How to Fix: Windows Photo Viewer Missing after Creators Edition Update

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Giselle' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Recently my Windows 10 computer upgraded to the 'Creators Edition', and now the Windows 10 'Photos' app has magically replaced the 'Windows Photo Viewer'. I absolutely can't stand the 'Photos' app and I want Windows Photo Viewer back on my system! I have tried going to Control Panel -> Default Programs to change the settings but Windows Photo Viewer is nowhere to be found! Can you help? "

My response:

I also noticed that the Windows Photo Viewer went missing with the Creators Edition update. Windows Photo Viewer has been a staple in Microsoft Windows since the Windows XP days and I've become very accustomed to using it. When this happened, I started using Irfanview (free) as a replacement. However, when you emailed me this question I did a bit of research and found a way to get Windows Photo Viewer back.

Why was Windows Photo Viewer replaced by "Photos"?

Before I get into that, you may wonder why Windows Photos Viewer went missing in the first place; the answer has to do with smartphones. When smartphones overtook PC sales (back in 2011), Microsoft knew its golden goose was cooked (the PC), and thus started making its operating system "mobile" beginning with Windows 8.

Flash forward to Windows 10 and the push for mobile is even stronger, with many "apps" replacing traditional programs that have been part of Windows for decades. Technically speaking, an app is still a program, but in today's tech jargon, app means "mobile program" - one that runs on a mobile platform such as a tablet or smartphone.

The reason why apps are replacing programs is simply because more people are buying smartphones than PCs - and I don't expect that trend to stop any time soon. Smartphones, even in the third world are much cheaper than purchasing a computer, are mobile, and can do what most people need (email and web surfing). Windows 8 and Windows 10 essentially bridge the gap between PC and mobile by bringing the two platforms together - hence you have a mix of "apps" and "programs".

How to Fix: Windows Photo Viewer Missing after Creators Edition Update

As for your question, it is possible to get the Windows Photo Viewer back, and it has to do with downloading a file to reset some settings in the Windows Registry. I can't take credit for the fix (full credit to Ramesh Srinivasan @ WinHelpOnline) - however, I can tell you that I did test it on Windows 10 Creators Edition, and it works fine.

Here's how to get Windows 10 Photo Viewer back:

  1. Download the Windows Photo Viewer fix to your download folder. It is contained in a .ZIP file:
  2. Open your download folder when the download finishes. Right click the file and select "Extract all". This will create a folder called "w10-wpv-restore" - double click it to open it.
  3. Inside the "w10-wpv-restore" folder is a registry file with the same name; double click it to execute. Windows will warn you that "Adding information and unintentionally change or delete values and cause components to stop working correctly ... Are you sure you want to continue?" - click "Yes".
  4. You will likely see an error message stating "Cannot import path/to/w10-wpv-restore.reg: Not all data was successfully written to the Registry." This warning message is fine - click "OK" to continue.
  5. Next, click Start, then go to Control Panel -> Default Programs. Scroll down to "Windows Photo Viewer" on the left and select it, then click on "Set this program as default" on the right. Windows Photo Viewer by default will open the following file types: bmp, dib, gif, jfif, jpe, jpeg, jpg, png, tif, tiff, and wdp.
  6. Go to your where your pictures are stored on the computer and double click to open a picture; it should open with Windows Photo Viewer. If it does not, right click the picture file and select "Open with", then "Choose another app", and then select "Windows Photo Viewer".

I hope that helps.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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srosborn's picture

Quit using Microsoft apps and switch to Irfanview. I've never found a picture file (also many video and sound files) it cannot view. Simple editing is available. It is far more useful and flexible than the Microsoft alternatives. And it is FREE!

Dennis Faas's picture

That's a good suggestion but not everyone wants to use Irfanview, hence the reason for writing this article. Some people like the simplicity of Windows Photo Viewer (myself included). It's been part of Windows since Windows XP and when you have millions of people that are used to using a certain program - well, you can imagine that this question is asked quite a bit.