Windows Photo Viewer is a popular, free (as in beer) Windows program that allows you to view and organize your photos. It’s a great tool for browsing through your photo files and for using as a slideshow. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to use it.

With the advent of Windows 8, Microsoft added a new Windows Photo viewer. The new viewer allows users to view thumbnails, and view the embedded photo files in documents and webpages. The new viewer works differently from the older viewer. The older viewer works with the previous versions of the operating system, but with the Windows 8 operating system, users can use their previously created photo albums, and view them.

The Windows Store is home to many apps and games, but it’s missing some important features. For example, a large number of us still prefer to use the built-in Windows Photo Viewer to view photos, at least for now until the Snipping Tool arrives. Well, you’re in luck. In this post, I’ll show you how to enable the Windows Photo Viewer if it’s not already enabled.

If you’re unhappy with the default Photos app in Windows 10, you may enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11. The Photos app is the default image viewer for Microsoft. Fortunately, the old Windows Photo Viewer is still available. To get it to work, all you have to do is activate it.

The only issue is that Microsoft has eliminated the Windows Photo Viewer app’s default file associations. You can no longer choose the app as your default image handler as a result of this change.

Fortunately, it’s a simple repair. All you have to do is add the necessary registry entries to the key HKEY LOCAL MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows Photo ViewerCapabilitiesFileAssociations. Here’s how you can do it.

Restore Windows Photo Viewer In Windows 11

In Windows 11, turn on Windows Photo Viewer.

A few steps are required to enable the original Windows Photo Viewer software in Windows 11. To begin, you must first activate the app in the Registry. Second, you must link the image files to Windows Photo Viewer and make it the default application for them. You may also add a Preview context menu option, which launches the old Photoviewer software.

Activate the Windows Photo Viewer Classic software.

  1. These Registry files are available as a ZIP package.
  2. Extract the REG files to a location of your choice.
  3. Confirm the merge procedure by double-clicking the Enable Classic Photo Viewer.reg file.1627618687_101_How-to-Enable-Windows-Photo-Viewer-in-Windows-11
  4. You must set file associations to Windows Photo Viewer after adding the contents of the REG to the Registry.

The Registry file enables the Windows Photo Viewer software and recovers the system registration. Disable Classic Photo Viewer.reg is also included in the ZIP download as an undo change. It enables you to revert to Windows 11’s original settings and undo the Photo Viewer app’s registration in the operating system. This is how it goes.

How does it function?

The Registry file replaces the Photo Viewer’s missing “capabilities.” It “tells” the program that it can handle the following file formats in particular:

  • “.bmp”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.BITMAP”
  • “.dib”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.BITMAP”
  • “.jpg”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.JPEG”
  • “.jpe”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.JPEG”
  • “.jpeg”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.JPEG”
  • “.jxr”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.JPEG”
  • “.jfif”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.JFIF”
  • “.wdp”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.WDP”
  • “.png”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.PNG”
  • “.gif”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.TIFF”
  • “.tiff”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.TIFF”
  • “.tif”=”PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.TIFF”

Under the key HKEY LOCAL MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows Photo ViewerCapabilitiesFileAssociations, these entries must be added.

Quick tip: Winaero Tweaker users can enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11 with one click. In the left pane of the app, navigate to Get Classic Apps > Activate Windows Photo Viewer.


Simply click the button with the same name, and the app will be enabled!

However, this will not allow it to open photos in File Explorer or other programs. Let’s get this straightened out.

Windows Photo Viewer should be the default image app.

You can set it as your default picture viewer in one of two ways. The first way is pretty straightforward. After you’ve launched the software, you may open any image by selecting it in the Open File dialog and selecting Windows Photo Viewer. The Settings app is used in the alternative way.

The first method is to use File Explorer.

  1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer.
  2. Any picture file with a PNG extension can be opened by double-clicking it. The following dialog will now appear.
  3. In the list of available apps, select Windows Photo Viewer.
  4. Check the box that says “Always use this app to open.png files” and then click OK.1627618688_818_How-to-Enable-Windows-Photo-Viewer-in-Windows-11
  5. For jpg, jpeg, bmp, and any other picture file types you need to open with the vintage Photo Viewer program, repeat steps 1-2.

You’ve completed the task! For whatever file types you manually opened, the Windows Photo Viewer is now the default image app.

Alternatively, you may do the same thing with the Settings app.

The second method is to use the Settings app.

  1. By pressing Win + I or any other way, go to Windows Settings.
  2. On the left, select Apps.
  3. In the right pane, select Default apps.1627618689_174_How-to-Enable-Windows-Photo-Viewer-in-Windows-11
  4. Scroll down to Windows Photo Viewer in the list of installed apps and choose it.1627618689_631_How-to-Enable-Windows-Photo-Viewer-in-Windows-11
  5. Set the next app as the default app for each of the file types listed.1627618690_619_How-to-Enable-Windows-Photo-Viewer-in-Windows-11

This will make Windows Photo Viewer completely functional on Windows 11. You could stop right now, but there’s one more item to finish.


The classic Photo Viewer software in Windows 7 included a “Preview” command for photographs, if you recall. The following command is activated by the context menu:

ImageView Fullscreen rundll32.exe “% ProgramFiles% Windows Photo ViewerPhotoViewer.dll”, rundll32.exe “% ProgramFiles% Windows Photo ViewerPhotoViewer.dll”

The amazing thing about this context entry is that it works even if your picture viewer is set to another program. For example, instead of opening photographs in the default Photos app, the “Image Preview” context option will always load the selected picture in Windows Photo Viewer.


Isn’t it a good deal?

Follow these steps to add an Image Preview context menu to Photo Viewer in Windows 11.

  1. With this URL, you may download a ZIP archive.
  2. Two REG files should be extracted to a directory of your choice.
  3. Open the Image Preview.reg file on your computer.
  4. Confirm that the modifications have been added to the Registry.
  5. Now, right-click any image, and select Show more options > Image Preview from the context menu. This will open the image in classic Windows Photo Viewer.1627618691_381_How-to-Enable-Windows-Photo-Viewer-in-Windows-11

Undo Image Preview.reg is an undo REG file included in the ZIP bundle you downloaded. You can remove the newly added ‘Image Preview’ option from the context menu by double-clicking at any time.

For the context menu tweak, I’d like to thank our reader “ThePhinx.”

In Windows 11, here is how you enable the Windows Photo Viewer app.

Please help us.

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As always, Microsoft is on the ball with Windows 11, releasing new features and updates constantly, and Windows Photo Viewer has just been updated with a new version. One of the great new features is that now you can view your pictures in the Photos app. The catch is that the browser will launch if you click on the link in the email, or on a website. This is especially true if you are on a PC with Microsoft Edge and Cortana enabled.. Read more about restore windows photo viewer and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I turn on Windows Photo Viewer?

To turn on Windows Photo Viewer, open the start menu and search for Windows Photo Viewer.

How do I restore Windows Photo Viewer?

To restore Windows Photo Viewer, you can use the Restore Previous Versions option in the File Explorer.

How do I open Windows Photo Viewer from command line?

You can use the following command to open Windows Photo Viewer from the command line. C:\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL photoViewer.dll

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