How to Make Windows Photo Viewer the Default Image Viewer in Windows 10

Windows 10 uses the new Photos app as its default image viewer, but many people still prefer the old Windows Photo Viewer. However, you can bring back Photo Viewer in Windows 10. It’s just hidden.

If you upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC to Windows 10, Windows Photo Viewer will be available and you can set it as your default photo viewer if you wish. However, if you do a clean install of Windows 10 or buy a PC with Windows 10 already installed, you won’t be able to access Photo Viewer at all. Interestingly, Photo Viewer is still there. It’s just hidden and you’ll have to make a couple of registry edits to get it to show up. After that, you can set it as your default photo viewer.

Update: Windows Photo Viewer has not been cut from Windows 11 and you can make Windows Photo Viewer the default photo viewer in Windows 11.


For some reason, Microsoft has chosen not to include the registry keys that allow access to the Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10. These keys are preserved when upgrading from a previous version of Windows, but they are not created during Windows setup. 10. Microsoft really wants you to open all those image files in their new Photos app instead.

If you go to the default app drawer in settings, you won’t even see Photo Viewer as an option. The old “Default Programs” control panel app doesn’t help much either. Open it and you can make Photo Viewer the default file-only association. tif i. tiff, but not for other types of images.

You also can’t just point image files to a specific file. exe to associate them with the photo viewer. Photo Viewer is actually part of a DLL file named “PhotoViewer.dll” and does not have a separate executable file associated with it.

So how do you get Photo Viewer back? Of course, by running our old friend of the registry editor. And after you do that, you can set it as your default photo app.

Step One: Enable Photo Viewer in the Registry

We will need to add the same registry entries that were present in Windows 7 and 8.1 and are still present on systems that have been upgraded from these older versions of Windows. To make things easier, we’ve put together a registry hack that you can use to make these changes quickly, because they’re a little cumbersome to make manually. Download and unzip the following file:


Inside you will find two hacks. Run the “Activate Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10” hack to create keys and values ​​in the registry and activate Photo Viewer. And if you ever want to deactivate it, just run the Deactivate Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10 (Default) hack. Of course, there is no real need to deactivate it in the registry. You can always leave it available and just link the image files to another application.

Note. Many thanks to Nexus on TenForums for finding the necessary registry settings.

And remember, this step is only necessary if you’re using the new Windows 10 system. If you’ve upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.1, you can go ahead and set Windows Photo Viewer as your default image viewer using all the usual methods.

Step Two: Set Windows Photo Viewer as Your Default Image Viewer

To associate an image file with the Photo Viewer, right-click any type of image file, such as File. png,. jpg,. gif or. bmp and choose Open With > Choose Another Application.

In the “How do you want to open this file?” select Windows Photo Viewer. If you don’t see it at first, scroll to the bottom of the list and click “More apps” – it will appear. Select the “Always use this app to open files” option. ___” and click “OK”.

Update: If the “Choose another application” option doesn’t work for some reason, you can do it another way: First, right-click on the image file type you want to change (for example, PNG, JPEG, GIF, or BMP file) and select Properties to open the Properties window. In the General panel, click the Change button to the right of Opens With and select Windows Photo View.

Windows Photo Viewer will now be the default image viewer for this image file type. You will need to repeat this process for each image file type you wish to use it with. In other words, whenever you open an image that opens in the Photos app, simply close the Photos app and use the Open With menu to associate that file type with Windows Photo Viewer. You will only need to do this the first time you open each new type of image file.

Obviously, we cannot guarantee that Microsoft will permanently retain access to Photo Viewer. But for now, at least it’s still there – even if you have to work a little harder to find it.

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