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Solved: How to fix the “We can’t open this file” error in Windows 10 Photos app

When you try to open an image file with the Photos app in Windows 10, it might not open the file but display a “We can’t open this file” error message. Perform the below steps to resolve this error.

Solved: How do I fix "We can't open this file" error in Windows 10 Photos app

Solution 1: Move photo to the local drive

“We can’t open this file” error will show if those image files that you try to open using the Photos app are located in the network shared drive or external driver such as a memory card inside a camera or smartphone. Copy or move all the image files to a local drive then open it again using the Photos app.

Solution 2: Repair and Reset the Photos app

Step 1: Go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features.

Step 2: Locate Microsoft Photos then click on the Advanced options link.

Locate Microsoft Photos then click on the Advanced options link.

Step 3: Click the Repair button to repair the Photos app. If the issue remains after the repair, proceed to the next step to reset the Photos app.

Step 4: Click on the Reset button to reinstall the Photos app.

Click on the Reset button to reinstall the Photos app.

Solution 3: Manually Re-register and reinstall the Photos app using Windows PowerShell

Step 1: Re-register the Photos app with the following command in administrative Windows PowerShell:

Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.Windows.Photos | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

If the problem remains after re-register the Photos app, proceed to the next step to re-install the Photos app.

Step 2: At the elevated PowerShell window, execute the following command to uninstall the Photos app:

Get-AppxPackage *photo* | Remove-AppxPackage

At the elevated PowerShell window, execute the following command to uninstall the Photos app: Get-AppxPackage *photo* | Remove-AppxPackage

Step 3: Start the Windows 10 Store app and search for Microsoft Photos to install it.

Solution 4: Enable classic Windows Photo Viewer and set it as a default photo viewer

Classic Windows Photo Viewer is disabled by default in Windows 10. Perform the below steps to enable classic Windows Photo Viewer and set it as the default photo viewer program.

Step 1: Copy and paste the below code into notepad then save it as a .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.jpg]
@="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.jpeg]
@="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.gif]
@="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.png]
@="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.bmp]
@="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.tiff]
@="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.ico]
@="PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Tiff"

Step 2: Double-click on the registry key file and then click the Yes button when you see the following confirmation dialog to merge it. Alternatively, you can right-click on it, and then click the Merge option.

Step 3: Click the OK button.

Method 1: Use the Settings app

Step 1: Open Settings app > System (display, notifications, apps, power) > Default apps on the left pane.

Step 2: On the right pane, scroll down to locate the Photo viewer section. Click on the default Photos viewer app to show Choose an app box, and then click Windows Photo Viewer to make it default.

On the right pane, scroll down to locate the Photo viewer section. Click on the default Photos viewer app to show Choose an app box, and then click Windows Photo Viewer to make it default.

Method 2: Use classic Default Programs

Step 1: Open the classic Control Panel.

Step 2: Click Default Programs > Set your default programs.

Step 3: Click on Windows Photo Viewer on the left pane.

Step 4: Click Set this program as default on the right pane.

Step 5: Click Choose defaults for this program, check the Select All checkbox in the resulting window, and then click the Save button.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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