Photos app not working in Windows 11? Here’s how to fix it

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • When the Photos app is not working in Windows 11, it might be corrupted in some way or there could be other system-related problems.
  • If Photos is not opening in Windows 11, resetting the app often makes a difference.
  • Running deployment image and file scans can sometimes solve Microsoft Photos not working issues as well.
  • Windows 11 also includes a handy troubleshooter for fixing Photos and other apps.

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Photos is Windows 11’s default image viewer that comes pre-installed with the platform. So, that’s the app many utilize to open and view their favorite images. That app is bigger and better than ever before in Windows 11.

However, some readers told us that Photos doesn’t work for them in Windows 11. This comes as no surprise since similar Photos app problems are present in Windows 10 too.

When those users try to open the app, it crashes upon launch. Alternatively, the app might open but display the We can’t open this file in Photos error message.

Either way, they can’t open and view images with Photos when that app isn’t working. Do you need to fix Photos in Windows 11? If so, check out the potential resolutions for Photos not working below.

Has the Photos app changed in Windows 11?

Microsoft has tweaked Windows 11’s Photos app in a few ways. Note that it has a new design with rounded corners. It also has quite an interesting Mica material and an updated font style.

The revamped Photos app includes a new editing toolbar too. The toolbar appears when you click on a selected image. Clicking an open image also brings up a photo filmstrip you can navigate images with within the app.

Multi-view feature photos app not working windows 11

Multi-view is another great Photos feature. That enables users to view multiple images at the same time by selecting them in the filmstrip. The app will then display the selected images side-by-side, which is handy for comparing snapshots.

With those new features, Photos is all the better in Windows 11. This is how you can fix that app not working in Windows 11 if you need to.

What can I do if Photos is not working in Windows 11?

1. Update Windows 11

  1. Click the Start button, then select Settings to open that app from the menu.
  2. Select Windows Update on the left side of Settings.
  3. Press the Check for updates button on that tab.
  4. Download and install any available Windows 11 patch updates.
Note icon
You might also be able to update Photos by clicking the Library tab in the Microsoft Store app. Then, press the Get Updates button to update listed apps there.

2. Run the apps troubleshooter

  1. Press the Win + X keys and choose Settings.
  2. Select the Troubleshoot option on the System tab.
    Troubleshoot navigation option photos app not working windows 11
  3. Then click the Other trouble-shooters navigation option.
    Other trouble-shooters option photos app not working windows 11
  4. Thereafter, click Run for the Windows Store Apps troubleshooter.
    Run button photos app not working windows 11

3. Check image file formats’ default apps

  1. Open Settings via the Start menu.
  2. Select the Apps tab.
  3. Then click Default apps on that tab.
    Default apps navigation option photos app not working windows 11
  4. Click the listed Photos app.
  5. Then look for the image file format you’re trying to open within Photos. If Photos isn’t the default app for it, click the format and select the app.
    Default app settings photos app not working windows 11

4. Reset Photos

  1. Click the search tool’s magnifying glass icon on your taskbar.
    The magnifying glass button photos app not working windows 11
  2. Input the keyword apps and features to search.
  3. Select Apps & features to open that Settings tab.
  4. Next click the three-dot button for Microsoft Photos, and select Advanced options.
    Three three-dot button photos app not working windows 11
  5. Press the Reset button.
    Reset button photos app not working windows 11
  6. Click Reset again for confirmation.
  7. If resetting the app isn’t enough, try pressing the Repair button for it.

5. Run deployment image and system file scans

  1. Press the Windows + S keys at the same time.
  2. Then type cmd in the search box, and click the Run as administrator option for the Command Prompt.
    Run as administrator option photos app not working windows 11
  3. Next, input this command and press Enter: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  4. Type in this SFC command and hit Return: sfc /scannow
    The sfc /scannow command photos app not working windows 11
  5. Then wait for the SFC scan to reach 100 percent and display an outcome.

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6. Reinstall Photos

  1. Click the Search button from the taskbar and type Windows Powershell.
  2. Right-click Powershell and select its Run as administrator option.
  3. To uninstall Photos, type in this command and press Return: get-appxpackage *Microsoft.Windows.Photos* | remove-appxpackage
    Remove Photos command photos app not working windows 11
  4. Thereafter, click the pinned Microsoft Store app on your Start menu.
  5. Enter Microsoft Photos in the MS Store search box.
  6. Select Microsoft Photos to open its page.
    Microsoft Photos app page photos app not working windows 11
  7. Click the Get button there to reinstall the app.

What are the best Photos app alternatives?

You don’t need the Photos app in Windows 11 to open images. There are numerous third-party image viewer software alternatives for Windows.

That guide might be more specifically for Windows 10. However, most Windows 10 software is compatible with Windows 11. So, plenty of image viewers in our guide will probably run on the latest desktop platform.

At any rate, the likes of Faststone Image Viewer, IrfanView, and IrfanView are freeware software. So, you don’t need to purchase those apps to install them in Windows 11. You can check the non-freeware image viewers in our guide work in Windows 11 by installing their free trial packages.

Nevertheless, Windows 11’s revamped Photos app is worth fixing. The potential resolutions above will probably solve Photos not opening in Windows 11 for the majority of users.

Aside from the above resolutions, restoring Windows 11 to an earlier time with System Restore or resetting the platform might also solve the problem. However, those are more drastic resolutions that remove software packages. Try all the suggested fixes above first.

You can discuss the Photos app not working in Windows 11 within the comments section. Have you found another way to fix the app in Windows 11? If so, feel free to share an alternative resolution below.

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