HP Image Zone and PVM files

HP Image Zone comes with HP cameras and printers, and is, in general, perfectly adequate for routine image printing and minor manipulation such as cropping, resizing, etc.

On the other hand, it’s remarkably opaque, having the concept of an “Album Shelf” onto which albums can be placed. Albums are collections of image files stored in XML, but with a PVM extension. However, there’s no apparent way to actually get PVM files onto an image shelf, so in the event of, say, a hard drive crash, you’ll apparently need to completely recreate any albums you might have had.

This is utterly obnoxious (not to mention unacceptable) so I actually contacted HP support, who told me that there was simply no way to import albums. One can create albums, I reasoned, and list of albums on the album shelf must be stored somewhere, after all.

After much screwing around, while tech support insisted that what I was attempting was impossible, I determined that this was all stored in

C:\Documents and Settings\[windows login]\Local Settings\Application Data\HP\Digital Imaging\db

The file format appears to be Foxpro, and there are a bunch of files in there.  Foxpro can open them, but what’s shoved into the text columns appears to be UCS-16.  The short version is that copying the database files from one installation to another copies the Album Shelf.

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11 Responses to HP Image Zone and PVM files

  1. Chris Blackmor says:

    In trying to clean up a small root drive and move some stuff off to my larger secondary drive I changed the default album location in HP Image Zone, saved that, and moved the PVM files to the new location… I *thought* that this would work. Now ALL my albums are gone. Your comment is the only one I have found that might help me get it back but I am not sure I understand what to do here.

    Are you saying that I need to load foxpro and edit each of the files under the db dir? I got a little lost on the UCS-16 part too.

    Thanks in advance for any helpful hints you can give me.

  2. queued says:

    The PVM files don’t contain much other than a list of files … which doesn’t bear any relation to the album shelf. What you need are the files from the directory in the post (every file from that directory.)

  3. Chris Blackmor says:

    I moved the PVMs to another directory when I started this process but never touched the db files. Those files are still there and in tact. I moved the PVMs back to the original directory when I saw the error of my ways but image zone still doesn’t see my albums.

    If I didn’t touch the db files I have some how destroyed some link between the db files and the PVMs. No?

    Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. I would really hate to have to rebuild all these albums. However, if I do, it WON’T be with HP’s stupid software. I can’t believe they would write something so horrible and publish it to the world.

  4. Queued says:

    There are a couple of possibilities:

    1) The database is corrupt

    2) Upon failing to see the PVM files, ImageZone helpfully deleted any albums whose PVM files it did not locate

    In either case, I’m afraid, your last backup of your db directory is your best bet. I have had database corruption occur where all my albums suddenly disappeared, but I did not perform any further analysis since I had the last backup handy. For case #2, I spent some time loading up the database and poking around with Foxpro; I’m certain there’s a way to “reattach” the PVM files, but I did not determine exactly how.

  5. Vicki says:

    A few months ago my computer crashed due to a virus. I had a friend, with software, who restored my computer. However, when I was loading all my pictures on to a cd (so not to lose them again), I found some that had the pvm extension. I cannot open them through image zone. I cannot find anything to help me open them. I have found that the pvm files are “links.” Everytime I click on one, I get the same 4 pictures that are in a file I can open. Does this mean that the pvm files are just duplicates of what I already have, or is something going on that I do not see and somehow I have lost the pictures that should be there. (I’m not too computer savvy, but I’m doing my best!)

  6. queued says:

    The PVM files are just pointers to pictures; they contain no images themselves

  7. Jean says:

    Where do PVM Files point to and how can we retrieve them?

  8. queued says:

    You can open a PVM file in any editor to find out — though since they’re XML, opening them in an XML viewer will display more structure. They are a description of an album in HP Image Zone — but the actual album data is stored in the database, and as far as I can tell, PVM files are neither used for anything, nor can they be imported into albums.

    For each album, it’s a list of the JPG files that’s part of that album.

  9. peter says:

    I’ve got the same problem I can’t figure out how to open these PVM files. I tried downloading all kinds of viewers, nothing works. But if they only point to locations, that’s definitely not what I want because they’re back ups. HEWLETT PACKARD SUCKS.

  10. queued says:

    You can open them in Notepad. They’re just XML pointers, and don’t appear to be particularly useful; they don’t contain any image data, and they can’t be imported.

  11. Jeanette G. Sanders says:

    All pictures I scanned to my image file went to my doc.I can’t open them.They are PVM files.This was from 4-2008 through 12-2008. Help

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