About a week ago, a PC user who recently upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 asked us if there is a way out there to restore the Preview option that shows up for images in the File Explorer context menu. This guide will discuss why the Preview option is missing from the context menu and how to restore the same in Windows 10.
In Windows 10, by default, the Photos app is the default picture viewer. The Preview option for images in the context menu shows up only when the Windows Photo Viewer is the default for a specific image type. So, if the Preview option is not showing up, it could be either because the Windows Photo Viewer is not enabled (disabled by default in Windows 10) or is not the default picture for the image file type you are trying to preview.
The Preview option is a feature offered by the Windows Photo Viewer program. So, when you enable and set it as the default, the Preview option appears in the context menu for image file types.
In short, to see the Preview option for images, you need to enable and set Windows Photo Viewer as the default for photos in Windows 10.
Tip: There is a much better third-party app called Quick Look (free), which brings macOS style preview function to image and many other file types.
Enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10
Although Windows Photo Viewer has not been removed from Windows 10, the classic Windows Photo Viewer has been disabled to favor the new Photos app. You need to edit the Windows Registry to enable the same. Do not worry! You just need to download a registry file and run it to enable the Photo Viewer.
Please refer to our how to enable the Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10 guide for step-by-step directions.
Set Windows Photo Viewer as default for images
As said earlier, the Preview option shows up only for picture file types, for which the Windows Photo Viewer is the default picture viewer. For example, if you have set Windows Photo Viewer as the default for JPEG files, the Preview option only shows up when you right-click on JPEG images. So, you need to set it as the default if it is not already.
To set Windows Photo Viewer as the default for a specific image type:
Step 1: Right-click on the image file type (for example, JPEG), click Open with, click Choose another app (even if Windows Photo Viewer shows up in the list), select Windows Photo Viewer from the list, and then select Always use this app to open this type of files option and then click the OK button.
You should now get the Preview option in the context menu whenever you click on that type of images. Or, if you prefer to set Windows Photo Viewer as the default for all types of images, refer to our how to set Windows Photo Viewer as the default in Windows 10 guide.