How to Enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11

Love using the good old Windows Photo Viewer? Here is how to enable or restore Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11 in simple steps.

Windows Photo Viewer has been the default photo viewer for a long time in Windows. Every time you open an image in Windows, it is opened automatically in Windows Photo Viewer unless you use another photo viewing application. Since Windows 10, Microsoft removed and replaced Windows Photo Viewer with a new image viewer called Photos app. Compared to the old application, the Photos app is pretty polished and has many more features. For example, you can link your OneDrive account, create albums, tag people’s photos, edit videos, and much more.

In Windows 11, Microsoft further improved the built-in Photos app. The functionality remained the same, but the user interface is better and more consistent with the new Windows 11 design language.

Though the new Photos app is pretty good, there are still some performance issues. In fact, compared to the good old Windows Photo Viewer, it is relatively slow and lacks a few essential features. Besides all that, the new Photos app might simply not be your cup of tea/coffee.

Thankfully, the old Windows Photo Viewer is still available in Windows 11. With just a few registry changes, you can enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11. Alternatively, you can also use a free third-party app that does the same thing without you having to mess with the registry manually.

So, without much delay, let me show you how to get back or enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11 in simple and easy steps.

Table of contents:

Enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11

To get back the Windows Photo Viewer, you need to make a few registry changes. Since there are quite a few registry changes you need to make, I created a simple “.reg” file that lets you do everything with just a few clicks. Let me show you how to do it.

Interesting note: You can open any “.reg” file in Notepad to see what’s in it. That way, you will know what changes are being made to the registry.

First, download this file. It is a zip file with registry export files. After downloading, open the zip file. In Windows 11, you can open the zip file directly in File Explorer. You don’t need a third-party app.

After opening the zip file, double-click on the “photoviewer.reg” file.

This action will execute the file. You might see a UAC prompt. Click “Yes” to continue. When asked if you like to merge the new reg file with the registry, click the “Yes” button to continue.

enable Windows photo viewer in Windows 11 from registry

After that, close all applications and reboot the computer.

After rebooting, right-click on any image, choose “Open with > Choose another app,” and then select “Windows Photo Viewer” from the list. Sometimes you might have to click the “more apps” link to see the “Windows Photo Viewer” option.

Use Winaero Tweaker to enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11

If you don’t want to mess with the registry manually, you can use a free application called Winaero Tweaker. Let me show you how.

First, head over to the official download page and download Winaero Tweaker. After downloading, open the zip file and double-click on the exe file. Follow the installer to install the application.

Download link: https://winaero.com/winaero-tweaker/

install winaero in Windows 11

After installing, launch it from the Start menu. It might show a license agreement. Read it carefully and click “I Agree” to continue.

Click on “Activate Windows Photo Viewer” on the sidebar under the “Get Classic Apps” section. Next, click on the “Activate Windows Photo Viewer” option.

enable Windows photo viewer using winaero

As soon as you do that, the application might prompt UAC. Click “Yes” to continue. Once done, Winaero Tweaker will make necessary registry changes to enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11.

To start using it, right-click on any image, choose “Open with > Choose another app,” and then select “Windows Photo Viewer” from the list. Sometimes you might have to click the “more apps” link to see the “Windows Photo Viewer” option.

That is all. It is that simple to enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 11.

I hope this simple and easy Windows 11 how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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