How to Switch Default Image Viewer in Windows 10

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Windows 10 has made many improvements over older operating systems but not all of the changes are welcome. Users of Windows 7 or 8 may remember Windows Photo Viewer, an installed program that was pretty good at managing images. While the new Photos app is still pretty capable, Windows Photo Viewer is better. So if you want to know how to restore and use Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10, here’s how.

The method to restore differs depending on whether you have a fresh Windows 10 machine with a clean install or whether you upgraded from a previous version.

Restore Windows Photo Viewer on a fresh Windows 10 machine

If your computer came with Windows 10 installed or you have performed a fresh install, you will need to download a .reg file as the entries for Photo Viewer were stripped out of Windows 10.

1. Visit this site and download Restore_Windows_Photo_Viewer.reg.
2. Run the file and confirm.
3. Type or paste Control Panel into the Search Windows box.
4. Navigate to Programs, Default programs then Set your default programs.
5. Find Windows Photo Viewer and select Set this program as default.

The .reg file is from a trusted source but always scan downloaded files with your antivirus scanner before opening them.

Restore Windows Photo Viewer on an upgraded Windows 10 machine

If you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8, Windows Photo Viewer may still be present on your hard drive.

1. Navigate to Settings, System and Default apps.
2. Select Photo viewer and click on the program icon underneath.
3. You should see Windows Photo Viewer as an option. Select it if it’s there.
4. Test the program out to make sure it works.

In a couple of my upgraded installs, Windows Photo Viewer was present but wasn’t associated with any file types aside from TIF. If that happens to you, perform the above steps as if you were working in a fresh Windows 10 install and not an upgrade.

More Windows app tutorials you might like:
How to change sync frequency of the Windows 10 Mail app
How to uninstall and reinstall Windows 10 built-in apps
How to Turn On or Off the Game Bar in Windows 10