Though it seems primarily pitched at home users, Microsoft’s Windows Photo Gallery is a useful image management tool even in a professional environment. It’s distributed as part of a suite of software known collectively as Windows Essentials 2012. I don’t understand why these tools aren’t included in Windows itself, but since they were until recently part of the Live family I’m presuming that they were designed to encourage the use of Microsoft’s online services. The apparent home user bias to the setup (a single installer for the whole suite, which downloads on demand, which asks for a Live sign-in, and which alters homepage and search provider) consequently makes Photo Gallery quite difficult to deploy and automate.
Firstly the proper offline installer package is tucked away here on Microsoft’s website.
The next issue is that the silent install switches don’t seem to be officially documented by Microsoft. I was able to piece together the working command line using a TechNet forum post, this blog post about deploying the 2011 version, and some stuff on the MSFN forum.
What held me up for a while is that you can no longer target only the Photo Gallery app – MovieMaker and Photo Gallery are bundled together with 2012. So I arrived at this one-liner which I invoke from a more complex workstation startup script, if it’s needed:
start /wait WLSetup-all.exe /q /r:n /NOToolbarCEIP /NOhomepage /nolaunch /nosearch /AppSelect:MovieMaker /log:%TEMP%\WLEsetup.log
The HKCU registry customizations are pretty much the same as for the 2011 version, so to suppress the EULA and Microsoft account sign-in prompt, and to prevent nags about file type associations you will need to set the following in your login script (this is an extract from my VBScript one, but it’s pretty human-readable):
... 'default preferences for Microsoft Photo Library (agree EULA, don't steal filetype associations, no Windows Live sign-in) objReg.CreateKey HKEY_CURRENT_USER,"Software\Microsoft\Windows Live" objReg.CreateKey HKEY_CURRENT_USER,"Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Common" objReg.SetStringValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER,"Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Common","TOUVersion","184.108.40.206" objReg.CreateKey HKEY_CURRENT_USER,"Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery" objReg.SetDWORDValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER,"Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery","SignInRemindersLeft","0" objReg.CreateKey HKEY_CURRENT_USER,"Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Library" arrStringValues = Array(".WDP",".BMP",".JFIF",".JPEG",".JPE",".JPG",".PNG",".TIF",".DIB",".TIFF",".ICO") objReg.SetMultiStringValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER,"Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Library", "DontShowAssociationsDialogExtensions", arrStringValues ...
To install on a Windows 8 workstation you’ll need the .Net Framework 3.5 “feature” to be installed, which isn’t there by default (Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a program > Turn Windows Features on or off). This is problematic if you’re using WSUS – the attempt to download the update will fail with error 0x800f0906. Microsoft have an MDSN article about this, but the prescribed fix of using DISM to fetch the feature from the install media didn’t work for me on Windows 8 Enterprise. I had to remove my PC from an OU which inherits WSUS settings, run gpupdate /force then try again, this time successfully.
In my organization, the requirement for Photo Gallery is for users to interact with a centralized image library. This is stored on a Window 2008 R2 server, and I discovered that I could not add this folder to the Pictures library unless it was indexed on the server side (well, without enabling offline folders – which I don’t want). The relevant information on this topic can be found in this Technet post. In summary, you need to enable the Windows Search Service on the file server, which is a “Role Service” under the File Services role in Server Manager.
The missing piece of the puzzle so far is how to programmatically add this image repository location to each user’s Pictures library. I found a page about this, though the tools did not seem to actually work. Admittedly it’s a few years old, so maybe there are some more official tools now. More research to follow…