[SNAP] Windows 10 Photos Problems

Category: Photography

I have been hearing from many readers who don’t like the Photos app built into Windows 10. It’s the new image file manager in Win 10, and it definitely seems to overreach in many ways. Read on to see are some of the complaints and questions I’ve received, and how to deal with each issue…

“Where Did (Photos) put my Photos?”

One common complaint I've heard from people who moved to Windows 10 is that they can't find their pictures in the brave new world. Your photo files have not moved, but the Photos app hides the “complexities” of folder names and trees by default. The app automatically catalogs every image file it finds in the C:\Users\\Pictures folder on your computer.

If you store photos in other folders, you will have to add those folders to the Pictures folder before the Photos app will catalog them. Open the Photos app, go to Settings and under the Sources section, click Add a folder. Find the folder you want to add, select it, and click Add this folder to Pictures. The new folder will appear as a Source, complete with its original path name.

Note that if you have a Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage account, Photos will probably catalog its image contents too. If you don’t want OneDrive images to appear in Photos, go to Settings and turn off that option.

Problems with Windows 10 Photos app

“Can I get Win 7’s Photo Viewer back?”

This is the most common question I’ve received, by far. If you upgraded from Win 7 or 8.1 to Win 10, the familiar Photo Viewer is still there, hidden as an option. Here is how to make Photo Viewer your default app for viewing images instead of the Photos app:

Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder where your pictures are stored. Right-click on any image file. Move the pointer over “Open With.” Select “Choose Another App” from the dropdown menu. Click the “More apps” option. Select “Photo Viewer” from the list of apps. Click on the “Always use this app to open .___ files” checkbox to leave it checked. Then click OK.

All of those steps associate Photo Viewer with just one type of image file, i.e., JPG, GIF, etc. You will have to repeat those steps each time you encounter a file type that is opened by Photos instead of Photo Viewer. Most people will only have to do this once, for JPG photos. If you deal with GIF or TIFF files, you'll have to handle each one separately.

If you have a computer that came with Win 10 already installed, or if you did a “clean installation” on your existing computer, then you won’t see Photo Viewer anywhere. Microsoft really, really wants you to use Photos, so it omitted from Windows 10 the registry keys that point to the old Photo Viewer. But don’t despair; some kind geek made it pretty easy to fix that.

First, download the Activate Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10.zip file. Click to open the downloaded ZIP file, and then double-click on the .REG file it contains. It will make the necessary modifications to your registry. You may see a few prompts asking you to confirm that you really want to apply the changes. That's OK. Now, Photo Viewer will appear in the list of “Other Apps” that you can choose to associate with an image file type. (You still must go through the steps above.)

“How do I get rid of the Photos app?

Some readers just want the Photos app off their hard drives, period. That’s not easy, but it is pretty straightforward. Open the Start menu, search for “PowerShell,” right-click on the PowerShell shortcut, and select “Run as administrator.” Agree to the prompt, if you get one. That will open the Powershell command line prompt, which is similar to the “cmd” prompt but more versatile. Copy and paste the line below into the Powershell prompt line. After it does its stuff, the Photos app is uninstalled from Windows 10. Close Powershell and you're done.

Get-AppxPackage *photos* | Remove-AppxPackage

“At startup, W10 asks me if I like/dislike a photo. How can I stop that annoyance?”

I think the cause of your annoyance is Windows Spotlight, not the Photos app. Spotlight is a “personalization” feature built into Win 10 that asks if you like or dislike a different photo every time you start Windows 10. Spotlight learns your favorite photos this way, and rotates them on the Lockscreen - the screen that you have to click your way through to get to the login screen where you enter your username and password.

To disable Spotlight, open “All Settings” from the taskbar. Navigate to “Personalization.” Choose “Lockscreen.” Under “Background,” choose anything but “Windows Spotlight.” The “Slideshow” option will display a different photo every time you start up, without asking your opinion of it. The “Picture” option will let you specify a single picture that will always be displayed when you start up.

Do you have other questions about handling photos on Windows 10? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[SNAP] Windows 10 Photos Problems"

Posted by:

13 Apr 2016

Are all the things you've written about in the above post REALLY improvements, Bob?

From what I've read about Windows 10 I'm definitely going to stick with Windows 7 as long as I possibly can. Over many years I have found that developers invariably spoil something that previously worked well when they update/upgrade anything.

Posted by:

Murray White
13 Apr 2016

Frankly, it is totally useless. It is there but I never bother with it. I organize by folders and this app seems to use some dates which to me are of no value. I don't remember when and image is taken but a folder of something is easier. I prefer to use either my freeware Faststone Image Viewer or browse using my On1 10 image editor/browser. The photo app is one thing that W10 really need not have ever created. O/W I rather like W10 unlike what appears to be so many that just don't like change or don't spend time learning how the product works.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2016

Thanks for tip for getting the Windows Photo Viewer on a new Windows10 machine. Really needed that. Thanks Helene

Posted by:

13 Apr 2016

Here's what I wish about Windows:

1) That it sat on top of a real, full-featured OS.

2) That Microsoft would stop setting things up to make Windows "easier" for users. I set up my own folder organization on the C: drive. I have no use for the Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders foisted on me by Microsoft and I hate when files get stored there by default.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ummm, what's missing in Windows that keeps it from being a "real, full-featured" oeprating system?

Posted by:

Jay R
13 Apr 2016

What a great article. If I only had Windows10. But I don't. But I will, doubtful if it will be by choice, in the future. At that time, I will be able to refer to this one and be able to use the old application. (I actually use a totally different one from a camera company.)

Posted by:

Donald R. Miller
13 Apr 2016

I had to go to a win 10 computer when my win 7 died.
My problem is I can not get mp3 or wave files to play when I place a link to one on SeaMonkey that I use for a web page i maintain for my high scool class

Posted by:

14 Apr 2016

Wow, talk about timely! I found the method you mentioned over the weekend but was afraid to use it lest it install malware. Now with your blessing, I can finally get Windows Photo Viewer back.
Thank you!!!


Posted by:

Steve F
14 Apr 2016

You've got me a bit confused on this - I upgraded to Windows 10 and under settings>system>default apps I just selected Windows Photo Viewer rather than Photos (recommended for Windows 10) which seemed to get the job done pretty easily. Went from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and have been pretty happy with the upgrade.

Thanks for the informative articles.

Posted by:

14 Apr 2016

Almost every new release of WinOS (going all the way back to Win95) has always experimented with new attempts for users to readily retrieve their data (documents/images/audio/video/etc.) But each WinOS release has changed the behavior and usage of these 'virtual folders'. I have never relied on these MyDocuments/MyMusic/MyPictures/MyOhMy folders, although FileExplorer insists on locating these folders above physical drives and physical folders.
I also never had a hankering for OS indexing (aka cataloging) drives/folders/files/data.
I do my own indexing of my own folders and data by first locating them on another drive. More importantly, I use a FileNamingConvention that is my own version of DeweyDecimalSystem, For example, my own personal photos are immediately renamed (after they are transferred to the HDD), instead of retaining default assigned names like IMG0008.jpg. I also create folder names that assist in sorting and easy data/file retrieval.

Shout-Out goes to IrfanView.com (FREEware at 32bit or 64bit) for making life easier for managing and handling photos and images since 1996.
NOTE: Changing file associations from default Win10 programs need to be handled using administrative privileges (UAC).

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
14 Apr 2016

Excellent article, Bob! When you present problems, you present solutions! That's one of the things we readers like about your reports.


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