Original Poster

How do I transfer Picasa photos from a Windows XP PC to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard?

I will be purchasing a Mac Mini next week and would like to transfer my Picasa photos from Windows XP to Mac OS X 10.6. I've heard from people in the past that this can be difficult. I was wondering if anyone has had success recently transferring from XP to 10.6.2 with the latest version of Picasa for Mac, and if you can offer any tips for a successful outcome.
Thanks in advance!!
Community content may not be verified or up-to-date. Learn more.
All Replies (6)
Just did this. Moving the pictures was pretty easy. JUST BE SURE that sharing is enabled in every PC directory that contains photos you want to copy. I have the machines on the same network, so on the MAC, I just opened two finders, one on each machine. Then you can just drag the folder(s) from the PC to wherever you want them on the Mac (i used the Pictures directory :) ). Include the "originals" folder in each folder... Once I enabled sharing on each nested directory, it all worked.
HOWEVER, I can't get my albums over. I am now running a terminal window and using sed (shades of years ago for me) to modify the .pal files from PC syntax to MAC, but I can't get Picasa on the MAC to see them. (Found this helpful conversion info in the first posting of Picasa on MAC). It even deletes my modified .pal files when it exits. Oh, and It didn't work to import the Picasa Web albums from the Picasa Web site - it only brought down the pictures, which I already have. Lost the order of things and I still don't have albums. SO, I am looking for Album moving from PC to MAC solutions... :) Anybody????
As far as moving the Albums... What I did was for each Album was to select all photos in each album and tag them "AlbumName"--on the Windows side using Picasa. Then, on the Mac side, create a new Album by searching for the tagged photos. Repeat for each Album...
Tedious but it works.
Still looking for a smoother process.
I just did this. Pretty easy actually... Not sure why Google doesn't have an official support answer for this one. I looked all over for an answer to this question and didn't find anything that point blank said how to do it. After some experimentation, here is what I came up with... notice I am making Picasa do most all the work because I am lazy!
1. On Windows PC, in Picasa (I was using 3.8, don't know about earlier versions) goto Tools -> Backup Picasa...
2. Select "New" and tell the pick a location on a shared network drive or an external drive.
3. Select the folders, albums, etc that you want to include in the backup... I chose "All".
4. Wait for Picasa to finish backing up all the images.
5. Go to your Mac.
6. Find that backup folder Picasa for Windows just created on the shared drive or external drive.
7. Start the "Picasa Restore" app (Picasa Restore.app if you have file extensions turned on)
8. Wait....
9. Open Picasa for Mac.
10. Let Picasa find the images.
When I did it this way, I was able to get everything from Windows Picasa transferred into my mac Picasa. Including: Places, People, Tags, Descriptions, Folder Hierarchy, and Albums. Like magic! Its still running through the facial recognition stuff because Picasa still wants to analyze all the images. But the names for those people all got pulled in once I logged into my web account via the desktop app, and those names were automatically assigned to the people Picasa found in my pictures. I expect to have a little cleanup to do on the People/Faces front, but overall very easy.
The folder this method dropped all the files into on my Mac is the not the one I wanted it to be in (its related to the paths the files were in on Windows, and cannot be changed) but its easy enough to use the "Move" command within Picasa to get the photos and folders into the actual directory I want them in on my Mac.
Good luck!
Thanks donfmorrison! That worked perfectly! The only problem I had was Picasa on my mac did not find my pics automatically. I just added the folder to Picasa though and then it worked! Thanks so much!
I tried this method and Picasa did not pickup my albums from the PC backup.
I had been using Picasa on Mac [with different photos] prior to putting the backup on an external drive--in the directions above is Picasa already installed?
I also noticed that clicking on or opening Picasa Restore.app did absolutely nothing on the mac.
I tried adding the restore folders and files, but no albums.
So I'm still looking for a way to import my albums from the PC version of Picasa.
I finally succeeded in getting my albums and some of the People tags transferred to my iMac and here's some things I had to do to get things working.
After trying the method above by donfmorrison, I had a copy of everything on an external drive, but for some reason the database that contained the albums was empty. I tracked them down on the PC with some help from this forum post:


For me, this was the secret sauce. I was able to convert the album database files to Mac format with help from that forum post. I Made sure Picasa was not running and then copied the entire directory (i.e. \00288efb76b05c25873266d61fcbf14e) with converted files into the new mac directory for picasa albums on the mac [/Users/someuser/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Picasa3/Picasa3Albums].

Further, I referenced this help article about rebuilding the database:


After deleting the db3 directory, the next time Picasa is restarted it will read the albums directory created above and build a new database. This is where I had the most problems, the dbid, assuming it means database ID, in the individual album files has to be the same string as the directory name. In any case, when Picasa starts it asks you to search for photos, pick whatever option you like and let it run for as long as it takes to read all your photo files and build the database, could be hours if you have a large amount of photos.

If things worked correctly, you should start to see your albums pop up in the menu on the right hand side.

About the People tags, I set the software to download the people tags from my web albums, so I'm not sure if I picked them up from the restore or the download, and I did have to re-confirm several faces, but it only took a few minutes, compared with the possible hours that I had spent naming my database previously.

All my captions are there, and tags too. Happy that I finally found a way to get rid of my PC once and for all. ;-)

Hope this helps.

Were these replies helpful?
How can we improve them?


Some community members might have badges that indicate their identity or level of participation in a community.

Expert - Google Employee — Googler guides and community managers
Expert - Community Specialist — Google partners who share their expertise
Expert - Gold — Trusted members who are knowledgeable and active contributors
Expert - Platinum — Seasoned members who contribute beyond providing help through mentoring, creating content, and more
Expert - Alumni — Past members who are no longer active, but were previously recognized for their helpfulness
Expert - Silver — New members who are developing their product knowledge
Community content may not be verified or up-to-date. Learn more.


Member levels indicate a user's level of participation in a forum. The greater the participation, the higher the level. Everyone starts at level 1 and can rise to level 10. These activities can increase your level in a forum:

  • Post an answer.
  • Having your answer selected as the best answer.
  • Having your post rated as helpful.
  • Vote up a post.
  • Correctly mark a topic or post as abuse.

Having a post marked and removed as abuse will slow a user's advance in levels.

View profile in forum?

To view this member's profile, you need to leave the current Help page.

Report abuse in forum?

This comment originated in the Google Product Forum. To report abuse, you need to leave the current Help page.

Reply in forum?

This comment originated in the Google Product Forum. To reply, you need to leave the current Help page.