“Windows Live Photo Gallery” is a new free photo editor from Microsoft, part of their “Windows Live” programs. The promotional material on Microsoft’s web site says it is so easy to use, a 4- year-old can do it. Said four-year-old is shown on the screen, presumably doing it.

 Well, we said to ourselves this is just our sort of competition. The problem was handed over to Joy, who is quite athletic and more than a match for most 4-year-olds. Here’s what followed.

 She started at the for the download. After downloading and attempting to run the program, a screen message said her Microsoft SQL Server software was out of date, and she needed to visit another website to download the new version. Joy dutifully did that, and was then informed she couldn’t install the new version of SQL Server because she didn’t have “administrator privileges.” Now, we happened to know that this was because of Vista’s annoying “User Account Controls.” We also knew that we could turn them off by clicking “start,” then “help and support” and typing “UAC” in the search box. This brought up a menu with an option to turn them off. Joy then had to reboot the computer, remember where she downloaded the SQL file, install it, and finally, Windows Photo Gallery was live. Four-year-olds apparently have no problem with all this.

 Windows’ Live Photo Gallery is kind of a response to Google’s free “Picasa,” for editing and sending photos. It doesn’t have as many features as Picasa, but it has a nice one-click “Fix” button, which not only sharpened our pictures, but automatically straightened them, something we didn’t get using the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button in the Picasa program.

 The Microsoft program has buttons for ordering prints, making a movie, publishing to an online album (private or public), and a place to share photos and experiences. These are all things any normal 4-year-old wants to do of course. The download procedure was goofy, but over-all we liked the program and we’ll stick with it. (Like … what do you want for nothing?).

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