FULL FIX: Can’t view photos on Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • All of us store at least some of our favorite photos on our PCs so viewing them individually or as a slideshow is one of the most basic functions we expect to have.
  • Sometimes, jpeg files (photos) can't be opened in Windows. Fix this with a reset of the Photo app, try a third party photo viewer or make sure the app is not running in the background.
  • Have a look at our Photo section for more software, tips & tricks and everything else.
  • We are happy to help with any Windows-related issue. That's why we have an awesome Windows 10 Errors Hub prepared on the site.
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All of us store our favorite photos on our PCs, but a number of users reported a strange issue on Windows 10 regarding photos.

According to users, they can’t view photos on Windows 10, so let’s see if we can fix that problem.

What to do if I can’t view photos on Windows 10?

Many Windows 10 users reported that they can’t view photos on their PC. This can be a big problem, and speaking of photo issues, users reported the following problems as well:

  • Windows 10 photo viewer not working – Many users reported this problem on their PC. If you encounter this issue, you might have to re-register Photos app and check if that solves the problem.
  • Can’t open photos in Windows 10 – This is another common problem in Windows, and it can be caused by a corrupted user profile. However, you can easily fix it by creating a new user account.
  • Can’t open jpg files, can’t view jpeg photos – If you can’t view jpg files on your PC, you might be able to fix the problem simply by switching to a third-party photo viewer.
  • Windows photo viewer won’t open jpg – If you’re having problems viewing photos on your PC, you might be able to fix the problem by switching to the Windows Photo Viewer. In addition, be sure to set Windows Photo Viewer as the default photo app, and the problem should be resolved permanently.

Can’t import photos on Windows 10? We have solutions for that! Check our detailed guide!


1. Download Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

If you’re having troubles viewing your photos, you might want to consider a completely different solution from the start. And why not choose one that has a plethora of advantages and bonus features?

Adobe Lightroom is a strong tool that enables you not only to view photos but to capture, edit, share, and organize them as well.

By installing Lightroom you will be able to view and manage any number of photos, group your photos into albums, filter to easily find them, plus you get to choose who else can view, download, or add photos on the web or in the app itself.

Its interface is highly intuitive and easy-to-use, nevertheless, if you are not thrilled by the idea of utilizing a new software, you will be pleased to hear that Lightroom comes with in-app step-by-step tutorials so you can learn the basics or master the latest features in no time.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Identify people in your photos
  • Flag a photo, a pick or a reject
  • Sensei-powered Search and Filter to find photos quickly
  • Group photos into albums
  • Sharing options

Download Adobe Lightroom free


2. Check your antivirus

According to users, sometimes your antivirus can interfere with Windows and cause problems with photo viewing.

If you can’t view photos on Windows 10, you might want to try disabling certain antivirus settings and check if that solves the problem.

If that doesn’t work, you might have to disable your antivirus entirely. If that doesn’t help, the last resort is to uninstall your antivirus.

Several users reported problems with AVG antivirus, but after uninstalling it, the problem was completely resolved.

Keep in mind that other antivirus tools can also cause this problem to appear, so even if you don’t have AVG, you might have to uninstall your antivirus in order to fix this issue.

If removing the antivirus solves the problem, you should consider switching to a different antivirus. There are many great antivirus tools available, but the best are BullGuard, Bitdefender, and Panda Antivirus, so feel free to try any of them.


3. Try using Photo Viewer as a default image viewer

Photo Viewer was present in the older versions of Windows, and many users prefer using it due to its speed and simplicity.

Windows 10 uses Photos app as a default image viewer, but you can restore Photo Viewer with a simple registry trick.

Bear in mind that changing the registry can sometimes lead to system instability issues, so it might not be a bad idea to create a backup of your registry if anything goes wrong.

To restore Photo Viewer do the following:

  1. Download this .reg file.
  2. Once the file is downloaded double click Restore_Windows_Photo_Viewer_CURRENT_USER.reg file to run it.
  3. You’ll be asked if you’re sure that you want to add the contents of the file to the registry. Click Yes.
    cant-view-photos-registry-add
  4. After running this file, Windows Photo Viewer should be enabled.

Now you should test if Photo Viewer works on your PC by trying to open any image on your PC. If the application works, you might want to set it as a default application for image files by doing the following:

  1. Open Settings app and go to Apps section.
    Windows 10 photo viewer not working
  2. In the left pane navigate to Default apps. Find Photo Viewer section and click Photos.
    Can't open photos in Windows 10
  3. Select Windows Photo Viewer from the list.

Another way to set Photo Viewer as default photo application is to use Open With option when selecting an image. To do that follow these steps:

  1. Find the image that you want to open, right click it and choose Open with > Choose another app.
    Can't view jpeg photos
  2. Scroll down and select Microsoft Photo Viewer, check Always use this app to open .jpg files and click OK.
    Windows photo viewer won't open jpg

If you want to disable Photo Viewer, just download this .reg file and run it, and Photo Viewer should be disabled once again.


4. Use PowerShell to reinstall Photos app

PowerShell is a powerful tool that allows you to do all sorts of different things on your PC. Since this is such a powerful tool bear in mind that using it can lead to system instability if you’re not careful.

To reinstall Photos app do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter power. Right click PowerShell and choose Run as administrator.
    Windows 10 photo viewer not working
  2. Once the PowerShell starts enter get-appxpackage *Microsoft.Windows.Photos* | remove-appxpackage and press Enter.
    Can't open photos in Windows 10
  3. After removing Photos app download it again from the Windows Store.

What is Powershell and how to use it? Learn these from our handy guide!


5. Use a third-party photo viewer

Photos app and Windows Photo Viewer are decent photo viewing apps, but if you can’t view photos on Windows 10 you might want to consider using a third-party photo viewer.

We already covered some of the best photo viewer software for Windows 10, so be sure to check it out.

acdsee photo manager interface

ACDSee is a solid, trusted solution for your growing photo collection. This software is packed with tools to help you organize, help, and inspire your workflow.

We recommend you to try this completely customizable tool for enhanced workflow efficiency and completely forget about the can’t view photos issue.


6. Use Windows Store Apps troubleshooter

If you can’t view photos on Windows 10, you might be able to fix the issue by using Windows Store Apps troubleshooter.

In case you don’t know, Photos app is a Windows Store application, and if you can’t view photos on your PC, you might want to try fixing the problem using the Troubleshooter.

To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter troubleshoot. Select Troubleshoot from the list of results.
    Windows 10 photo viewer not working
  2. Select Windows Update from the list and click Run the troubleshooter button.
    Can't open photos in Windows 10
  3. When the troubleshooter starts, follow the instructions on the screen to complete it.

Once the troubleshooter is finished, check if the problem still persists.


7. Make sure that the Photos app is up to date

As we previously mentioned, the Photos app is a Windows Store application, but if you can’t view photos on Windows 10, you might want to check if your Photos app is up to date.

Sometimes certain bugs with Photos app can occur, but you should be able to fix them simply by updating the Photos app. To do that, open the Windows Store and check if there are any updates available for Photos app.

If there are, be sure to download them and check if that solves the issue.

Many users reported that updating the Photos app fixed the problem for them, so you might want to try that.


8. Create a new user account

If you can’t view photos on Windows 10, the problem might be your user account. Sometimes your user account can become corrupted, and that can lead to many issues, including this one.

If your user account is corrupted, you might be able to fix this problem simply by creating a new user account. This is rather simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Accounts section.
    Can't open jpg files    Windows photo viewer won't open jpg
  2. Now choose Family & other people and click on Add someone else to this PC.
    Windows 10 photo viewer not working
  3. Select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
    Can't open photos in Windows 10
  4. Now select Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    Can't open jpg files
  5. Enter the desired user name and click Next.

Once you create a new user account, switch to it and check if that solves your problem. If the issue is resolved, it means that your old user account is corrupted.

Since you can’t repair your account, it’s advised to move your personal files to a new account and use the new account as your main one.


Manage User Account Control like a pro with our perfect guide!


9. Make sure that Photos app isn’t running in the background

If you can’t view photos on Windows 10, the problem might be caused by the Photos app.

According to users, sometimes Photos app keeps running in the background, and that can prevent you from viewing photos on your PC.

However, you can easily fix this problem by closing the Photos app process. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start Task Manager.
  2. Locate Photos app on the list, right-click it and choose End task from the menu.
    Windows 10 photo viewer not working

After closing the Photos app, the issue should be resolved. Keep in mind that this is just a workaround, and if the issue reappears, you’ll have to use Task Manager again to close the Photos app.


10. Reset the Photos app to default

According to users, sometimes this problem can appear due to issues with the Photos app. Your Photos app can be damaged or improperly configured, and that could lead to this and many other problems.

However, there’s a way to fix this problem, and in order to fix it, users are reporting to reset Photos app to default. This is quite simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app. Once the Settings app opens, go to Apps section.
    Can't open jpg files
  2. A list of installed applications will now appear. Locate the Photos app on the list, select it and click on Advanced options.
    Can't open jpg files
  3. Now click the Reset button. A confirmation dialog will now appear, click on Reset again to confirm.
    Windows photo viewer won't open jpg

After doing that, your Photos app will be restored to the default and the problem should be resolved.


We’ve written extensively about Photo App issues before. Bookmark this page in case you need it later.


11. Change the inheritance settings

According to users, sometimes you might not be able to view photos on your PC due to problems with inheritance. However, you can fix this problem simply by following these steps:

  1. Go to C:UsersYour_usernameAppDataLocal directory.
  2. In the Local directory, locate Temp folder, right click it and choose Properties from the menu.
    Can't open photos in Windows 10
  3. Go to Security tab and click the Advanced button.
    Can't view jpeg photos
  4. In Enable inheritance button is available, be sure to click it. Now check Replace all child object permission entries and click Apply and OK.
    Windows photo viewer won't open jpg

After doing that, the problem with viewing photos should be resolved.

Not being able to view photos on Windows 10 can be a big problem, but we hope that you managed to fix this issue after using one of our solutions.

FAQ: Learn more about photo viewers

  • How do I get Windows 10 to show pictures instead of icons?

In File Explorer, at the top click on View. Select Large Icons.

  • How do I fix Windows Photo Viewer?

Look for any image on your computer and right-click on it. Hover your mouse over Open With and click on Choose another app. Search and select Windows Photo Viewer. If you don’t see it on the list, click on More apps and search for it again.

  • What is the best photo viewer for Windows 10?

The list of the top photo and image viewers is ever-expanding and updated. Depending on your needs, some might be better that others. See our top picks for photo viewers in Windows 10 and then give one of them a try.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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