to re do your program process but it has defintely change its program as I knew it. I thoughjt it was pretty simple but it isn’t anymore. This time I didn’t clean off my card because I have lost many photo’s here lately and the old ones that had established folders went hiding somewhere.

  6. After my PC died I downloaded Picasa 3 to the new computer. My albums were intact but I lost thousands of thumbnail photos that were never synced to Web albums. How can I get them back?

  7. After downloading picasa, I hit the button to upload (or import – I don’t remember the exact wording) and it started doing that with my pictures (I could see an image of the work in progress in a small box on the right side of my screen). It didn’t present me with any boxes, etc. asking where I wanted it to put the photos, so I assumed they would be available on my picasa account. Nothing is there, and I see no help info on picasa’s web site. Quite the mystery.

    • That image of the ‘work in process’ is just Picasa telling you that it is finding pictures on your computer. It is not copying them or moving then anywhere, just finding them and displaying them to you.
      If you open Picasa on your computer you will see all the pictures it found.
      In order to put them onto Picasa Web Album – you have to ‘Share’ them. Nothing gets uploaded to the web until you make it happen.

  8. I just want to transfer some pics from My Pictures to Picasa, it is just so difficult to find a straight forward way that works. I would appreciate your help.

    • There is no such thing as transfering pictures from My Pictures to Picas. They stay in My Pictures, you use Picasa’s Folder Manager to tell it to see them there. Hopefully this free video will help you: http://geeksontour.tv/2010/01/folder-manager/

      • I accept what you say that the files aren’t actually transferred but just viewed in Picasa, I have been through the process and yet I still have images in My Pictures that I cannot see in Picasa.

  9. I also asked myself – where did my images go? Never mind the author – your images are on your google+ account, under “photos”, if you have shared them.

  10. I had a crash and have lost my Picaso account , how can i get it back , I have so many pics that will be lost.

    • I hope you’ve been making regular backups! See this article: https://picasageeks.com/2010/03/have-you-backed-up-your-pictures-lately/ You use the words ‘Picasa Account’ which makes me think you’re not talking about Picasa on your computer but Picasa Web Albums on the Web. For that, all you need is your Google Account. But, the only pictures that will be on your Picasa Web Albums (or Google+ photos) are the ones that you specifically uploaded.

      • I love Picasa, but when my computer crashed and I downloaded Picasa to the new PC
        I was able to get my albums but not the downloaded pics that werent put into albums.
        I have thousands of photos I cant locate.
        I hoep someone can help me find them there are years of memories floating around

  11. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done a formidable
    job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  12. ive just turned on my picasa and most of my albums are gone i had hundreds of albums now there are only ten.this happened before but i just had to click an arrow or folder in the left corner but it wont work this time.ive still got my web albums,but what has happened to my other albums in my picasa,any ideas.thank you.john


  14. I change computers, and The former owner.s photo’s are on screen I tried to down load 3.9 and it also did the same thing, what can I do to transfer my photo’s. once before this on another pc, every thing came through just fine I need these help me amh

    • It would be best to clean up the computer’s files before even using Picasa. Picasa does not store the pictures, it just works with the pictures that are on the computer.

  15. This same thing just happened to me. My computer crashed a few days ago. I’m trying desperately to find a way to recover my photos on Picasa. I’m hoping that somehow I will be able to recover them from the old harddrive. Keeping fingers crossed.

  16. my computer recently crashed with years of my pictures lost because driver went bad..is there some possibly way the maybe my pics are somewhere out there linked to my email address..or any other way to possibly retreive them..any suggestions would be awesome..thanks..Dawn

    • If you’re saying that you didn’t have any backups ??? then there’s not much that can be done. If you uploaded any pictures to Picasa Web Albums, they’ll be there – but none of this happens automatically. You had to do the upload.
      This is exactly why we stress Backup Backup Backup!! Here’s just one article: https://picasageeks.com/2009/09/backup-backup-backup/

  17. Where did all my pictures go? I had 034 albums and now they are gonee. how do i recover them!

  18. “As long as the pictures are in a folder that Picasa is watching (see Folder Manager) then Picasa will display them for you”

    So, where did it put the pics? I looked all over and I have no idea. I looked in Folder management and it is too confusing to even begin here – help!

    • To find out exactly where any picture is stored – right click on it and choose ‘Locate on Disk.’

  19. How do I dublicate the picture arrangement I did with Picasa on one computer to another computer? I have the pictures on the second computer but they are not edited like I have them on the first computer.



    • The best way to get your pictures from one computer to another is to use Tools / Backup on the first computer and backup ALL you pictures to DVD. Then insert the DVD(s) into the new computer and choose the option to restore to same locations as the source. This will maintain all your pictures, in their original folder structure, as well as all edits, albums etc.

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