E-Mailing Digital Photos in Windows XP

Robbin Young, Microsoft Web site manager

My husband and I recently joined another couple for a summer holiday, and afterward, I wanted to send a collection of photos to the couple and a few different photos to my mom.

Ideally, I could have just zipped all the photos into a compressed file and sent them off. That way, I'd not spend much time mucking about with the zipping and mailing process, and just let mom and my friends decide for themselves which pictures are interesting.

But I take a lot of photos at pretty high resolution. Even after weeding out the really bad ones, I still had 140 files left, including some video clips. All together, this one weekend's outing takes up 126 MB of space on my hard drive.

Clearly, I couldn't just zip them all together and send the whole mess via e-mail. I tried sending just a few photos in a zip file, and even that was too large because of the limits that our IT department and many Internet service providers place on e-mail attachment size. There was no way I could just e-mail a good selection to mom and our friends. I had to find a better way.

Here's where Windows XP comes in. With Windows XP, you can select the high-resolution photos that you want to e-mail, let the operating system create low-resolution versions of the pictures for you, then send the photos in an envelope that Windows XP prepares for you. In this column, I'll show you how I did it.

Select and E-Mail the Photos

I transferred all of my photos from my camera to my computer and stored them in a subfolder named Blakely 7 4 03 within the My Pictures folder. Then, I selected the photos I wanted to send to my friends.

To select photos to e-mail


Open the folder that contains your photos. To see the files as thumbnail images, click View, and then click Thumbnails.


While holding down the Ctrl key, click each of the pictures you want to send by e-mail. The selected photos are highlighted as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1
Figure 1


In the task pane under File and Folder Tasks, click E-mail the selected items. The Send Pictures via E-Mail dialog box opens. You can choose Make all my pictures smaller or Keep the original sizes. I chose to make all the pictures smaller.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Tip If you don't see the dialog box, click Start, click Run and then type REGSVR32 SHIMGVW.DLL (Note the space between the 2 and the S). Click OK. A dialog box should report the following: "DllRegisterServer in SHIMGVW.DLL succeeded."


Windows XP opens an e-mail envelope, as shown in figure 3, with the pictures already attached. Add the e-mail address and a note, then the photos are ready to send.

Figure 3
Figure 3

Each photos is approximately 50 kilobytes (KB) in size, rather than the original 700 KB per photo. This means that my friends and family get photos that are not high enough quality to print. If they want to make prints, I would send them a photo album on a CD. But for sending quick snapshots in e-mail, this is the way to go.