Stop Picasa from rescanning photos every time and fix duplicate links to directories

This might not be your problem. But this is how I got Picasa to stop scanning and discovering some of the same photos most every time I start it. Plus I got rid of duplicate entries for the same directories. And Picasa isn’t compacting the database as often when I quit.

I thought this was three separate problems. But I seemed to have improved them all with one approach. I was trying to fix the repeated directory listing issue. Playing with the Folder Manager which comes up from the Add Folder to Picasa choice on the File menu, didn’t help. Even if I removed every directory from Picasa with this Folder Manager tool, one copy of many of my directories would still stay listed in Picasa. I thought My Pictures was listed twice. But remove either one from Picasa, and they would both go away. Add it back, and they both would return. This is not the reason for the duplicate listings of photos in Picasa.

Follow these steps for what worked for me:

  1. Quit Picasa if it is running.
  2. Locate and backup
    C:\Users\yourName\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2Albums\watchedfolders.txt and C:\Users\yourName\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2Albums\frexcludefolders.txt
    In these paths, replace yourName with the username you have on your computer.
  3. Edit both watchedfolders.txt and frexcludefolders.txt so they are both empty.
  4. Start Picasa.
  5. You may still have photos and dierectories showing even though Step 3 should have removed all reference to them. There must be another place this information is stored. Let me know if you discover it. For Step 5, right click on each directory name in Picasa and click Remove from Picasa… You will have to confirm for each directory that you do want to remove the folder <said folder> and its subfolders. This doesn’t delete the photos from disk. I had a lot of directories to remove, and the Folder Manager helped me remove quite a few at once, but I couldn’t get them all without the right click Remove method.
  6. Now with no photos listed, I quit from Picasa and started it again. This step might not be needed, but I am telling you about it since I didn’t do testing to see what are the absolutely required steps.
  7. Use the Add Folder to Picasa, Folder Manager to add the folders you wish Picasa to manage. Also block the directories that you don’t want managed by Picasa. Before restarting Picasa in Step 6, I used some of the directories that I still wanted to include from the backups of watchedfolders.txt and frexcludefolders.txt, and put them in the empty files. That is a short cut that is optional. I didn’t get them all, so I still needed the Folder Manager to get everything managed correctly.
  8. Exit and restart Picasa. This might be the last time large numbers of photos are found for the umpteenth time.

Thank you to wsoutter at the Google support forum for his answer to the reload issue. He may be right that the problem is from a transition from Windows XP to Windows 7. I too had references to a bad path of C:\Documents and Settings\

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