Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: I’m looking for a software package where I can create photo albums on my computer and write them to one or more USB drives to send to relatives for their viewing on their computer. For this I want to be able to create multiple versions with selected photos from my computer, for example, pictures with my ex-husband in them for his children and relatives, pictures with my children and my travels for my relatives. I would also like to be able to have text descriptions go on or with the pictures, not just a title page of the album.
I’ve tried to review several packages online but it is very difficult to tell if they fully meet my requirements and I don’t always trust user comments about how wonderful or not it is. I hate to spend money, then find out that it only partially meets my needs or I have to spend more for an upgraded version to get what I want (thinking of Adobe). I would also like something that is reasonably priced.
Also, I have 9 photo albums inherited from my mother, is there a good service to copy the photos? Also, slides?
A: First, I don’t recommend specific products unless I’ve recently done a comparative review and it’s been a long time since I’ve done one on photo albums. During that time, however, a wide array of free packages have become available, so that’s where I’d start. You can find a pretty extensive list at: https://download.cnet.com/s/photo-album/.
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Most of those packages allow you to add titles and comments.
Another thought is simply to post your photos to a cloud service like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Amazon Drive. You can share folders with anyone you like. And, by the way, using Windows File Explorer you can add titles, comments and other data to any file. Just right-click on the file and select Properties. Next click on the Details tab and you’ll find labeled text fields.
As for scanning photographs and slides, just search for “scan slides photographs service bureau” and you’ll find a selection of services that you can send your material to for digitizing at quite affordable prices. If you want a local service provider, just add the name of your city to that search and chances are you won’t have to go far.
Q: Every so often, I find that the Taskbar in Windows 10 no longer autohides. That’s a pain because I’m working on a laptop and need to run applications full-screen. When the Taskbar doesn’t autohide it is generally covering up controls I need to use. The only way I’ve been able to fix things is to restart the computer. Do you have an easier solution?
— B. Austin
A: The root of the problem seems to be a glitch with File Explorer. There’s only one way I’ve found to get the Taskbar to behave properly without rebooting the computer. First, if File Explorer isn’t running, launch it. Then open Task Manager, right-click on File Explorer and select “Restart.” That should do the trick.