performance computer logo

How to Enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10/11

One of the most critical programs I’ve always used is Windows Photo Viewer. It’s a lightweight image viewing program that has been built into Windows since XP. It’s a simple program and when set as the default photo viewing program in Windows, allows you to double click image files to preview them. It has back and forward buttons to cycle through additional image files in the same directory which makes it far superior to the Windows 10 Photos app which only allows you to look at one picture at a time.

enable photo viewer in windows 10 11

If you install Windows 10 or 11 as a fresh copy and are not upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1, you will notice that Windows Photo Viewer is absent with no way to enable it. It’s still built into Windows, but it’s hidden and must be enabled by adding a registry entry. If you upgraded to Windows 10 from a Windows 7 or 8.1 system, you can skip this step and go to the next section.

Enabling Windows Photo Viewer in the Registry

To enable Windows Photo Viewer, its registry entries need to be added. We have created a registry entry which does this. Click the link below to download it.

Activate Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10

Once you’ve downloaded the registry entry simply double click it and run it. Next, we will make Photo Viewer the default image viewer. How to Make Windows Photo Viewer the Default Image Viewer

How to Make Windows Photo Viewer the Default Image Viewer

To make Photo Viewer the default image viewer, you simply need to right click an image file, choose “Open with” and click “Choose another app”.

open file with windows photo viewer in widnows 10 11

In the “How do you want to open this file?” box, click Windows Photo Viewer if it is in the list of applications. If you don’t see it as an option, click “More apps” to find it. Finally check the “Always use this app to open files” box before you click “OK.”

make windows photo viewer the default windows 10 11

You need to repeat this process for each image file type you wish to associate Windows Photo Viewer with or you can take a shortcut by using another registry edit.

Included with the registry entry above, is another registry entry which makes Photo Viewer the default mage viewer for .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .tiff and .ico files.

Double click it and run the “Make Photo Viewer Default Image Viewer” registry and you’re done!

That’s all there is to it. Hopefully Microsoft maintains Photo Viewer but there’s no guarantee that they won’t remove it in a future update to Windows 10 and 11…