Windows Photo Viewer is alive and kicking, you just need to enable it. Here are steps to enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10.
On Windows 10, Microsoft removed the awesome Photo Viewer and replaced it with the new Photos app. If you’ve used Windows 7 or Windows 8, you will know the default Photo Viewer tool. Right of the bat, the good old Photo Viewer is really good looking, easy to use, and most of all, snappy and performs way better than the modern Photos app. Now, this doesn’t mean the Photos app is bad. But when compared to the Photo Viewer, it is not as good, especially in terms of performance. For example, when scrolling through photos, the old Photo Viewer does better than the new Windows 10 Photos app.
Sure the new Photos app has some bells and whistles like OneDrive integration, support for more image formats, the ability to open HEIC photos, basic image editing, etc. But, if you don’t need all the extra features and only want performance, you can enable the Windows Photo Viewer back on.
In this quick & simple guide, let me show the steps to enable Windows Photo Viewer with a simple registry trick.
Steps to enable Photo Viewer in Windows 10
Microsoft didn’t completely remove Photo Viewer in Windows 10. Rather, they just hid it from plain sight and wanted to make users forget it. As we have it, you can execute a simple registry script to enable the Windows Photo Viewer. So, just follow the below steps as is and you will have the Photo Viewer in Windows 10.
You need to create a bunch of registry keys to get Photo Viewer on Windows 10. To make things easier, I created a .reg file with all the required key changes. So, go ahead and download this zip file.
After downloading, open the ZIP file and extract the folder in it to your desktop. Next, open the extracted folder. In the folder, double-click on the “activate-photo-viewer.reg” file.
Windows will ask if you want to merge the reg file. Just click on the “Yes” button to confirm the action.
Once the reg file is merged, Windows will show a confirmation message. Click on the “Ok” button.
After modifying the registry, you can start using the Photo Viewer. To do that, right-click on any image and select the “Open with → Choose another app” option.
Now, see if you can find the “Windows Photo Viewer” option. If you can’t, it might be hidden. So scroll down and click on the “More apps” link.
Find and select the “Windows Photo Viewer” option from the list and click on the “Ok” button. If you want to make the Photo Viewer the default, select the “Always use this app to open image files” checkbox before clicking the ok button.
That is all. As soon as you click the ok button, the photo or image will be opened in the Windows Photo Viewer.
As good as this handy trick is, there is no guarantee that it will work forever. After all, Microsoft can completely remove all the Photo Viewer components making it almost impossible to enable it back. So, enjoy it while it is still possible.
If you want to remove or disable the Photo Viewer application, execute the “deactivate-photo-viewer.reg” file in the ZIP file.
I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.