The Windows systems don’t give support for RAW file format by default, so you need a tool if you want to open/view RAW image on your PC. In the following content, I’ll show you the exact steps to open a RAW image. I advise you to go to the home page for getting the data recovery software and backup software to enhance data security.

What Is RAW Image

To be specific, the RAW image refers to a type of uncompressed image file format (like the digital negative). RAW files are actually comparable to the negatives, which are the images captured by photographers with film cameras but they can’t be used directly.

The RAW file is not processed, so it can’t be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor. Therefore, you need to process the RAW image into a viewable format so as to see it on your laptop or desktop. The question is how to open RAW image.

Raw Image Extension

Fortunately, Microsoft released a free codec pack to help view RAW files in Windows 7/8. What’s more, there’s a built-in support for the codecs in Camera Codec Pack in Windows 10; it allows you to view RAW image without installing a codec manually.

However, you may find some proprietary camera formats are not supported. That’s why you need the new Raw Image Extension, which is available in Microsoft Store now as a RAW file viewer to give support to RAW format on Windows 10.

Raw Image Extension

With the help of Raw Image Extension, you are able to view native images captured in RAW file formats by the digital cameras (mid to high end). Common RAW formats: CRW, CR2, RAF, SRF, RW2, and so on.

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How to Open RAW Image Windows

How to Download Raw Image Extension

  1. Go to the official website of Microsoft Store.
  2. Click on the search icon at the top-right corner.
  3. Type Raw Image Extension into the search box and press Enter.
  4. Select the app from the search result.
  5. Click on the Get button.
  6. Click Open Microsoft Store.
  7. Click Get again in the Store and hit Install.
  8. Wait for the downloading to finish.

Open Microsoft Store

Attention please: you can only install the viewer on Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version number 1903) or later versions.

How to Open RAW Files on Windows

After downloading Raw Image Extension, you should install this RAW photo viewer properly. Then, you should set Photos to open RAW images by default. In this way, you can view the thumbnails and previews of RAW files directly in the File Explorer.

Please note that if you find the Windows Explorer has stopped working or not responding, you should fix it immediately by reading this:

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Full Guide to Windows Explorer Needs to Be Restarted

How to fix Windows Explorer needs to be restarted problem? This post tells you several methods to solve it.

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How to open RAW files:

  1. Open the Windows 10 start menu.
  2. Click on the Settings icon (look like a gear).
  3. Select Apps (Uninstall, defaults, optional features) from the Settings window.
  4. Choose Default apps from the left-side pane.
  5. Scroll down to click Choose default apps by file type link option on the right side.
  6. Wait a moment for the file types list to show since it’s very long (they will be arranged according to alphabet order).
  7. Find the certain file format.
  8. Click on the app icon next to it.
  9. Choose the Windows Photos app as the default program.
  10. Restart File Explorer or reboot your PC to make changes take effect.

Choose default apps by file type

You can also change the default program by following steps:

  1. Right click on the certain file in Windows Explorer.
  2. Select Open with from the context menu.
  3. Select Choose another app from the submenu.
  4. Select the app you want to use to open RAW image.
  5. Check Always use this app to open * files (* stands for the file type).
  6. Click OK to confirm.

There’s also another choice to view RAW image on your Windows system: download and install a third-party application like Photoshop.

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