Can’t rotate picture in Windows Photo Viewer? Fix it fast

Tashreef Shareef
by Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
Tashreef Shareef is a software developer turned tech writer. He discovered his interest in technology after reading a tech magazine accidentally. Now he writes about everything tech from Windows to iOS and streaming services... Read more
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Can't rotate picture Windows Photo Viewer
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The Windows Photo Viewer comes with basic editing features that allow you to make basic changes like cropping the images and rotating them. However, some users have reported that they cannot rotate pictures in Windows Photo Viewer in the Microsoft community forum.

Would appreciate further help on my problem with (can not)rotating picture files with window photos viewers after upgrading to win 8.1 – the rotate arrows become gray(inactive).

In this article, we take a look at the possible solutions to help resolve the cannot rotate pictures in Windows Photo Viewer issue in Windows.

What can I do if pictures in Windows Photo Viewer won’t rotate?

1. Check for Read-only attributes

Cannot rotate pictures in Windows Photo Viewer

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the location where you have stored the picture.
  3. Right-click on the picture and select Properties.
  4. Open the General tab.
  5. At the end of the window, for Attributes: uncheck ‘Read-only’ box.
  6. Click Apply and click OK to save the changes.
  7. Close the properties window and open the image in Windows Photo Viewer and try rotating to see if the issue is resolved.

Some images by default come with Read-only attribute to prevent accidental modifications made by the user. By removing the Read-only attribute you can make the necessary changes to the image.

2. Check for permission issues

Cannot rotate pictures in Windows Photo Viewer? Here's why

  1. Right-click on your image and select Properties.
  2. In the Properties window, open the Security tab.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
    pictures in Windows Photo Viewer won't rotate
  4. For ‘Owner’, click the Change link.
  5. In the Select User or Group window, type your username and click Check Names.
    pictures in Windows Photo Viewer won't rotate
  6. Select the name and click OK.
  7. Click Apply and OK to save the changes.
  8. In the Properties window, select the newly added user and, click the Edit button.
    Cannot rotate pictures in Windows Photo Viewer? Here's why
  9. Select the user again and make sure the Full Control box is checked under Permission for Administrators.
  10. Click OK to save the changes.
  11. Close the properties window and open the image in Windows Photo Viewer. Check for any improvements.

3. Run System File Checker

Cannot rotate pictures in Windows Photo Viewer

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type cmd, right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.
  3. In the Command Prompt, enter the following command:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  4. The above command executes the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool. This will use Windows Update to provide the files that are required to fix file corruption.
  5. It may take several minutes to complete the process.
  6. Once done, enter the following command to run System File Checker:
    sfc /scannow
  7. The System File Checker will scan all protected system files and replace corrupted files with a cached copy that is located in a compressed folder in the Windows directory.
  8. After that, close the Command Prompt and check for any improvements.

Running the System File Checker tool can help you resolve the issues with Windows Photo Viewer if it is happening due to file corruption, etc.

If you are unable to rotate the picture in Windows Photo Viewer check if the file has read-only attribute. Also, make sure you have permission to edit the image.

If the issue persists,  run the System File Checker to fix any issues with the app and system files.

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