How to Delete Photos from Picasa While Retaining Them on Your Computer

This article will detail how to remove photos from Picasa while retaining them on your computer. The first time you run Picasa, it scans your drives for photos. Though this seems benign, Picasa may collect photos from application files which have no place in an organized photo library.

Unlike iPhoto and other known content management programs, Picasa does not copy these photos to your disk. (Yes, photos that you import later from your digital devices will be stored in C:\Documents and Settings\USER\My Documents\My Pictures\Picasa, but we are considering the photos on disk that show up in your Picasa library.) Instead, Picasa acts like Windows Explorer in that it accesses these photos on your hard drive. Though a "Delete from Disk" option is offered in the contextual menu of a photo in Picasa, there are no other in-application deletion options, such as options that will preserve the photo on the disk.

However, there is a way to delete a file from Picasa: to remove the folder which contains that photo. This can be done from the contextual menu of a file in Picasa or from the Tools menu in Picasa.

Step 1 - Removing a Folder Using its Contextual Menu

Scroll to the intended folder in Picasa. Right-click on the folder name or image, and choose the option "Remove from Picasa..." and choose "Yes." Do not choose "Delete Folder..." as that will remove the folder from the disk as well.

Step 2 - Removing a File in the Tools Menu

Navigate to Tools > Folder Manager from the toolbar. Here, you will see a folder browser where you can modify the settings for each folder on your machine. Locate the intended folder, select it, and select "Remove from Picasa" at the right side of the menu. Click "OK."

This method will be easier when you are removing multiple folders, as the in-library display for a folder does not allow you to make multiple selections of folders.

Step 3 - A Bit More About Picasa's Content Management System

Picasa does store a rather significant stash of data in a rather out-of-the-way place on your computer, which cannot be accessed from opening files in Explorer, as that folder is a hidden folder buried in several other hidden folders. If you want to access that folder, type this string into a Windows Explorer address bar...


...where "USER" is your username. Thought it says "Picasa2," this folder appears on systems with non-update versions of Picasa 3 as well. Though deleting folders or files by editing the logs in this folder would be very time-consuming, it is a good location to remember if you ever need access to Picasa's inner workings.

The "db3" folder in this directory is of particular interest, as it contains a (rather abstruse) collection of text files which represent the Picasa library. Taking a Hex Editor to these files might be the surest way of deleting individual files from Picasa, but your author is happy to stick to the Tools menu.

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