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Picasa 3: Missing Albums and Photos

I use Picasa as my photo management software. It’s a great application (Note to self: I should write a review).

It’s been working flawlessly for years, but it lost all my albums and photos today. I opened it and to my surprise, it only showed one folder. I checked Tools –> Folder Manager and the right folders where selected.

It seems that Picasa’s internal database sometimes gets corrupted. The solution Google offers in their FAQ is to rebuild the database. These are the steps to do it on Windows:

  1. First, uninstall Picasa.
    1. Click on the Start menu on your computer taskbar.
    2. Select All Programs.
    3. Select Picasa 3.
    4. Select Uninstall.
    5. In the confirmation window that opens, click the Uninstall button.
    6. Click the Yes button to remove your database.
  2. Once you’ve successfully uninstalled, you can download and reinstall Picasa by visiting http://www.picasa.google.com.

However I use another solution. I located the Picasa settings files stored in two folders:

C:\Users\Jose\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2
C:\Users\Jose\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2Albums

So I went to my Windows Home Server and opened the last backup. It mounted my backed up C:\ drive as a new drive and I simply copied those folders to my machine. Opened Picasa again and all my albums were there again. Cool!

So, if you happen to have a backup of your Windows user profile folder, you can easily solve this problem by  restoring the appropriate folders instead of uninstalling, installing and reconfiguring Picasa.