Are you unable to open photos in Windows Photo Viewer? Don’t worry, we will help you out! The latest Windows devices offer several amazing features to view and share photos from your device with others. But sometimes, you may be unable to view the picture on your device. It can be incredibly frustrating when you encounter issues like the inability to open your cherished moments. 

You may be unable to open pictures on your Windows device for several reasons. Before you dive into photo repair methods, it is important to find the exact cause of the issue. Here, in this article, we will explore common reasons as well as quick fixes to help you resolve the issue. 

Why Can’t Photos Viewers Open Photos on Windows OS?

As mentioned, it is important to identify why you’re experiencing difficulty opening image files on your Windows device. There could be several reasons behind this issue; some common reasons are as follows:

  • File Corruption: Your image file may be corrupted due to issues during downloading, transferring, or saving them on your device.
  • File Extension Error: The photo may have the wrong extension, or the file extension could be hidden or incorrect. Even your image file format might not be supported by your photo viewer software. 
  • Damaged Storage Device: If your photo is stored on a damaged or failing storage device, it may become inaccessible. 
  • Virus or Malware Attack: Malicious software like viruses or malware on your computer could corrupt files, including photos, and make them inaccessible. 

What is the cause for your inaccessible photos, there are always chances to restore and access them. Just go with the photo repair methods mentioned in the next part of the blog to fix your images and enjoy your precious moments once again! 

How do I Fix the “Can’t Open Photos” Error?

Now that you are familiar with the reasons for the “Windows photo viewer can’t display this picture” issue, it’s time to apply proper workarounds to fix it. Follow the below-given methods one by one to fix the issue effectively:

Method 01: Try a Different Photo Viewer

Let’s start with the basic method first. When you find that your photo viewer is unable to display the photos as expected, then there may be a problem with the photo viewer software itself. Before you dive into any other method to open photos in Windows, it’s important to opt for an alternative photo viewer. 

Windows offers several built-in photo viewer tools, such as Paint or Paint 3D, which you can use to open photos. Additionally, you can install a third-party photo viewer app to resolve the issue with ease. Go through the following steps to try a different photo viewer: 

  • Right-click on the photo that you are unable to open. 
  • Now, from the menu that appears, click Open With option.
  • A list of photo viewer programs will then appear on your screen, select any app to view the photo. 

Method 02: Change Image File Format

If you cannot open photos in any other photo viewer application as well, then there may be an issue with the image file itself. Sometimes, your photo might be in a format that is not supportable by Windows photo viewer. You can convert the image into a format that is supported by Windows photo viewer like JPEG, PNG, GIFF, etc. For this:

  • Firstly, locate and click the image that you want to convert.
  • Right-click on your image and select “Open with” > “Paint” from the menu. 
  • Now, when your photo opens in the Paint app, click “File” > “Save as” and then select “JPEG picture” or “PNG picture” from the menu.
  • A new dialogue box then appears on your screen, rename your file and tap the “Save as Type” button. 

Method 03: Reset or Repair Photo Viewer App

There may be problems with your Windows default photo viewer app due to which you will be unable to open photos in Windows 10/11. In such cases, you can reset or repair the photo viewer app on your device. All you have to do is:

  • Press the Windows +I keys to open the Settings app.
  • Go to Apps, and select Apps & Features from the left navigation pane.
  • Scroll down and click on the Microsoft Photos app to expand its options. Tap the “Advanced Options” link.
  • Now, click on the Reset or Repair button as required, from the Reset section. Go through all the on-screen instructions and wait till the app repairs or resets.

Once you are done with the above steps, restart your computer and check if you can view your photos. 

Method 04: Repair Corrupt Images using Photo Repair Software

Instances may occur when all the photo repair methods fail to open your photos in Windows OS. In such cases, you can use photo repair software, which allows you to repair your corrupted or damaged photos in just a few simple clicks. Among several such repair software programs, users find Stellar Repair for Photo quite amazing and simple. This software offers a user-friendly interface by which you can fix images that are corrupted due to errors while downloading, saving, creating, and renaming the files.

Let’s explore how to fix the “Unable to Open Photos” error in Windows using the Stellar Repair for Photo tool:

Step 1: Download and install the Stellar Repair for Photo software on your computer. Launch the software and click the “Add File” button to upload the photos you need to repair. 

Step 2: When the corrupted photos are added, wait till the scanning process is completed and the tool previews the repaired photos.

Step 3: Select all the photos you need to save and click the “Save Repaired Files” button to save selected files at the desired storage location. 

That’s it! You should now be able to open and access photos without any issues using your preferred photo viewer.

Also Read; How to fix grainy photos?

Tips To Prevent Photos Not Opening in Windows 10/11

Now, here are some tips that you can consider to avoid image file not opening issues in Windows 11/10:

  • Avoid manually adding file extensions to your image files while saving or renaming them as the extensions are added automatically.
  • Make sure your device has enough storage space for an uninterrupted transferring process. 
  • Keep your Windows OS and photo viewer app up-to-date for improved compatibility.
  • Create multiple backups of your important photos on an external storage drive or cloud storage, like Google Cloud, Google Drive, etc. 


In this article, we’ve discussed various methods that can help you fix the “Unable to Open Photos in Windows” issue. Remember that the specific solution may vary as per the root cause of the problem. By following these quick photo repair fixes, you can get your precious photos without interruption. Also, make a habit of creating adequate backups of your important photos at a safe and secure storage location.

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