By default, when I double-click an image in Windows, Windows Photo Viewer opens the image! This is fine, but I’d rather open it with another photo viewer like Photoshop, GIMP, etc.
Adjust Default Programs
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.
Adjust via Open With
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, for example, you can open JPG images using Photoshop and GIF images using a photo viewer.
Windows 8, 10 Default Programs
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 adjust the settings for it.
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.
In 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 window.
Here you will see the two options 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 Choose defaults for this program to select specific file types.
In the example above, Internet Explorer is configured to open GIF images, while 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.
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 type of file.
When you click Change Program, you will be presented with a list of recommended programs and other programs, as well as the option to select a program that is not 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 navigate to this same dialog by right-clicking any file in Explorer, clicking Open With, and then clicking Choose Default Program.
In Windows 8 and Windows 10, things are a little different 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, which is downloaded there, and the second is the app from the Windows Store, which is downloaded as an app.
You can follow the same procedures as for Windows 7, with the only difference that you will see Windows Store apps listed as options as well. As mentioned earlier, you can change other defaults, such as the default media player, to a different program or app of your choice 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 isn’t 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!