I thought this was going to be about the virtues of gay photos, in line with bi photos, and - of course- the commonplace straight photo.
All kidding aside, this is a great post, Maracle.
In regards to Picture Viewer, the bottom line is if the software came with or in Windows, it probably sucks
(MS Paint anyone??)
There are tons of apps out there that will treat your photos right... In fact, although we're all prone to ditch the software that comes with our digital cameras, I know that Canon's automatically orients the photos when they're downloaded.. And then you have your Picasa (from Google) which maintains EXIF data, as well as a bunch of shareware apps for Flickr.
One thing to keep in mind is that as popular as online photo storage/organization/sharing sites are (i.e. Picasaweb, Flickr, Snapfish, etc.) they should *NOT* be used as your primary storage. Many of them resize/compress your photos when you upload them... It's astounding how many people I've seen upload their stuff to Ofoto or whatnot, download it later to print, and wonder why the print quality sucks. Ooops!
Anyway, there are a LOT of great tools out there. And a good number of crappy ones. Very few of them come out to a complete solution. Until that comes along, make sure you keep all your originals (back them up to DVD or external hard drives or something), don't save your edited/cropped/email-size photos over the originals (Use the "Save as..." function!), and for the love of god, take a few minutes and give titles, captions or tags when uploading to Flickr or whatnot!
Ok, that last one is a personal preference, but still... names like DSC40001 don't really help me figure out what/where/who the photo is!