Fix: Windows Photo Viewer not working, can’t open pictures

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as... read more
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  • Many users have reported that their Windows 10 photo viewer is not working as it is supposed to.
  • If you are among them, consider using an alternative photo viewer, or checking your antivirus settings.
  • You can also try reinstalling the app, updating it, or troubleshooting it accordingly.
  • Alternatively, using third-party photo viewers to replace the default one can also help.
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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 open pictures in Windows 10 or Windows 11, so let’s see if we can fix that problem.

Many reported that they can’t open pictures on Windows 10 and this can be frustrating. Speaking of photo issues, users reported the following problems as well:

  • Windows 10 Photo Viewer app didn’t start
    • 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.
  • Windows Photo Viewer not showing thumbnails
  • Windows 10 Photo Viewer black screen
    • 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.
  • Windows Photo Viewer File System error
  • Windows Photo Viewer print not working
  • Windows Photo Viewer scroll/slideshow not working (One quick solution is to switch to a different photo management software, buy you can also try a few fixes for when the photo gallery does not work).
  • Windows Photo Viewer won’t open JPG

What can I do if Photo Viewer stops working on Windows 10?

1. Use a professional program

If you’re having trouble 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.

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom offers you all the capabilities of a full-fledged photo viewer, and much more!

Free trialVisit website

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 with firewall packages that will protect your PC without interfering with other apps or processes.

3. Try using Photo Viewer as a default image viewer

  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.
  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

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.

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

  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 Microsoft Store.

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.

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.

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Some photo viewer software come with photo management features that help you organize your pictures into albums, categories, subcategories, and more.

They also include multiple view modes as well as advanced tagging so you can easily find and sort your pictures.

6. Use Microsoft Store Apps troubleshooter

  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.

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

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

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

  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.

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.

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.

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

  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

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.

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

  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

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. 

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

11. Change the inheritance settings

  1. Go to the following directory: C:UsersYour_usernameAppDataLocal 
  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

According to users, sometimes you might not be able to view photos on your PC due to problems with inheritance. 

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Unfortunately, Windows 7 does not have Photo Viewer like its Windows 10 counterpart. However, there are a fair amount of photo viewer tools for Windows 7 available.

  • While it may seem simple enough, we did think it was necessary to write a complete guide on how to open the Windows 10 Photo Viewer.

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

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