The Best Alternatives to the Windows 10 Photos app

The Windows 10 Photos app that replaced the old Windows Photo Viewer looks cool but is slow, complicated and a little unstable. Well at least in my experience. Viewing images is about as simple as an app can be yet this current version just doesn’t get it right. Images are slow to load, the app crashes a lot and just doesn’t seem fit for purpose. So what are some good alternatives to the Windows 10 Photos app?

The Best Alternatives to the Windows 10 Photos app

Images are a big part of our lives now everyone has Snapchat and a camera phone. Where better to store them than on your computer? That’s not much use if you can’t access those images easily when you want to use one or just browse. That’s what the Windows 10 Photos app is supposed to do but doesn’t.

Fortunately, there are alternatives.

Windows Photo Viewer

While Universal Windows Platform apps have taken over in Windows 10, some old apps are still around. Windows Photo Viewer still forms part of the Windows 10 installation but is hidden from view. You can bring it back if you download a registry tweak from here and install it.

The tweak is from How to Geek and includes registry entries to enable Photo Viewer once more. Download the file, open and run ‘Activate Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10’ and reboot your computer. When you reboot, you should be able to access Windows Photo Viewer again.

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone Image Viewer is a free alternative to the Windows 10 Photos app that does everything well. The download is small, it has an Explorer-like file browser and loads images quickly. It works with most common image file formats, has a full screen mode and is free for home use.

If you forgive the 1980s looking website, the program itself is very polished. It is still updated regularly and does everything you need an image viewer to do.


XnView looks similar to FastStone Image Viewer but is a completely different application. It works the same and is a fast, easy to use image viewer. It’s freeware which is free for home use and supports a massive range of image formats. XnView also supports batch processing which is a neat feature especially useful for bulk renaming.

The UI is simple and has a similar Explorer look and feel about it. It works quickly, loads images fast and has a couple of extra tools such as image capture. All in all, for a free program, it offers a lot.


IrfanView is another alternative to the Windows 10 Photos app. Named after its creator, IrfanView is a tiny download designed to run on almost any device. As well as image viewing, there are some basic editing tools to for cropping, resizing and more. There is also a bunch of plugins available that can expand the features exponentially without slowing the program down.

IrfanView is a great example of what is possible when a clever developer puts their mind to it. The program is modest but powerful and fast. The two things we want from an image viewer. If it also works with most image formats and OCR, all the better!


PhotoQt is another super-simple image viewer that concentrates on doing core features well. It’s a barebones program that work very well indeed. The program is a small install but packs in the features. It is compatible with touchscreens, has basic editing tools such as scaling, cropping, zoom and so on and can upload directly to the cloud.

There is a lot here considering PhotoQt is free and open source. It’s well supported to, being frequently updated to add features or quash bugs.

Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge is a free alternative to the Windows 10 Photos app that tries to introduce you to the world of Adobe apps. I’m not a fan but so many people suggested it when I was canvassing for suggestions that I had to include it. The full version of Adobe Bridge is free and works well if you need all the features.

It includes bulk tools, basic editing, network uploads, PDF printing, integration with other Adobe products and a whole lot more. It is more in-depth than these other image viewers but if you’re already an Adobe fan, Bridge should fit right in.


Nomacs is my final suggestion as an alternative to the Windows 10 Photos app. Again through recommendation than personal experience but once I tried it out, I liked it. It’s free and open source and works on all computers. It’s small, fast and gets the job done with the minimum of fuss.

It is able to work with most image formats, has some editing tools, batch processing, adjustments and a whole lot more. The UI is simple and makes browsing images simple, just what you want from an image viewer.

Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to the Windows 10 Photos app? Tell us below if you do!

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