How to Restore Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10

This article explores different ways of restoring Windows Photo Viewer, reasons for missing Windows photo viewer in Windows 10 and how to restore lost photos in Windows 10.

Apr 08,2019 • Filed to: Computer Data Recovery • Proven solutions

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Most Windows Users will agree that the Windows 10 update is a mixed blessing. No doubt, users were excited about the long-awaited Windows update. However, the excitement was abruptly cut short due to the absence of the beloved and comfortable Windows Photo Viewer. Yes, it's disappointing when you have to adapt to the newly-installed Photo app, which is quite complex, slow, and uncomfortable.

Don't lose hope. There's a way to restore your Windows Photo Viewer app. Yes, you don't have to adapt to the new Photo app. In fact, you get to enjoy both an upgrade in the Windows 10 OS and your favorite image viewing.

In this article, you will explore different ways of restoring Windows Photo Viewer. What's more? I'll show you the different ways with which you can restore lost photos in Windows 10. So, jump on as we navigate through the sections!

Part 1. Windows Photo Viewer Missing in Windows 10

The Windows Photo Viewer app has been part of the Windows NT package since the inception of Windows 2003. It has a user-friendly interface which makes it easy to use or navigate. One would say it was a rude awakening when users discovered they couldn't access the windows photo viewers app in Windows 10. Yes, the beloved app was ditched in favor of the Photo App, which has more editing gestures than the previous.

In fact, many users would describe the Photo app as a mini version of the more popular Adobe Photoshop image editing app. Despite the Photo app's superior features, many users still prefer the simple and comfortable feel of the Windows Photo Viewer. Before you panic, you should know that your favorite image viewing app is still in your Windows 10 Operating System.

Surprised? Don't be. Microsoft decided not to include the registry keys to enable you to gain access to Windows Photo Viewer. only substituted in the Photo app as the default image viewing app. So, why is the Windows Photo Viewer missing in the latest Windows Update? Well, the answer lies in the next section.

1. Reasons for Missing Windows Photo Viewer

You should know that there are 2 scenarios or cases responsible for the missing image viewing app. This aspect is important since the method of restoring Windows viewer app differs for each.

Case 1: Windows 10 Is upgraded from Windows 7/8

Yes, upgrading your Windows OS from 7/8 to the latest update is one of the reasons why your Windows Photo Viewer is missing. In fact, it's a common scenario for those who upgraded their OS. It's easier for those, in this case, to get their Windows Photo Viewer as compared to those who installed a clean version of Windows 10.

You don't have to download a registry tweak to get your app back. In fact, all you have to do in this case is to change your default image viewing app settings from the new Photo App to the old and trusty Windows Photo Viewer.

Case 2. Windows 10 is from the clean installation

This is for you If you bought a new Windows device with a pre-installed Windows 10 update. Technically, your Photo Viewer is still in your OS. However, it will take more than a simple change in the default app to get it back. Windows 10 automatically uses the Photo viewing app as the default image viewing option. In fact, Windows Photo Viewers is no longer listed in the "Open with". More so, it only has .tff extension associated with it.

In other words, you can't use it to open major picture formats like jpeg, png, and gif. Therefore, you need to use a registry tweak to get your app. In the next sections, I will show you an in-depth step by step way of integrating a registry code into your Windows 10.

2. Advantages of Windows Photo Viewer

Here comes the question: why is there so much craze and fervor about getting the old image viewing app back? Well, I believe the answer lies in its amazing array of merits.

Got example, the Windows Photo Viewer doesn't operate in a "sandbox"; it allows email apps like Thunderbird and Outlook to run its program in order to view email attachments. More so, you can comfortably use the Photo Viewing app to view multiple pictures by using the arrow key to cycle through them, and the mouse wheel to zoom around.

There's more? When working with sprites, zooming in doesn't blur the pixels in this app. Most importantly, the Photo Viewer app is better since you can view your whole image without any taskbar obscuring the top portion of your screen. This is unlike the Photo app where there's a transparent taskbar obscuring your full view.


Part 2. How to Restore Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10

Method 1: Create Shortcut for Windows Photo Viewer

There are so many ways to restore Your Windows Photo Viewer workout tweaking the registry files. This method is one way to restore your app without using a registry tweak. Kindly follow these steps and you will have your Windows Photo Viewer app in no time.

Step 1: Create a New Shortcut

Go to your desktop and right-click on a blank space. From the open window pane, select New and click on Shortcut. This will open the Create Shortcut window. Type in the following shortcut into the text box in the Create Shortcut window: rundll32 “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Photo Viewer\PhotoViewer.dll”, ImageView_Fullscreen.

Once you've typed in the command, click the "Next" button and type in "Windows Photo Viewer" as your shortcut title. Then Click the "Finish" button at the bottom right side of the window to add your new shortcut to the Desktop.

Step 2: Open Your New Shortcut

Click on your new shortcut to open the Windows Photo Viewer as shown in the image below. Oh no! It's a blank screen! Yes, I intentionally omitted to add a destination file to the command typed into the Create Shortcut Window. This is like a test drive to get you familiar with the process. At this point, your Windows Photo Viewer is not of any use to you.

Step 3: Create a Shortcut Window Again

Now right click the desktop and select "New". Click on Shortcut to open Create Shortcut Window. This time, click the browse button at the side of the text box. Now, select a folder contains your image.

Once you've selected a destination folder for your images, enter rundll32 “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Photo Viewer\PhotoViewer.dll”, ImageView_Fullscreen just before the file destination folder. Your location should be something like this: rundll32 “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Photo Viewer\PhotoViewer.dll”, ImageView_Fullscreen C:\Users\Matthew\Pictures\Digital.

Step 4: Add Shortcut to Desktop

Click next and add the shortcut to your desktop. So, click the new desktop shortcut and it will open all the images in that destination folder. You can also create more Windows Photo Viewer shortcuts to link with other destination folders with images.

There's a clause: You can't select the "Open" option from your Windows Photo Viewer software. However, this method will enable you to view all the images in that specific folder.


Method 2: Set Windows Photo Viewer as Default APP

Setting up your Windows Photo Viewer as a default app is better than the previous method. Why? You don't have to worry about creating a new shortcut for every image file. More so, this method is easier and straightforward. Mind you, this method differs based on the type of Windows 10 installment.

For those who upgraded from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1

Step 1: Click on Settings. Select "System" and click on default apps. Scroll down to your Photo Viewer (This is your current default image viewer).

Step 2. Click on the Photo Viewer and you will see a list of option for a new default image viewer.

Step 3. Select Windows Photo Viewer as your default image viewer. Mind you, you will only see this option if you upgraded OS to Windows 10.

For those who installed Windows 10 from Scratch

The Window Photo Viewer app doesn't appear as an executable file on Windows 10. In fact, it appears as a .dll file extension. Therefore, you can't use it to open an image in that format. More so, you can use set it as your default program by using the aforementioned steps. This step involves tweaking Windows registry. To restore your Photo Viewer app, you need to follow these steps:

  • Step 1. Copy the Registry code from a trustworthy source.
  • Step 2. Save it in your Notepad. Double click on your new Notepad file in order to merge it with your Windows Registry.
  • Step 3. You will have to click through a series of windows such as the User Control Account to enable the file to make changes to the file Registry.
  • Step 4. Now, go to your Control Panel and click on Default program. Choose Set Default Programs and look for Windows Photo Viewer in the list of available programs. Click it and set it as your default image viewing app.

Method 3. Take Windows Photo Viewer to "Open with" List

Although Windows Photo Viewer exists in the new Windows 10 OS, it can only support images in .tiff and .tif format. That's the reason why your Windows Photo Viewer won't appear in the "Open with" menu when you want to open images in .jpeg or .png format. Fortunately, you can manually add this image viewing app to your "Open With" menu via the following steps:

Step 1. Open the Windows 10 Registry Editor

Go to your Start menu and type in "regedit" and click on it. In this editor, navigate your way to the "File Association" key by following this path:Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Photo Viewer\Capabilities\FileAssociations. Once you select this key, you will see only two strings: .tiff and .tif. This means Windows can only open images with these extensions.

Step 2. Add More File Formats

You need to add more strings value under the "File Association" key. This will enable you to add Windows Photo Viewer app in your "Open with" menu. More so, it will enable the app to open images in more formats.

You can create new string values by right-clicking on the empty space at the right-hand side of the window. Select "New" and click on "String value". Now, name a new string value as .jpeg. Double click it and affix its value data to PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff. So, whenever you right click on a jpeg file, the Windows Photo Viewer will appear in the "Open With" menu.

Step 3. Repeat the Process for other Image Formats

In a similar fashion, create a new string value and name it as an image format such as jpeg, bmp, or png. Your window pane should look like the image below at the end of these steps.


Method 4: Add "Open with Windows Photo Viewer" for Images

In the case of an upgrade, you will need to add your Windows Photo Viewer to the Open with menu of your images. So, follow these steps to get this underway.

  • Step 1. Set Windows Photo Viewer as your Default App
    Go to the Control panel, click on Default programs, and select Set Default Program. Search for and select your Windows Photo Viewer and click on "Set This Program as Default".
  • Step 2. Right click on any image. Click on "Open with" and select "Windows Photo Viewer". Click on the checkbox to always this app to open your image files.

Method 5: Associate All Image Filetypes to Windows Photo Viewer

This is the same procedure for adding new image formats in the registry editor.

  • Step 1. Open the Windows 10 Registry Editor Go to your Start menu and type in "regedit" and click on it.
  • Step 2. Navigate Your Registry Editor
    In this editor, navigate your way to the "File Association" key by following this path:Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Photo Viewer\Capabilities\FileAssociations. Once you select this key, you will see only two strings: .tiff and .tif. This means Windows can only open images with these extensions.

You need to add more strings value under the "File Association" key. This will enable you to add Windows Photo Viewer app in your "Open with" menu. More so, it will enable the app to open images in more formats.

You can create new string values by right-clicking on the empty space at the right-hand side of the window. Select "New" and click on "String value". Now, name a new string value as .jpeg. Double click it and affix its value data to PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff. So, whenever you right click on a jpeg file, the Windows Photo Viewer will appear in the "Open With" menu.

Every method in this section is specifically geared to help you restore your favorite app. Sometimes, these methods such as integrating new file formats into the registry editor, are complex and requires a keen ability to follow every step and line without making mistake. On the other hand, some are so easy that it only requires a little tweak to get it right.


Part 3. Lost Photos? Get Recoverit Photo Recovery

Yes, you've finally restored your Windows Photo Viewer app, but you are not out of the woods just yet. Here's a question: how do you restore your photos when your Windows Photo Viewer crashes? Yes, it's easy to lose your photos due to a system glitch malfunction. So, back to the question, you can restore your lost photos by using the Recoverit Photo Recovery software.

The photo recovery app is an advanced data recovery software that enables the retrieval of lost data irrespective of the size, format, and quality. Its deep search algorithm aids its ability to scour through even obscure files to get your desired photos or videos. More so, it has a fast recovery mode of operation and its compatible with different devices from Windows to Mac OS.

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  • Recover lost or deleted files, photos, audio, music, emails from any storage device effectively, safely and completely.
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Video Tutorial on Photo Recovery


How to Recover Lost Photos in Windows 10

Third-party software like Recoverit is the perfect solution to recovering your lost photos. The mode of recovery is quite straightforward and takes less than a few minutes to complete the whole deleted photo recovery process. Mac users can download the Mac version and get the solution from this page: Mac Photo Recovery.

Step 1 Select a location for lost photos

Since you are recovering your lost photos from deleted files, click on the hard drive with the right designated letter. Now click "Start".

Select a location for lost photos

Step 1 Scan the selected hard drive

An all-around scan will be launched immediately. It offers an in-depth form of lost image recovery and is ideal for all deleted files.

all-around photo scanning

Step 3 Preview and recover photos

Once the scan is completed, you can preview your files before recovery. Select the wanted photos and click on the "Recover button at the lower part of the screen to get pictures back. Don't save your deleted photos in the same drive you recovered from.

recover photos

Tips on Photoshop Recovery

  • Set Auto-Save Interval in Photoshop.
  • Always make use of photo recovery software that is suitable for your OS.
  • Auto-recover files in Photoshop.

Getting your beloved Windows Photo Viewer app has never been easier with these methods. Be rest assured that each of these methods is guaranteed to bring you the desired result without a hitch or malfunction. So, take the step to transform your Windows experience with these nuggets.

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