[Solved] How to Fix “We can’t open this file” Error in Windows 10 Photos App

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

"We can’t open this file" Error in Windows 10 Photos App
“We can’t open this file” Error in Windows 10 Photos App

Content Summary

Solution 1: Move photo to the local drive
Solution 2: Repair and Reset the Photos app
Solution 3: Manually reinstall the Photos app using PowerShell
Solution 4: Enable the classic Windows Photo Viewer

Solution 1: Move photo to the local drive

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

Microsoft Photos Advanced options link.
Microsoft Photos 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 Photos app.

Repair and Reset button for Photos App
Repair and Reset button for Photos App

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

Step 1: Re-register Photos app with 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 Photos app, proceed to the next step to re-install Photos app.

Step 2: At the elevated PowerShell window, execute the following command to uninstall the Photos app: Get-AppxPackage *photo* | Remove-AppxPackage

Manually reinstall the Photos app using Windows PowerShell
Manually reinstall the Photos app using Windows PowerShell

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 below steps to enable classic Windows Photo Viewer and set it as the default photo viewer program.

Step 1: Copy and paste below code into notepad then save it as .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 Merge option.

Step 3: Click the OK button.

Method 1: using 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 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.

Choose an app box
Choose an app box

Method 2: using 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.