Can’t Open Photos in Windows 11? Try these fixes

Many users have reported that they are not able to view photos or videos in the latest iteration of the Windows operating system. As it turns out, upon trying to open a photo or a video, the blue circle appears with the circle which means the processor is processing the request made. However, the picture does not open at all and nothing happens no matter how long the users wait. This can be usually correlated with something wrong with the Windows Photos app that is supposed to open your pictures on the operating system. In this article, we will show you how to resolve this problem via a few different methods so just follow through.

Microsoft Photos

As it turns out, Windows 11 is a relatively new operating system that comes with different features that might have you excited. Most of the Windows apps have received a visual overhaul just like the Windows Photos app. In some cases, while upgrading to the operating system, the process may damage some of the default apps that come pre-installed due to which you can run into various issues. In addition to that, the problem in question can also be sometimes caused by corrupted system files due to which the Windows Photos app fails to open up and you are not able to view any photos or videos. Regardless of the cause, however, you can easily resolve the problem by scanning your system files or repairing the application in question. With that said, let us get started without further ado and show you how to fix the issue in question.

Change Default Application

The first thing that you should do when the operating system is not opening any photos is to check the default application for opening images. As it turns out, Windows uses a default application for different file types that are used to open the files whenever you wish to open them. If a default application is not selected, you will be asked to choose a default application. However, that is something that can easily miss your eye as it is not a separate window and goes away the moment you click somewhere else.

If this case is applicable, you will have to first check the default application for opening photos on your computer to make sure that Windows Photos is selected. To do this, follow the instructions below:

  1. First of all, press the Windows key + I on your keyboard to open the Windows Settings window.
  2. On the Settings window, click the Apps option on the left-hand side.
    Windows Settings
  3. There, click on the Default apps option provided.
    Apps Settings
  4. Now, from the list of the applications given, search for the Photos app via the search bar. Then, click on it.
  5. On the next page, you will be shown what file types are opened with the Photos app.
    Searching for Photos
  6. Look for the extension of the image that you are trying to open and make sure Photos is selected.
  7. If it isn’t, click the Choose a default option and then select the Photos app.
    Microsoft Photos Default File Types
  8. Once you have done that, see if the problem persists.

Run SFC Scan

As it turns out, one of the reasons that you are not able to open up photos or videos on your computer could be due to system corruption. If you have corrupted system files, then it is only natural that the operating system won’t work as intended. As such, you will have to repair the damaged files on your computer.

If this case is applicable, you can repair the damaged files by running an SFC scan on your system. SFC or System File Checker is a built-in Windows utility that compares your files with a compressed version to see if there are any corruptions. In case any damage is found, the utility fixes it for you. To do this, follow the instructions given down below:

  1. To start, open an elevated command prompt window. To do that, search for cmd in the Start Menu and then right-click on it. From the drop-down menu, click the Run as administrator option.
    Opening up Command Prompt as an Admin
  2. Once the command prompt window is open, type in the following command to start the scan:
    sfc /scannow
    Running SFC Scan
  3. After the scan has been completed, run the following command to repair any corruption in the image:
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    Restoring Image Health
  4. Once that is done as well, try to open up a photo again to see if that resolves the issue.

Reset Photos App

In some cases, the problem that you are facing may be caused due to an issue with the Windows Photos app. Photos is the default application that is used to open any image files on your computer. Therefore, if the app is running into an issue, it won’t be able to work properly.

In such a scenario, to resolve the issue, you can try to reset the app which will delete all of its data on your computer. This does not mean that any of your images will be deleted so rest assured. Follow the instructions down below to do this:

  1. First of all, open the Windows Settings app by pressing Windows key + I.
  2. Then, on the left-hand side, click on the Apps option.
    Windows Settings
  3. After that, on the Apps screen, click on the Apps and features option.
    Apps Settings
  4. There, search for the Photos app via the search bar provided.
    Searching for Microsoft Photos
  5. Next to the Microsoft Photos application, click on the three dots and choose Advanced options from the drop-down menu.
    Opening up Microsoft Photos Advanced Options
  6. Once you have done that, click on the Reset option to reset the application.
    Microsoft Photos Advanced Options
  7. After that is done, try opening an image to see if the issue persists.
  8. In case it does, click on the Repair button to let Windows repair the application.
  9. Once done, see if the problem has been resolved.

Reinstall Photos App

Finally, if none of the methods have worked for you then it is very likely that the problem is being caused by the installation files of the app. In such a scenario, what you can do is simply uninstall the application from your computer and then reinstall it using the Microsoft Store.

To uninstall the application, you will have to use Powershell to uninstall the application as the option for uninstalling Photos is greyed out in the Settings app. To do this, follow the instructions down below:

  1. First of all, open up the Start Menu and search for Powershell. Right-click on the result and choose Run as an administrator from the drop-down menu.
    Opening Powershell as an Admin
  2. Then, in the Powershell window, copy and paste the following command to uninstall the Photos app:
    get-appxpackage *Microsoft.Windows.Photos* | remove-appxpackage
  3. Once you have done that, open up the Microsoft Store app by searching for it in the Start Menu.
    Opening up Microsoft Store
  4. Search for Microsoft Photos and then install it.
  5. After that, try opening an image to see if the issue is still there.

Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.