Windows Essentials 2012 – the Bell Tools For Thee

Microsoft has announced that its Windows Essentials Suite will reach end of support on January 10, 2017.

Not really a surprise, the software suite has had no upgrades at all over the past four years. Still, it will be sad to bid goodbye to Windows Live Mail and Photo Gallery (two of the applications in the suite). They both have more functionality in their little fingers than Microsoft’s Mail and Photos apps have ever had in their whole stunted bodies.

The Photos app, in particular, is a miserable thing that still does not offer support for managing descriptive, people and geo tags, or face recognition, even four years after its introduction.

Microsoft has failed to deliver yet again.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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12 Responses to Windows Essentials 2012 – the Bell Tools For Thee

  1. José says:

    Sad to see Windows Photo Gallery go. I have been testing various apps to act as a replacement (Photo Supreme, Digikam, ACDSee). When the Photos app was debuted on an Insider Build I was excited on what I thought was to be a Photo Gallery replacement ( but it has been a while and there have been no significant updates. Recently, there is some recent news of an updated Photos App –

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Hi José – I’m afraid that the updates to the Photos app amount to little more than rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. A few extra colour filters, and the ability to doodle on your photos with a pen. Well, colour me totally unimpressed…

  2. Ludwig says:

    Microsoft has lost its way, which was a drunk meander at best. There are probably no programmers left there, just script kiddies who have never known any users. Sad, sad, sad …

  3. vanroaming says:

    Whilst WLPG still works the Windows 10 update has caused the display to break up intermittently when I go into the large photo display mode (on my 2015 Dell laptop with latest display driver). I recently asked on the dpreview forum for suggestions on replacement programs. The only suggestion was IMatch which looks powerful and professional (and well supported by its developer) but has quite a steep learning curve and is probably more complicated than I need. All I use WLPG for is tagging, rating and captioning photos and using this metadata to make selections. I enjoy its slickness and the ease of tagging … even with ~160,000 photos it pops up tagging suggestions instantly as I type. Despite its power it looks as if IMatch will be both slower and more fiddly to use for my purposes. Do you have any experience with IMatch? If so, would you think it would be a suitable replacement? Are there others I should consider?

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Sorry, no experience at all with IMatch. I’ve been using Photo Supreme for some time now, and still find it the best DAM program for my needs. It’s relatively straightforward to use, but has enormous depth and flexibility if required. Well supported by the (small) development team, and with an active forum of users.

  4. TomT says:

    Please excuse a very random if tangentially related question, but I have a colleague with a problem and I suspect you may know of a solution. She has a large collection of images stored on Windows computer. These images have extensive notes stored in their “Comments” metadata property, viewable through File Explorer. We are trying to find an image editing program that will allow her to view and edit these comments (including batch editing) more easily than doing so through Windows own native File Explorer. And here’s the kicker: she needs to do so on a Windows XP machine. Do you happen to know of any software that fits the bill? Many thanks!

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Hi TomT – I think that Geosetter will do the trick. It handles batch editing of image metadata, and it runs on Windows XP.

      • TomT says:

        Thanks very much for the suggestion! After perusing Geosetter I am not sure it will work for this particular purpose, as it doesn’t seem to recognize Windows 10 metadata fields such as “Comments.” (Why the people working with my colleague chose to use Windows 10 metadata fields to store such information, I don’t know.) I may however suggest she use Geosetter and start over, transferring the data from the Windows 10 “Comments” field into a similar EXIF metadata field. In any case, I appreciate your help!

        • Geoff Coupe says:

          Yes – sorry about that. It looks as though the Microsoft Comments field is something proprietary to Microsoft (why am I not surprised?) and has been there since the days of XP, if not earlier. Doubtless it’s still in Windows 10 for legacy and backward compatibility reasons. Most of the other fields have now been switched across to XMP de facto standards, but not this one.

        • Geoff Coupe says:

          Here’s a thread that seems to confirm what I thought – the comments field is unique to Microsoft:

          Mind you, it does say that Phil Harvey’s Exiftool can deal with them. The only problem is that the tool is command-line driven, which makes it problematic for mere mortals to use.

          • TomT says:

            That’s very helpful! Unfortunately my colleague’s colleagues initially decided to place comments in the Microsoft Comments field, I suspect merely because that field was there in File Explorer. Now that they want my colleague to be able to easily edit those comments, that location has become a problem. I think they will all be best served by biting the bullet and moving the comments to a more generally supported field.

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