How to open the Windows 7 Photo Viewer on Windows 10

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The Photos app has replaced the Windows 7 Photo Viewer as the default image viewer in Win 10. Windows 10 doesn’t even include the registry keys for Photo Viewer.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t open the WPV in Win 10. There are, in fact, a few ways you can restore the WPV in Windows 10. This is how you can open Photo Viewer in Win 10.

How to run Windows 7 Photo Viewer on Windows 10

  1. Select Windows Photo Viewer as Your Default Image Viewer
  2. Open the Photo Viewer With the Command Prompt
  3. Add a Windows Photo Viewer Shortcut to the Desktop

1. Select Windows Photo Viewer as Your Default Image Viewer

If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 on a desktop or laptop that originally came with Win 8.1 or 7, you’ll find that the Windows Photo Viewer is still there.

The Photo Viewer registry keys are still in place on PCs that originally came with earlier Windows platforms. Thus, all you really need to do to open WPV with pictures is configure the default app settings so that it’s the default image viewer software.

This is how you can select WPV as the default image viewer.

  1. Click the Cortana button on the taskbar to open that app.
  2. Enter the keyword ‘default apps’ in the search box.
  3. Select Default app settings to open the window shown directly below.
  4. Click Photos under Photo Viewer to open the app list directly below.
  5. Select Windows Photo Viewer listed on the app list to choose it as the default image viewer. Photo Viewer will now open whenever you click an image.

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2. Open the Photo Viewer With the Command Prompt

However, Photo Viewer will not be listed on the Choose an app list if Windows 10 is the original platform on a desktop or laptop. Nevertheless, you can still launch WPV with the Command Prompt.

This is how you can open Photo Viewer with the Prompt.

  1. Press the Win key + R to open the Run window.
  2. Enter ‘cmd’ in Run’s text box and click OK to open the window below.
  3. Now enter ‘rundll32 “%ProgramFiles%Windows Photo ViewerPhotoViewer.dll”, ImageView_Fullscreen‘ in the Command Prompt.
  4. An empty Windows Photo Viewer window will open as below when you press Enter. However, you can’t open any images in the Photo Viewer, which isn’t much good!

Working in Command Prompt will be like a walk in the park after you read our handy guide!


To open the Photo Viewer with some images, you’ll need to enter a full path to a folder that includes images at the end of the command.

For example, the command could be something like rundll32 “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Photo Viewer\PhotoViewer.dll”, ImageView_Fullscreen C:\Users\My Photos.

Just make sure that you include the full folder image path, and then press the Enter key.

That will open Photo Viewer with all the images included in the folder path, and you can flick through them by pressing WPV’s Previous (Left arrow) and Next (Right arrow) buttons.

3. Add a Windows Photo Viewer Shortcut to the Desktop

However, you don’t need to open the Command Prompt to launch WPV with an image folder. Instead, you can add shortcuts to the desktop that open WPV with a specified picture folder.

This is how you can set up Photo Viewer desktop shortcuts for image subfolders.

  1. First, right-click the desktop and select New > Shortcut to open the window shown directly below.
  2. Enter ‘rundll32 “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Photo Viewer\PhotoViewer.dll”, ImageView_Fullscreen‘ in the text box followed by your image folder path.
  3. Press the Next button, and enter a title for the shortcut in the text box.
  4. Click the Finish button to add the Windows Photo Viewer shortcut to the desktop as below.
  5. Click the Windows Photo Viewer desktop shortcut to open the WPV. It will open with the images within the folder specified in the Prompt command entered for it.

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So that’s how you can get Photo Viewer back in Windows 10. However, there are also plenty of alternative freeware third-party image viewers you can install.

This software guide provides further details for the top seven Windows 10 photo viewers.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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