Change App for Edit Image Context Menu Command

Microsoft Paint Icon Big 256

How to Change the App for the Edit Image Context Menu Command in Windows 10

In modern Windows versions, File Explorer includes the Edit command in the context menu for images. If you right-click an image, and select Edit, the image will be opened in Microsoft Paint. In this article, we will see how to change the app for the Edit command and replace it with an image editor of your choice.

By default, the command is set to the Paint app.

As of now, Paint remains pre-installed in Windows 10, but Microsoft may change this. As you may remember, starting in Build 18963 the Optional Features page  now lists both Paint and Wordpad apps. This means that both apps can be uninstalled, and they can also be eventually excluded from the default app set of Windows 10.

The classic Paint app is one of my favorite apps. It is lightweight, has a set of essential tools to quickly edit a picture. It is just fast and fluid.

Microsoft Paint in Windows 10

As you may remember, starting with build 17063, the classic Microsoft Paint app in Windows 10 had a "Product Alert" button. Clicking on the button opens a dialog that suggests that the app will be occasionally replaced with Paint 3D, and will be moved to the Store. Many people were not happy with this move from Microsoft. They were not ready to exchange the good old mspaint.exe with a completely different Store app because the old Paint has its own advantages and Paint 3D does not surpass it in every way. Classic Paint always loaded much faster, and had a more usable and friendlier user interface with superior mouse and keyboard usability. Starting in Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18334 Microsoft has silently removed the Product Alert notice.

The button is now missing in the toolbar. So, MSPaint is still included in 1903. It'll remain included in Windows 10. Also, it was updated with a set if accessibility features.

So, Microsoft Paint is set as the default app for the 'Edit' context menu entry for images in Windows 10. It is not obvious how to change it to another app, since Windows 10 doesn't include any option for that. Actually, it is very easy, and can be done with a simple Registry tweak.

To Change the App for the Edit Image Context Menu Command in Windows 10,

  1. Open the Registry Editor app.
  2. Go to the following Registry key.
    See how to go to a Registry key with one click.
  3. On the right, modify the default (unnamed) parameter. Set it to the full path to the app which you want to use instead of mspaint for the Edit menu.
  4. Don't forget to keep the "%1" portion after the executable file's name. It is very important, as it passes the file name to open in the app.

In the screenshot above, you can see that I have set the edit command to GIMP. Now, when I right-click on an image file and choose 'Edit' from the context menu, File Explorer launches GIMP instead of Microsoft Paint.

Note: To undo the change, set the edit command in Registry back to

"%systemroot%\system32\mspaint.exe" "%1"

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

8 thoughts on “Change App for Edit Image Context Menu Command”

  1. You sir, are a legend… I’ve updated mine to open with photoshop! Works like a treat… I should have done this a looooooooooong time ago :)

    Also, I’ve exported the registry incase Microblows updates windows and removes my little reg edit..

    Thanks again Sergey

  2. This feature once worked in early build of Windows 11, but now it’s seem no longer working in newer build of Windows 11, since the Edit command was removed.

    1. Edit: it’s still working but the Edit command was removed on Windows 11 by default for some odd reason (even Winaero Tweaker failed to change the registry due to its being removed.)
      Now the edit commands worked if added manually.

      1. Edit removed from Windows 10 too, used you instructions above and added successfully, thank you.

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