Those of you who have upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 probably have the Windows Photo Viewer program in Windows 10. But some users are reporting that Windows Photo Viewer has gone missing after clean installing or reinstalling Windows 10.
As you likely know, in Windows 10, Microsoft has set metro, modern, or universal apps as default for most file types from music to pictures. The classic Windows Photo Viewer, although it has not been dropped from Windows 10, it doesn’t appear in Default Programs or Default apps page of the Settings app when you perform a clean install of Windows 10 from ISO, after upgrading from a previous version of Windows.
The new Photos app in Windows 10 is better than the classic Windows Photo Viewer when it comes to the features department. The Photos app not only allows you crop, rotate, enhance, and remove red-eye from your pictures but also offers many filters and effects to enhance your photographs.
The only problem with the Photos app is it’s a bit slower when compared to the classic Windows Photo Viewer. The other problem is that it’s not a desktop application, meaning long-time Windows users who prefer using a desktop app might not like it.
As said before, after performing a clean install of Windows 10, the classic Windows Photo Viewer might not be available in Default Programs or Default Apps section.
If you want to make Windows Photo Viewer default in Windows 10 but can’t find it, here is how to enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10 and then make it default.
Tip: If you are on Windows 11, please refer to our how to enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11 guide.
Bring back the classic Windows Photo Viewer to Windows 10
Step 1: Please create a manual restore point by following the instructions in our how to create a restore point in Windows 10 guide as we are going to edit the registry.
Step 2: Click here to download the PhotoViewer.zip file on to your Windows 10 PC.
Step 3: Extract the ZIP file and double-click on the PhotoViewer.reg file and then click the Yes button when you see the following confirmation dialog to merge it. Alternatively, you can right-click on it and then click the Merge option.
Step 4: Finally, click the OK button again when you get the following dialog box. That’s it! You have just enabled the classic Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10.
To check if Windows Photo Viewer is enabled and to open a picture with Windows Photo Viewer, right-click on a picture file, click Open with, click Choose another app (if Photo Viewer is not showing here), click More apps (only if you cannot see the Photo Viewer in the list), and then click Windows Photo Viewer to open the selected picture file with Windows Photo Viewer.
To make it default for images, you need to follow the directions given below.
Make Photo Viewer default in Windows 10
Setting the Windows Photo Viewer as the default program for pictures is not as easy as it was a few years ago. Now that the classic Default Programs redirects you to the Settings app and Settings app doesn’t let you set the Windows Photo Viewer (Windows Photo Viewer doesn’t show up in the list), setting the Windows Photo Viewer as the default picture viewer is a bit tedious. Anyways, here is how to do that.
Step 1: Right-click on a JPEG, BMP, or PNG picture file, click Open with, click Choose another app, click More apps if you cannot see the Photo Viewer in the list, select Windows Photo Viewer, select Always use this app to open this type of files option and then click the OK button to set Windows Photo Viewer as the default for the selected picture file type.
You need to repeat the above steps for all common picture file types such as JPEG, BMP, and PNG if you want to make Windows Photo Viewer default for these file types. To view the file extensions in the File Explorer, navigate to the View menu (in the File Explorer) and then click File name extensions checkbox.
Have you set Windows Photo Viewer as default in Windows 10 or using the native Photos app?