Starting with Windows 10, when you open an image file, the image would no longer be viewed in the Windows Photo Viewer. Instead, you’ll be switched to the new Microsoft Photos, which is plagued with performance and reliability issues.
While Windows Photo Viewer has been retired, it is still easy to use and lightweight program to access your digital photos on your PC. Unlike the Photos app, Windows Photo Viewer works faster and makes it easy for you to view the photos stored in the local drives.
The good news, is if you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8, it’s easy to get the old Windows Photo Viewer back as you only have to change the default apps.
To do this, open the Windows 10 Settings > System > Default apps and select the Windows Photo Viewer as the desired option under the “Photo viewer” section.
Exit the Settings menu, and you can now access the photos in Windows Photo Viewer. This works only if you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8, and you never did a fresh install or system reset.
For Windows 10 users who performed a clean install of the operating system, we instead need to use a Registry hack to get it back as described below.
How to restore Windows Photo Viewer
If you’d like to fix this on a fresh install of Windows 10 and restore Windows Photo Viewer, you can do it by editing the Registry:
- Download the restore-windows-photo-viewer.reg Registry file hosted at BleepingComputer and save it to your desktop.
- Double-click on the downloaded restore-windows-photo-viewer.reg file and Windows will prompt you if you want to run it. Click ‘Yes‘ when you see security alert.
- You will now be shown a User Account Control prompt asking if you would like Registry Editor to run. Click ‘Yes‘ at this prompt.
- Finally, you will now be shown a prompt asking if you would like to merge the registry file contents into the Windows Registry. Once again, click on the ‘Yes‘ button to proceed.
Once done, you can now access the Windows Photo Viewer, but there’s a catch – you need to manually set the Photo Viewer as the default app for each image file type.
To do this, right-click on an image and click on ‘Open with,’ select ‘Choose another app,’ scroll to the bottom and select ‘More apps,’ and then select Windows Photo Viewer to set it as the default program for this image type.
You need to repeat the above steps for all other image file types that you wish to use Windows Photo Viewer by default.