In Windows 10, Microsoft made it harder to use the good old Photo Viewer app and forced everyone to use the Metro app called "Photos" instead. There is no way to set Windows Photo Viewer as the default to open image files since it is missing from the list in Settings->System->Defaults apps. The classic Control Panel also allows only TIFF files to be associated with Photo Viewer. Here is how to fix this restriction and get Windows Photo Viewer working again in Windows 10 RTM.
I inspected the Windows Registry and found out that Windows Photo Viewer can be activated by Registry editing. You must add a set of values to the Registry. In this article we will see how it is done. To save your time, I added the appropriate option to my freeware app, Winaero Tweaker, so you can get it working with one click or edit the Registry entries yourself.
How get Windows Photo Viewer working in Windows 10 with Winaero Tweaker
Using Winaero Tweaker, you need to do the following:
- Open Winaero Tweaker and go to Windows Accessories -> Activate Windows Photo Viewer.
- Click the button "Activate Windows Photo Viewer". The Set Default Programs window will be opened. There you will find Windows Photo Viewer. Click the button "Choose defaults for this program" on the right to set all desired extensions which will now be available for the Photo Viewer app.
This is very easy and time saving. You can get Winaero Tweaker here:
How get Windows Photo Viewer working in Windows 10 without Winaero Tweaker
As I mentioned above, this can be done by manually editing the Registry yourself. Follow these instructions:
- Open Registry Editor.
- Go to the following Registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Photo Viewer\Capabilities\FileAssociations
Tip: You can access any desired Registry key with one click.
If you do not have such a Registry key, then just create it.
- There you need to create a bunch of string values, as mentioned below:
".bmp"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".dib"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".gif"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".jfif"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".jpe"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".jpeg"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".jpg"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".jxr"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff" ".png"="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"
Now, open the Set Default Programs window by following these instructions:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to System - Default apps and click the Set defaults by app in the bottom of the right pane. There you can set all desired extensions to be handled by Windows Photo Viewer.
That's it. You are done.
Note for VirtualBox and other users who run Windows 10 in a virtual machine without hardware acceleration: Windows Photo Viewer now depends on Direct3D acceleration and will not work in your VM unless it has it enabled. But it works OK on real hardware.