Posted on October 8, 2015 · Posted in Windows 10

How to Restore Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10

Nobody knows why Windows 10 developers decided to abandon the familiar since Windows 7 default picture viewer – Windows Photo Viewer, and use the Modern app Photos instead of it. The old photo viewer is associated only with *.tif and *.tiff file extensions, and there is no opportunity to open other types of graphical files in it.

Despite of the fact that Photos app has more features (filters, image processing, and visual effects), the old Windows Photo Viewer is faster and more convenient. In this article we’ll consider how to restore the old Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10.

As we have already discussed, you cannot use Windows Photo Viewer as a program to open graphical files, in particular:

  • There is no Photo Viewer in the settings of file extension associations with the programs in the Control PanelWindows 10 apps associations
  • Photo Viewer is not available in the menu Open with…open with modern app photos
  • You cannot assign an executable file manually, since there are no executable files in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Photo Viewer” or “C:\Program Files\Windows Photo Viewer”
  • There is no Preview option in the context menu of graphical files

Windows 10 developers have cleared all register keys connected with Windows Photo Viewer, though the tool itself still stays in the system and is located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Photo Viewer\.

Note. If you have upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, Windows Photo Viewer will be available in the context menu “Open with…” and file associations in the Control Panel, since the necessary keys won’t be deleted during the upgrade. So, everything discussed below refers to the systems with Windows 10 installed from scratch.

You can force Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10 in a certain folder using this command:

rundll32 "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Photo Viewer\PhotoViewer.dll", ImageView_Fullscreen C:\MyPhoto

Restore Photo Viewer Windows 10

To bring back the opportunity of making Windows Photo Viewer a default app in the Control Panel for the current user, import the following registry file

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00








Assign Windows Photo Viewer

The next REG file is more general and applies to all system users due to creating file associations on the application level. File associations with Windows Photo Viewer are created in this registry branch: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Photo Viewer\Capabilities\FileAssociations 

registry FileAssociations

Additionally, this registry tweak returns the opportunity to choose Windows Photo Viewer to the context menu of the images “Open with…”

Open with Windows photo viewer

The ready REG file to make necessary changes:

So, Windows Photo Viewer can be used to open the majority file types again.

Note. If you are using Windows 10 in the virtual machine (VirtualBox, VMWare) without hardware acceleration, Windows Photo Viewer dependent on Direct3D acceleration won’t start.

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