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How to Change Default Picture Viewer in Windows

By default, when I double-click an image in Windows, Windows Photo Viewer opens the image! It’s nice, but I’d rather open it in another photo viewer like Photoshop, GIMP, etc.

If this problem annoys you too, there is an easy way to change the default photo viewer in Windows to the app of your choice! There are actually two ways to do this.

Alternatively, you can customize it so that one type of image opens in one application and another type of image opens in another program. So you can open JPG images with Photoshop, and GIF images with Photo Viewer, for example.

Please note that in addition to changing the default image viewer, you can follow the same steps below to change the default media player, default web browser, etc. For example, for the default media player, you must select your media player from list i.e. VLC Media Player and then configure the settings for it.

Set default programs

If you are still using Windows XP, be sure to read my separate post on changing the default program to open a file as the XP procedure is different.

On Windows 7 and later, you can change the types of files that a program opens, or you can change the program used when a particular file type is opened. Click Control Panel, and then click Default Programs under the icon bar.

Here you will see two options that I mentioned above: set default programs and associate a file type or protocol with a program.

If you click on the first link, you will see a list of the various programs installed on your computer. Select a program and Windows will tell you how many defaults are open for that program.

Then you can click Set this program as default to open all file types by default, or you can click Select defaults for this program to select specific file types.

In the example above, Internet Explorer is configured to open GIF images, and Microsoft Office 2010 is configured to open JPG files. All other formats are opened with Windows Photo Viewer. If you want to use another program to open your images, for example, select that program from the list and then select Set this program as default.

Set via Open With

By going back and clicking “Configure file type or protocol with a program”, you can view hundreds of file types stored on your computer, and then change the default program to open that file type.

When you click Change Program, you get a list of recommended programs and other programs, as well as the option to select a program that is not currently on the list.

The advantage of this method over the first option is that here you can choose any program you like to open the file. In the first method, only programs registered in Windows will be displayed in this list, and it is impossible to manually add the missing program.

You can also access this same dialog by right-clicking any file in Explorer, choosing Open With, and then Selecting Default Program.

Windows 8, 10 default programs

Things are a little different in Windows 8 and Windows 10 because you now have desktop and Windows Store apps. By default, all Windows 8/10 computers have Windows Photo Viewer and the Photos app installed. The first is the desktop app that will download there, and the second is the Windows Store app that will download as an app.

You can follow the same procedures as for Windows 7, with the only difference that Windows Store apps will also be listed as parameters. As mentioned earlier, you can change other defaults, such as the default media player, to another program or application of your choice, rather than the Videos or Movies & TV app in Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Hopefully you can now double-click the image and expect the program you want to open. You really have to be careful when changing these settings, because there is no way to simply reset all programs to their defaults to their original values. I’m not sure why this option is not there, because it should be, but it just isn’t there.

The only real way to reset programs to default is to either load a registry file that will manually change each value, or create a new user profile. These settings are saved for each user, so creating a new user account will start from scratch. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave comments. Enjoy!

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