All recent versions of the Windows operating system ship with an image viewer. So is Windows 11. Windows 11 uses the built-in Photos app as the default picture viewer.
The Photos app in Windows 11 is quite good. While there is nothing seriously wrong with the Photos app, it’s no longer a simple image viewer. It includes image enhancement tools that most users never use.
There are PC users who still love the classic Windows Photo Viewer program. However, as you might have discovered by now, Windows Photo Viewer is replaced with the Photos app (this was the case in Windows 10 as well). Luckily, the Windows Photo Viewer continues to be part of Windows 11, but the program has been disabled to promote the Photos app.
Users who wish to enable and use the Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11 need to make a small change to the Windows Registry. Since most users are not comfortable editing the Registry, we have provided a ready Registry file which you need to open and apply to enable the Photo Viewer. Here is how to do that.
Enable the hidden Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11
Step 1: Click this link to download the PhotoViewer.Zip file from our website.
Step 2: Right-click on the downloaded ZIP file, click Extract files, select a location to save the extracted Registry file, and click the Extract button.
Step 3: Now, double-click on the extracted PhotoViewer.reg file.
Step 4: If you get the following security warning, click the Run button.
Step 5: Next, you will see the User Account Control prompt. Click the Yes button to proceed further.
Step 6: Now, you will get the following Registry Editor prompt. Once again, click on the Yes button.
Step 7: Finally, click on the OK button. You have now successfully enabled the Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11.
You can now right-click on a picture file, click Open with and then select Windows Photo Viewer from the list to open the selected picture file with the Photo Viewer.
Follow the steps below if you want to set it as the default for your favorite image types.
Set Windows Photo Viewer as default in Windows 11
Step 1: Open Windows 11 Settings. On the left pane, click Apps. On the right side, click Default apps.
Step 2: On the Apps > Default apps page, search for . JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, .JPG, one by one, and then Windows Photo Viewer as the default.
To do that, search for an image file type (.PNG, for instance) to see its entry just below the search box, click on it and then select Windows Photo Viewer from the list.
Alternatively, to set Windows Photo Viewer as default for a picture file type, right-click on it, click Open with, click Choose another app, select Windows Photo Viewer, check Always use this app to open this file type option. Note that you need to repeat this for all image file types you wish to make Photo Viewer as default.
ImageGlass is an excellent alternative to Windows Photo Viewer
If you want to enable the Windows Photo Viewer just because the default Photos app is not as fast and simple as the classic Windows Photo Viewer, you might like the free ImageGlass program.
ImageGlass is intuitive, fast, and updated regularly. We here at IntoWindows have been using ImageGlass for years and can say that it’s the best photo viewer program for most users. So we suggest you give it a try right now.
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