Show/Hide the Navigation Pane in Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011

Windows Live Photo Gallery Okay, this how-to is incredibly simple, but I felt compelled to post it after spending 15 minutes pulling out my hair trying to figure out how to show the navigation pane in Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 after accidentally hiding it. There’s no option to display/hide the Windows Live Photo Gallery navigation pane in the View ribbon, nor is Google particularly forthcoming about helping you bring your navigation pane back if you’ve clumsily hidden it without knowing how.

So, here it is:

To Hide the Navigation Pane in Windows Live Photo Gallery ,as I accidentally discovered, you have to click this nearly invisible blue arrow that only appears when you hover near the edge of the Navigation Pane.

Show/Hide Navigation Pane in Windows Live Photo Gallery

To Show the Navigation Pane in Windows Live Photo Gallery (and other applications that have Navigation Panes like this), you have to again find this little blue arrow that you probably didn’t know existed in the first place and click it.

Hide/Show Windows Live Photo Gallery Navigation Pane

While I was at this, I also discovered that you could resize the navigation pane by clicking and dragging the bar that appears next to the arrow. It highlights in blue when you mouse over it.

Resize Navigation Pane in Windows Live Photo Gallery

So, I hope if anyone else is ever befuddled by the same issue as I was, this will help you fix it quick. I guess resizing or hiding the Navigation Pane could be genuinely helpful, if you have a small screen, but I only wish someone would’ve given me a bit more direction regarding how to bring it back!



  1. Bob B.  

    Thanks – I was ready to pull what hair I had left on out!

    • Denise  

      I would have never figured this out. Your a life safter

    • Ty Buchanan  

      You had luck? Well, deleting the file to fix the Chrome profile error never works for me!

  2. SusanZ  

    THANK YOU. It is so simple, but I spent so much time trying to figure this out!

    • Don’t you hate it when that happens! It’s the simple ones that makes you spend the most time trying to fix em…

      And thank you Susan, glad your all fixed up!

  3. Jennifer  

    Thanks a million – I was going SPARE wondering how I had lost it!

  4. Mike  

    Many thanks – I spent ages on this too. An excellent useful explanation. Mike

  5. Chris  

    Wow! Thanks a lot. I’d opened up PhotoGallery on my non-privileged User and only one folder appeared. When I went to my privileged User, all folders were showing like normal. I was ready to uninstall and reinstall after spending half an hour trying to figure out why PhotoGallery lost all but one of my folders. This was a really great save.

  6. Caci  

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! I was about to throw my laptop across the room. I accidentally hid the stupid thing and couldn’t figure out how to get it back. Awesome! Thank you!

  7. Blindman  

    Further proof, if any was needed, that Microsoft could not design the interface for a brown paper bag if their lunch was inside it.
    Do you suppose they even use their own software?

  8. Sarah  

    Why, in God’s name, would they “hide” the navigation pane like this. Thanks to genius’s among us who figure this stuff out!

  9. Sarah  

    My library wants to “digitize” their old photos. A workshop says they should be in two different formats, TIFF and JPEG. They would need an identifier, such as :”Library photo 1, Library Photo 2,” etc., with a title and place for added description. There are photo management programs such as “Past Perfect” for $870. Is this job anything I could do with Windows Live Photo? If so, could you tell me how to set it up? Thanks, Sarah

    • Great question Sarah. I think there is defintely something free for you out there. I’ve turned this over to our Answers community to get multiple recommendations, since I’m betting that the folks over there will have some good advice:

      Check it out:

    • But to answer your question more directly, I think Picasa would be the best tool for that. I’m working on a tutorial that features Picasa’s batch renaming feature which is quite handy.

      • Sarah  

        I’ve been using Picasa and it got mixed in with Picasa 3; then I keep losing pictures, trying to put them from folders into albums. So I’ve gone back to Windows Photo where everything has collected. Now I have like 3 sets of each file, all in different places on the navigation pane. I’m growing old(er), working on all these pictures! You would wonder why I’d take on a library project~~~~~~. Thanks for all your help. Sarah

  10. Sarah  

    Now that all my pictures are in Windows Photo Gallery, I realize that I can’t “send” them because, with Windows Gallery, you have to use Windows Live Mail. I have Gmail and have never set up Windows Live Mail. How can I send my Windows pictures, using G-Mail? Thanks alot. Sarah

  11. Sarah  

    To answer my own question above: I did figure out that if I open a picture in the Window Photo Gallery, with Picasa, I can then attach it a Gmail message. Thanks for providing this great resource. Sarah

  12. Thanks for this, Microsoft have been no help for documenting/resolving this issue.

  13. john  

    Unbelievable. Thank you soooo much.

  14. alex  

    When I edit pictures on Windows Live Photo Gallery, they disappear – when I save them I cannot find them – Helpppppppppppppppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

  15. Blindman  

    This is actually a problem with McAfee anti-virus running under Window’s 7.
    The virus detection software sets the file attribute to “hidden” after photo gallery modifies it.
    Your pictures are still there, but you will need to bring up the folder in file manager and make sure file manager’s options are set to show hidden files. The affected files will then appear slightly grayed out. Right click them individually, or as a group, and uncheck the “hidden” property. Then write a nasty email to McAfee asking why they still have not fixed this glitch.

  16. Blindman  

  17. Inga Aksamit  

    Thank you!! I was using a friend’s computer and he had the navigation pane. I’ve spent quite a bit more than 15″ trying to figure out how to get it on my computer. So simple!

  18. Thank you. !!! Very simple yet frustrating when one does not know how the navigation pane disappeared. Excellent post

  19. Joshua  

    Thank you so much. I don’t get beat by software very often, but I was pretty frustrated when I couldn’t figure this out. This post helped me get the navigation back. Thanks!


    In my frustration, I went to Google for a response on this subject and was lucky enough to find this post. I have been going crazy trying to find out what happened to the navigation pane and folders list…..I could find nothing on the Windows Live Website….a million thanks!!!

    • @Cheryl – Awesome! I’m glad we could help! Thanks for the comment Cheryl!

  21. Mych  

    Thank-you sooo much! I was so frustrated, didn’t know where all my pictures went!

  22. Cam Grossman  

    As with everyone else, how lucky I was to find your post. Thanks Cam

  23. Janet Joiner  

    Thank you so much, I was beyond frustrated. I can’t understand why there isn’t an option in the tool bar. What was the designer thinking? Not, I guess.

  24. Leigh McCarty  

    Thank you very much I was going insane trying to find how to do this.

  25. Henry  

    You made my day, thanks

  26. DannyD  

    I’m with you, I would have never seen that. I don’t even think I hid it I believe it is gone by default in Photo Gallery 2011. I only wasted 5 mins then I found this. Thanks for the help.

  27. Kristen  

    Thank you!!! Put me in the slow group. Took me more time than I care to admit trying to find out to do this. So glad I found your post. :-) Love the internet

  28. That was blasted annoying. I have done that before and found it again, but this time I couldn’t I spent 3 hours now trying to hunt this info down! I despise MS.

  29. Evelyn  

    thanks…yikes….why was this so darn hard?

    • Yeah exactly…. it’s called — design for the user, not the engineer!

  30. Judy  

    This was driving me nuts! Thanks so much!!

  31. Janelle  

    Oh my gosh thank you so much!!! This saved me

  32. Busterdog202  

    Thanks from me, too. Your post is still saving people from smashing their laptops, 2 yrs later!

    ( If Microsoft is going to build 500 hidden features into software such as Photo gallery, they should at least document them somewhere. Putting invisible buttons that allow me to hide the navigation pane accidentally, and having no documentation of this is just torturing users.)

    • Rae  

      Agree with this!

  33. Steve  

    Thanks and thanks again, 2 days wasted trying to work this out. Perhaps they can find a even more obscure way of doing this in future versions of Windows. Grrrrrrrrrr :-)

    Totally invisible button might be the answer, maybe white on white

  34. Angel Carroll  

    thank you, you were right. I searched and searched to figure out how to get this back. Thank you. You deserve a metal!

  35. John Popp  

    Thanks so much for sharing. I was really struggling with it–ready to tear out my hair too as I inadvertently hid the folder list.

  36. SarniaLad  

    Many thanks
    (So THAT’S what it is called – the Navigation Pane!)

  37. KevCardiff  

    Jack Busch, you’re a star!!
    I’m already bald after trying to find this.

  38. Graham  

    Thanks for publishing, I was also baffled at this. :)

  39. Leo  

    Tnx a lot!!!

  40. jim p  

    Thank you…I also have spent about 45 min. trying to figure out how I lost and how to restore the navigation pane. I may not have gotten here till I found out it was called a navigation pane…

  41. Char M  

    Thank you!!! I couldn’t figure this out and probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t come across your post.

  42. Rae  

    I just wanted to thank you for this very helpful tip. I accidentally click that little triangle on the left, the tree disappeared! I could not figure this out easily as I explored all the menus on the top . It is this post that helped me!

  43. lotte yang  

    Thanks a lot! It confused me a few days. I checked every items in the menu and found nothing. Without this post I guess I’ll never see the navigation pane again…..

  44. Kim  

    Thanks! Just spent 5 minutes looking for the folder pane in VIEW and elsewhere, then googled, and your answer popped right up. MUCH appreciated!

    • Rene  

      Thank you so much! It was getting so frustrating. No one, but no one at Microsoft even talked about this situation, or what the info screen does! It is such a stupid little thing, but found by a brainy person! Thanks!

  45. Julie  

    THANK YOU! I know I’m late in seeing this but mine was hidden by mistake, and after 2 days of losing my mind, I turned to the internet and found this post. Sadly, I would consider myself to be fairly advanced in my knowledge of software and computers in general, and this was maddening.

  46. James  

    Thanks…much appreciated!

    Seems that this has helped quite a lot of people over years :)

  47. Jane  

    Thank you !

  48. lisa  

    bless you! I have been agonizing over this off and on and given up at least 6 times in the past month!!!

  49. Jane  

    Thanks for the tip. I’m only commenting here so I can untick the “email me when someone comments” box. :)

  50. Allen Hausman  

    Add me to the long list of the grateful who inadvertently disappeared the navigation pane from Windows Photo Gallery and then were frustrated trying to restore it before finding your posting.

  51. Emily  

    Thank you so much! You’re right, it’s such a small,easy fix but I was loosing it trying to figure out what I did wrong to make it disappear. Thanks again!

  52. Susan Bradd  

    Many, many, many thanks!

  53. US  

    YOU ARE A HERO !!!

  54. Alicia  

    I. Can’t. Thank. You. Enough!!! I was out of my mind trying to remedy my apparent mistake. And Googling wasn’t helping at first because I didn’t know what to search for (ended up being “hidden navigation pane”). Once I landed on this page all my problems were solved. Well, not all … but at least this annoying one! THANK YOU for sharing!

  55. Tanya  

    MY HERO!

  56. Christina  

    Thank you sooooo much! This was driving me crazy and I am thrilled you shared.

  57. Robin Adams  

    Bless you for writing this and for doing it in a way that didn’t make me feel quite as stupid, since you admitted to having made the same mistake yourself. A thousand blessings on you head.

  58. Dakota Pasture  

    I, too, lost my navigation pane in Windows Photo Gallery. I had no clue where it went, if it went strolling on its own or if I gave it it’s walking papers without knowing it. Thank goodness I discovered your helpful suggestion right off the bat and you saved me what normally takes a considerable amount of time searching for that one person with the solution to my problem. You, sir, are my hero today because what I thought was going to be a real pain, ended up being a real pane and for that I thank you!

  59. You’re a gentleman.
    Saved me hunting down the solution. That’ll teach me to meddle (probably not!)
    Ta muchly!

  60. NTHelen  

    Wow! So easy when you know what to do! I never would have figured it out on my own. Thank You!

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