27 thoughts on “Converting and Exporting Windows Photo Gallery People Tags

  1. Thanks very much for your post on migrating people tags from WLPG to LR. It works great!

    There are 2 other issues I am grappling with: :
    1. many of my old photos have no GPS data, but were “geotagged” in WLPG. The corresponding data appears correctly in LR in the Metadata “IPTC extension”. But. Is there a way using exiftool to make it also appear in the IPTC itself (Country – State/Province – City) to allow location search ?
    2. WLPG captions transfers twice: to LR: in “Title” and in “Caption” (not always though). Is there a way to avoid that ?

    Many WLPG users would be grateful if you have any help to give us on that.


    1. Glad to help. For the other issues:

      I wrote a post on the metadata fields WPG uses.

      1. You would need to copy the IPTC extension tags to the IPTC Core tags. Something like:

      exiftool *.jpg -"Location<LocationCreatedSubLocation" -"City<LocationCreatedCity" -"Province-State<LocationCreatedProvinceState" -"Country<LocationCreatedCountryName"

      I would be careful when executing this command, given that it will overwrite any values in the IPTC Core Location fields. Make sure you execute this only on the files you wish to perform the copy operation. I ran into a similar issue and decided to export all the metadata into an Excel file in order to pick which files I wanted to reconcile the metadata fields.

      2. Not that I am aware of. By design, WPG's "Caption" upon edit will overwrite various other fields such as Title, Description.

  2. I’m trying to migrate people tags from Windows Live Photo Gallery to Lightroom and/or Photoshop Elements. In what folder do I place the convert_regions.config file? Thanks

  3. Thank you!!! There was some other info that I found in adobe forums that had different fields for the second step and it wasn’t working.
    exiftool “-xmp:subject+<regionname" FolderName -overwrite_origional_in_place -m -r

    But even your second step seemed not to work as I was trying Essentials 2018 but that didn't seem to reflect any of the tags in the file other than the geo. Downloading Lightroom Classic however showed all the tags and the face boxes and names! Whoohooo!! Only problem now is that I can't justify Lightroom's subscription for my non-professional use and Essentials is apparently gimped. Reaallly miss WLPG and (secondarily) Picassa. Can't find anything else nearly as usable for organizing, tagging and light editing.

    1. Glad I was able to help!

      You mentioned “Essentials 2018”, but did you mean “Adobe Elements Organizer 2018”? If so, maybe something was changed in that version in the way the application reads MWG Region tags.

      The new Windows Photos app just recently added Face Recognition, but this information is unfortunately, not written back to the file like WPG. I still use WPG, but as of Jan 2017, it is no longer supported.

      Here are some other applications for managing photos:
      – IDImager Photo Supreme (Reads WPG People Tags).
      – Digikam (Free, also reads WPG People Tags)
      – ACDSee
      – GeoSetter (Free, I use this for geotagging alongside WPG, can also read WPG People Tags, as well as other metadata).

      Here is another post with other alternatives: https://www.geckoandfly.com/2306/alternative-photo-organizer-acdsee-10-photo-manager/

      1. Yes, I meant Elements, I just got Windows Live Essentials in my head and can’t edit after I submitted. 🙂
        I don’t have WLPG installed as I’ve rebuilt and couldn’t get it to install correctly so I was using it as a way to force me to find something as a go-forward solution. I’m still trying to force myself to stop using Digital Image Pro and use the Affinity Photo program I bought a while ago (primarily for things I scan, less so photos taken). Tough to get over the learning curve of the new thing, especially when it requires more steps to do the same thing.
        My primary data related needs are around what I shoot which is basic events with family, friends, vacations, etc so my data concerns are mainly file naming and event or area tagging (so I remember what the heck it about) and group common things together like 4th of July gatherings), geotagging, and of course people as that is the 1st or second most useful thing I use as needing finding shots of a person is the most common thing we do other than perhaps finding the photos of an event/trip/etc.
        Thanks for the other options to look at. I’ve used GeoSetter for a long time alongside WLPG and love it for what it does. I’m checking out Cyberlink’s PhotoDirector as it apparently has decent face tagging and can read existing tags (though I’m not sure which ones yet.) I really want to have a WLPG/Picassa like program where i can do all (or as close to all) data related things as well as quick/basic editing as I hate having to juggle between apps. So something like ACDSee looks great but it is out as it can’t do people.

      2. Wow, Digital Image Pro, was a good product at the time. I have tried to find a worthy replacement to Windows Photo Gallery, but I still fall back to using WPG over time, for its speed and simplicity. WPG is not without its faults but a good photo management app in the end. which covers most of my photo management needs. Microsoft should open source Windows Photo Gallery and let a community of developers keep it going.

        Some time ago I tried Photo Supreme – http://www.idimager.com/WP/?page_id=20 has decent features as well as support for Face tagging.

  4. I just got a copy of Adobe Elements Organizer 2018 and it does not honor MWG face tags. Plus when you add face tags the MWG metadata is not updated. I suspect but have not proved it also ignores MWG location tags. Face tags in Elements Organizer seem to be stored in the catalog database rather than the image metadata. Disappointing. But the search continues…

    1. Hello Nathan,
      I have not tried it out with the latest version of Adobe Elements. Did you add the MWG using another application other that Adobe Elements Organizer? If so, have you tried adding people’s names as keywords as described in my post? Would like to check if Elements 2018 picked up Lightroom’s quirk of needing to have a person’s name as a keyword as well as the MWG Face tag name in order to display it. Keep me posted on your findings.

      1. I may have jumped the gun. The next day I opened the catalog back up and the face tags were there. Maybe reloading the catalog “refreshed” things. I did add the people as tags as well. I should try it the other way and see what happens.

        I downloaded a trial of Lightroom Classic and it displayed the WLPG face tags no problem. Too expensive though. I have tried an even dozen PC and cloud solutions and nothing seems to be 100% perfect. I think I will settle on Elements because I own it and it does most of what I want. Thanks for the great blog!.

      2. Good to hear! It could be that Elements was still in the process of refreshing/ re-indexing its catalog after the restore. It can take some time depending on the number of photos on your PC.

  5. I am having an issue similar to what you are describing that hopefully you can help me with. Like you, I really liked the facial tagging feature of WPG. So, when support ended, I searched for another program that would perform the same features. I eventually ended up with Adobe Elements 15 Organizer. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t know of any way to import my existing facial tags, so I painstakingly went through and added them again using the face tagging feature in Organizer.

    Fast forward a couple of years… I recently purchased a new laptop. But, much to my dismay, when I installed my Elements package on my new laptop and re-discovered all of my pictures, none of the face tags were recognized by Organizer. I thought that perhaps the face tag data was never written to the files, so I sought out other programs that WOULD write this data to the files in the future. I figured that if I was going to have to tag them again, this would be the last time.

    So, I discovered digiKam, and when I imported my photos, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the face tags I had already done were still there. So, why didn’t they import into Adobe Organizer? I would just completely ditch Organizer and go with digiKam, but the stacking of similar faces in Organizer is REALLY nice, and much easier than what is available in digiKam.

    Btw, I did backup my Organizer database, but it looks like it backs up all the pictures along with the database. So, I’m afraid that it’s going to overwrite all my photos if I do a restore, and I’ve added and changed some photos since I did the backup. So, I’m afraid of what kind of mess I’ll end up with if I do a restore. It may be worth it in the end though…

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

  6. Thanks, have been trying to convert my library from WLPG using this method, but when I look some photos the regions are in the wrong spot. It is not on all photos, possibly something to do with if the photo has been rotated as they would be correct if they rotated 180deg. I am not sure if this is camera specific, but at least has happened across a few devices.

    I also tried the TagThisPhoto and it looks to do the same, though it is still running so haven’t assessed fully yet. Any tips other than manually fixing 1000’s of photos.

    1. Fot migrating face tags from WLPG to Lightroom: Use exif commands — It worked very well for me (with more 100 000 photos in WLPG).

      Check the exif forum on the subject:

      You can also use exif commands to export the WLPG Location tags to IPTC tags read by Lightroom:
      exiftool “-iptc:City<XMP-iptcExt:LocationCreatedCity" DIR where DIR is the directory that contains youtr photos

      Repeat command for State and Country

    2. Hello Anthony. I also recently stumbled upon that problem and it is driving nuts. The issue arises from how Windows handles image rotation and the Exif image orientation tag. May sound confusing, but in a nutshell:

      There are two ways to rotate an image. One is rotating the image per se (the contents in the file). This method may slow down a camera the moment a photo is taken, as it is processor intensive. So many devices, opt for the second option which is saving the photo in the orientation it was taken and simply setting a flag (Exif orientation) which dictates the orientation so applications can later orient accordingly when an image is viewed/edited.

      The problem with this approach is that some apps differ how they treat the EXIF orientation value. Up until Windows 8, file explorer and other MS apps would ignore the EXIF Orientation value. From Windows 8 onwards, they would display the image according to the EXIF value. However, when you rotate an image it would maintain the previous behavior which it would rotate the image content, but would not update the flag.

      References: https://www.ivertech.com/Articles/Image-Rotation-Issue-With-Windows-10.aspx and https://www.howtogeek.com/254830/why-your-photos-dont-always-appear-correctly-rotated/

      So, in WPG, if an image has an EXIF orientation value other than the typical “Horizontal (Normal)” most likely WPG would apply the People Tags face regions incorrectly, but will still display it as “aligned”. That is why in an app such as Tag That Photo, the region placement seems misplaced.

      I have read various ways to avoid and correct this and appreciate Pierre’s comment. I am testing these out.

      So far, I am inclined to do the following:

      1. Using exiftool, set the EXIF orientation tag to – “Horizontal (Normal)”, erase any MWG an MS People Tag Face Regions.
      2. Using WPG correct the image orientation. Again, WPG will ignore the EXIF flag. It is my understanding that this rotation is lossless.
      3. Using WPG add again the People Tag Regions.

      Seems a bit laborious, but I am very careful with preserving the metadata. Setting the correct rotation and labeling the EXIF as “Horizontal (normal)” should ensure consistency across other applications and services.

      I will post back once I got the set of commands finished and working.

      Here is another discussion in the exiftool forums discusses a method in rotating the regions:


      1. Runing the following command it will generate a tab delimited report on your photos, orientation and WPG Regions. Simply replace DIR with the folder where your photos are stored:

        exiftool -T -Filepath -Orientation -RegionRectangle -r DIR > PhotoOrientationReport.txt

        I opened the file in Excel and filtered the images with exif orientation tags other than Horizontal normal or blank with region metadata. In my photo collection it is a small percentage, still significant.

        I am testing out some exiftool commands to rotate the regions.

  7. Hi,
    I am searching for a solution to have tags on photos which is not modify/rewrite the photo files.
    It is possible?

    1. Any solution which embeds or write tags to the file will modify the file in some way, the image quality is typically preserved (if this is your concern) when metadata is applied to the file as the image data is not altered. However, it is not uncommon for user to preserve the original file so in those cases an .xmp sidecar file could be use. Essentially, it is a companion file which maintains the metadata keeping the original intact. For example, the open source DarkTable app does this (https://www.darktable.org/), among others. I personally, prefer the embedded metadata because the information will “travel” with the file, but again, there are scenarios in which you may wish to “strip” all metadata from the file and keep it separate. Also, another drawback with sidecar files is that if you move the files you will need to ensure you also copy the corresponding sidecar files. Hope this helps!

  8. You have already been such a wonderful help for me so thank you so much. I am not a very advanced user and my photo collection is only about 7000 (family pictures).

    If you fix the rotation in WLPG (I’ve found Rotate Right, exit image to save, go back in and Rotate Left, exit image to save) will fix orientation to Horizontal (normal) AND the MS People Tags will have shifted with it so you don’t have to delete and redo the MS People Tags. You can’t just rotate right then left in the same action either it seems – either with the file selected in your list of files, or if you open each individual file and do right then left. You have to open each individual file, rotate right, exit to save right rotation, then open the individual file again, then rotate left, exit the photo to save.

    For me all my MS People Tags are showing fixed in GeosSetter after doing this.

    The MWG ones will not be fixed though. Lucky I’d not done my collection yet.

    I added a bunch of MWG tags to some files to see if the MWG would stop the MS People being fixed in your case as you have MWG done already – it didn’t. The MWG will still be wrong of course, but MS People will have shifted and be fine (at least in GeoSetter they display as fine and around the faces). So maybe try just deleting your MWG and not MS to save you some time? Then do the laborious rotate fix and then bulk add MWG back in using exiftool?

    I just found this out by trial and error which is how I find out most things I’m not understanding properly lol but try it, it can’t hurt – it seems to be the case for me in every instance so far using Win 10, WLPG 2012 and GeoSetter (whatever latest is).

  9. Actually, I stand corrected – you can just bulk select your photos in WLPG rotate right, then rotate left, and it will bulk set Orientation to Horizontal (normal) and automatically fix the MS People Tag orientation as well. I don’t know why it wasn’t showing up before my computer was heaps buggy and I had to restart GeoSetter (though you don’t always have to restart GeoSetter to see the changes. It just does, and if it doesn’t (the red box can move a bit and become very elongated) then I click out of that folder, click back in and you can see all the people tags around the faces).

    I’ve decided to do this for all photos because I notice I have a number of Orientation Unknown – now while MS People tags work fine when that is the case, as in they’re in the right spot, I’m not taking any chances in future so I want that set for all my photos.

    1. Hello Kristy, glad to know my post has been of help!

      I have been playing around with the rotation and orientation issues with WPG. I discovered that WPG in some cases, will not write back the People Tags to the file after a rotation operation, you need to “trigger” it by writting back another People Tag. Seems odd, but Microsoft may have its reasons for the design of this functionality (or it just may be a bug). Let me explain my workaround for pictures which already have People Tags:

      1. With Windows Photo Gallery running, I use XNView MP (a free image utility) Lossless Rotation functionality. In XNView select the images and then from the toolbar select Tools -> JPEG lossless transformations -> Rotate based on EXIF orientation field. What this does is that it rotates the image based on the EXIF Orientation (only when needed) field to set it as “horizontal” or as XNView calls it: top-left (1). For photos with People Tags, when WPG is running it seems to ignore the orientation change and the People Tags seem correct, still you can tell they are wrong using GeoSetter.

      2. Back in Windows Photo Gallery select the images with People tags which are in Portrait (In WPG select Group by -> Orientation) and add a temporary people tag to those pictures. I usually simply add a people tag called “Fix”. This will trigger the People Tag write operation and will rewrite the people tags. Wait a while until the process is complete (you can tell by placing the mouse over the “clock” in the bottom right hand in WPG). When complete simply delete the “Fix” people tag. Opening the image back in GeoSetter (you may need to click on the “Refresh” button on the toolbar), and the People Tags should be correctly displayed.

      I realized that this was not an issue on many of the photos I imported over the years with WPG since the Importer had an option to “Automatically rotate based on orientation tag”, thus many of my photos did not have this problem. However, this is an issue with photos taken with my phone’s camera. In this case, before applying any tags I rotate the photos based on EXIF using the step described above or with NConvert command line utility which is a bit more advanced but does the same thing.

      – For MWG tags, as at the moment is not my main People/Face tag storage method, I simply delete it running the exiftool command:

      exiftool *.JPG -XMP-mwg-rs:all= -overwrite_original

      – For rotating images based on EXIF orientation using nconvert I use the following command line on the folder with my photos (you will need nconvert to be installed):

      nconvert -overwrite -jpegtrans exif *.jpg

      – Some WPG People Tags may be mis oriented, this may occur when rotating or cropping and image using a utility which does not handle People Tags. In these cases, I remove the People Tags using WPG and add them again.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks so much José !

        That is exactly what I needed. Manually rotating them in MPG to “fix” the Orientation has been really problematic. It has worked some time, some time it has not so now I’ve got a bit of a mess to fix once my sync has finished to OneDrive (it can sometimes be OneDrive being a jerk too and refuses to take updates to a file).

        My issues is quite widespread due to the fact everyone in the family uses phones, and just the general state I get given the files in too.

        To others reading I recommend you do follow the method with XnView MP. That did bulk fix my orientation quickly and easily, and the dummy “fix” people tag worked great in MPG to reorientate the people tags without reorientating thim manually, as it were. Before I was deleting and redoing the whole people tag if I couldn’t get it to look right in GeoSetter.

        I’ll save those other commands for the MWG if I need them in future.

        Thanks again!

      2. Glad it worked.

        I ran into some problems with OneDrive, back in December. For some reason, after rotating a bunch of photos, and after all of them synced back to OneDrive, some photos (a small subset) downloaded back to my PC in their previous versions (prior to rotation). The issue persisted with these photos, in which OneDrive refused file modifications. I contacted Microsoft support and they were unable to reproduce the issue. I managed to fix the problem by rotating the photos using the OneDrive website which has a rotate feature. Quite annoying. Generally, when I do bulk modification of photo files I Pause OneDrive sync on my PC for a few hours.

        Here is how to do it: https://www.groovypost.com/howto/manually-pause-onedrive-file-sync-on-windows-10/

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