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Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture

Windows users will certainly be familiar with the Windows Photo Viewer, which is used frequently for viewing image files directly in Windows operating systems. However, the problem we’d like to talk about is – Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture. What you should do when Windows Photo Viewer is not working? Can you fix the problem yourself?

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Error Message: Windows Photo Viewer Can't Open This Picture

There are a lot of people complaining that the Windows photos won't open; they don’t know how to troubleshoot.

Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture

Before talking about Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture, I’d like to introduce Windows Photo Viewer (WPV) in brief.

You can find backup software or recovery program for pictures on the home page.

What Is Windows Photo Viewer

As you can see from the app name, Windows Photo Viewer is a photo viewer in common Windows operating systems. Development history of Windows Photo Viewer can be divided into the following stages roughly:

Tip: The Windows Photo Viewer app was the successor of Imaging for Windows.

What can Windows Photo Viewer do?

  • Reorient all the items in 90° increments.
  • Send photos to friends or families via emails.
  • Show individual photos/pictures/images separately.
  • Display all images saved in a folder as a slide show.
  • Print pictures out directly or through online print services.
  • Burn the images to a disc to save them.
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Windows 10 Photo Viewer not working?

I found various people saying their Windows 10 can't open photos and they need help. They try to open an image file (JPG, PNG, CR2, NEF, etc.), but a prompt window shows up to say that Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture. The corresponding reason for causing such a problem will be given after that in general.

Case 1: file is deleted or location is not available.

The specific error message is: Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture because either the picture is deleted, or it’s in a location that isn’t available.

Easy fixes:

Case 2: not enough memory available.

The specific error message is: Windows Photo Viewer can't display this picture because there might not be enough memory available on your computer. Close some programs that you aren’t using or free some hard disk space (if it’s almost full), and then try again.

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Case 3: incorrect permissions.

The specific error message is: Windows photo viewer can't open this picture because you don't have the correct permissions to access the file location.

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Case 4: unsupported file format or outdated Photo Viewer.

The specific error message is: Windows Photo Viewer can’t open this picture because either Photo Viewer doesn’t support this file format or you don’t have the latest updates to Photo Viewer.

doesn’t support this file format

Case 5: file damaged/corrupted/too large.

The specific error message is: Windows Photo Viewer can’t open this picture because the file appears to be damaged, corrupted, or is too large.

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Enable Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10

As mentioned in the beginning, the Windows Photo Viewer is replaced by Photos app in Windows 10. Some users are wondering whether they can still bring it back and set it as the default photo viewer on a Windows 10 computer. Though Windows Photo Viewer is not included in Windows 10 by default, you can still use it as your default viewer by following the steps mentioned below.

How to enable Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10 Registry?

Please backup your Registry in advance because it is dangerous if you made a mistake while editing it.

  1. Create a new Notepad file; keep it opening.
  2. Copy the code from this post by Edwin over at TenForums into the Notepad file.
  3. Select File from the menu bar and then choose Save As.
  4. Save it as a .reg file. Give it a name you can remember.
  5. Click on the Save button.
  6. Double click on the REG file you’ve just created.
  7. Click Yes in the User Account Control window.
  8. Click Yes again in the Registry Edition window to confirm your action.

REG file


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If you'd like to set Windows Photo Viewer as the default image viewing app, please follow this tutorial:

  1. Right click on an image file.
  2. Navigate to Open with.
  3. Select Choose another app.
  4. Choose Windows Photo Viewer in the How do you want to open this file window.
  5. Check Always use this app to open * files option at the bottom.

Why Windows Photo Viewer Can't Open Your Picture

Check File Format

Before you start to do anything to troubleshoot system corruption or software conflicts, you should go to check the format of the file you want to open and see whether it is supported by Windows Photo Viewer.

Step 1: figure out the supported file formats.

WPV is an old application, so it only gives support to few file formats, including .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .wdp, and .dib.

Step 2: check the format of the target photo.

Open File Explorer -> navigate to the drive/folder that keeps your photo -> right click on the photo -> choose Properties from the context menu -> look for the Type of file section under General tab.

Type of file

You have mainly 2 choices if the file format is not supported by Windows Photo Viewer.

  • Use another program (such as Adobe Photoshop) to open the file.
  • Convert the file to another format that’s supported by WPV.

Step 3: then, you should check whether the target image file is corrupted or not. Please try to recover the picture if it's deleted mistakenly or lost suddenly.

Image formats that are supported by Photo Viewer: PNG, JPEG, JPEG XR (formerly HD Photo), BMP, GIF, ICO, and TIFF.

In summary, the Windows Photo Viewer can’t open this picture error can be caused by the following reasons.

  • Windows Photo Viewer is outdated and should be updated to the latest version.
  • The file format of images/photos/pictures is not supported by the Photo Viewer.
  • The file size of images/photos/pictures is too large; the image file is damaged or corrupted somehow.
  • The image file is encrypted.
  • There’s software conflict found on your system.
  • Some system files are corrupted or missing.

Can't Open Pictures Windows 10: How to Fix

I know it’s a terrible experience to see a prompt window saying you can’t open the photo while you’re expecting a preview. So I think it’s necessary to share the following methods with you to help you fix Windows Photo Viewer not working. But before that, let's first take a look at picture recovery on Windows 10.

How to Recover Photos/Pictures/Images with MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Free Download

  1. Get the installer of MiniTool Power Data Recovery and run it to finish the installation.
  2. Double click on the icon to launch the software and wait a few seconds for the disk information loading process.
  3. The Logical Drives tab will be selected by default; it is used to scan & recover files from local drives.
  4. Specify the drive that contains the photos/pictures/images you need. Double click on it or select it & click Scan.
  5. Wait for the scan process. You should expand the partitions and folders in the list to find out the exact files you want to recover.
  6. Add a checkmark to the box in front of found files and click Save.
  7. Choose a local drive/external disk as the destination location. Please make sure the free space left in the target location is enough for storing the recovered files.
  8. Click OK at the bottom of Select a directory to save files window to confirm your selection.
  9. Wait for the recovery process to accomplish.
  10. Click OK in the pop-up window that tells you the recovery is finished and the selected files have been saved to the appointed place.


Please note:

  • You should click OK in the Information window that shows up at the end of the full scan. (It tells you the software has found many partitions from the device, but only list sone of them; you can click Show More Partitions link to load other possible partitions not included in the list.)
  • You should shift to Devices in step 3 if you want to recover photos from SD card or other external storage devices.

Show More Partitions

Fix 1: Update Windows Photo Viewer

How to start Photo Viewer update:

  1. Click on the Start button in the lower left corner of the PC screen to see the Start menu.
  2. Choose Settings (look like a gear) from the left sidebar.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom to select Update & Security.
  4. Windows Update will be checked by default in the left pane. (If not, please click it.)
  5. Click on the Check for updates button in the right pane.
  6. Add a checkmark into the box next to the Photo Viewer.
  7. Click Install Updates and wait for the process to complete.
  8. Select Restart in the prompt window appeared at the end of the update or click to restart your system manually.

Check for updates

If no update for Windows Photo Viewer is found, please move on to the next method.

Fix 2: Uninstall and Reinstall Android/iOS Backup Suite

Some people found their Windows Photo Viewer not working after they have finished updating the phone backup suite on the computer. They can’t open images in Photo Viewer as soon as the update was applied. In this case, I advise them to uninstall the phone software suite completely and then reinstall it if necessary.

  1. Press Windows + I to open the Settings window.
  2. Choose Apps from the main window.
  3. Apps & features will be checked by default.
  4. Now, scroll down in the right pane to find an item related to your phone’s manufacturer.
  5. Select the item and you’ll see an Uninstall button appeared. Click it. (You can take a look at the information in Publisher column to confirm that this is the correct suite.)
  6. Restart your computer and try to view the photo in Windows Photo Viewer.
  7. Reinstall the suite if it's necessary.


You can type appwiz.cpl into the Run dialog box to open Programs and Features window directly.


Please use MiniTool Mobile Recovery if you'd like to recover data from iOS/Android devices.

Fix 3: Reset Photos App

  1. Repeat step 1 to step 3 mentioned in method 3.
  2. Scroll down under Apps & features to find Photos.
  3. Select it and click Advanced options.
  4. Click on the Reset button and wait for it to complete.


If a reset doesn’t work, you may as well use the PowerShell to reinstall Photos app.

  1. Press Windows + S to open Windows search.
  2. Type powershell into the textbox.
  3. Right click on Windows PowerShell from the search result.
  4. Choose Run as administrator from the context menu.
  5. Type get-appxpackage *Microsoft.Windows.Photos* | remove-appxpackage and press Enter on the keyboard.
  6. Wait for the command to complete.
  7. Go to Windows Store to download Photos app again.

Remove Photos app

Fix 4: Remove Encryption from the File

  1. Open File Explorer on your system.
  2. Open target drive and folder to navigate to the photo which can’t be viewed by Photo Viewer.
  3. Right click on the target photo and choose Properties from the context menu.
  4. Click on the Advanced button under the General tab.
  5. Look for the Encrypt contents to secure data option under the Compress or Encrypt attributes section.
  6. Click on the OK button at the bottom.

Encrypt contents to secure data

How to fix when File Explorer is not responding/has stopped working?

Fix 5: Run Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter

  1. Open Settings in the way you like.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and select Update & Security.
  3. Choose Troubleshoot in the left sidebar.
  4. Look for the Find and fix other problems section in the right pane.
  5. Select Windows Store Apps under it.
  6. Click on the Run the troubleshooter button appeared just now.
  7. Wait for the process to finish and do what Windows suggests you do.

Run the troubleshooter

Fix 6: Perform a System File Checker Scan

  1. Open Windows search and type cmd.
  2. Right click on Command Prompt from the result and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Type sfc /scannow into the elevated Command Prompt window and hit Enter.
  4. Wait for the command to finish itself (it will scan all protected system files and repair if any corrupted ones are found).
Tip: DISM is a command-line tool built-in every Windows system to scan and repair some problems. Click here to know how to fix it when DISM not working.

Fix 7: Disable Inheritance

  1. Repeat step 1 to step 3 of method 5.
  2. Shift to the Security tab.
  3. Click on the Advanced button.
  4. Select any of the Permission Entries and then click Disable inheritance at the bottom left.
  5. Choose Convert inherited permissions into explicit permissions on this object.
  6. Click Apply and then OK.

Convert inherited permissions

If the above methods failed, you can also try to settle down Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture by following ways:

  • Check your antivirus.
  • Enable thumbnail preview.
  • Create and use a new user account.
  • Change Color Management settings.

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Windows Photo Viewer Can’t Open JPG

Make The Most Of System Restore In Windows 10: Ultimate Guide.

Final Words

To be honest, the Windows Photo Viewer can’t open this picture error is not new. A lot of users said they have has such experience before. Though there are various reasons for causing Windows Photo Viewer not working, it’s possible and not that difficult to solve the problem (such as update Windows Photo Viewer), without professionals’ help.

If you are one of the victims of this error, please read the methods and steps carefully to fix it yourself.

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