Metadata means "data about data" and every time you tag a photo, give it a star rating, or edit the time it was taken, you've edited the metadata. In Windows XP, photo metadata included things like file name, size, and type, etc. In Windows Vista, however, there is all kinds of new metadata, including tags, date taken, rating, caption, image resolution, camera make/model, shutter speed, etc. Now, some of that metadata is created by your camera (like make/model, shutter speed, etc), but some of it is created by you.
With the Windows Live Photo Gallery, you can quickly and easily add tags and ratings. If this is the first time you've installed the program, you will probably want to go through the pictures already on your computer and add some tags to them. This can be easily done by clicking on the group of photos listed under the Tags section as "Not Tagged." You can then select a picture, or use Ctrl or Shift to select multiple photos and then "Add Tags" on the right side of the gallery. As you add tags to photos, your most recent tags will appear as you start typing in a tag, making it that much easier to tag a photo. The next time you import pictures, you can tag them on their way in - there are more details on the import process here.
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