Open Gif images with Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 7

Windows 7 logo By default, Windows 7 and Vista opens any GIF (.gif) images in Internet Explorer. This becomes quite problematic when we want to view many gif images at one time.

How to open/view gif images with Windows Photo Viewer –

Just open properties of any gif image by right clicking on it. Under properties, click Change. In ‘Open with’ window, open Other Programs and select Windows Photo Viewer as default program to open with. Now click Ok and again Ok.

Change Open with settings

That’s it. Now all your gif images will open in Windows default photo viewer.

Update  – Animated GIF Viewer for Windows 7 and Vista


Mayur Agarwal is the founder and editor-in-chief of WebTrickz. As a Technology enthusiast and an Internet addict, he loves sharing useful How To’s and Tips & Tricks. Follow him @mayurjango on Twitter.

57 Responses

  1. VickyBit says:

    this is a simple trick, but the problem is, ANIMATED gifs won’t be animated in the photo viewer. I wonder why they took out that option :/

  2. AzzQim says:

    Yeah that’s simple IF it shows up in recommended. What if ti doesnt?

    • Foezjie says:

      In the config screen, go to something called choose standard program, then you can choose windows photo viewer. Click select wich files this program opens. (Or something like that, I have a dutch w7 installed)
      There you can check the box for GIF’s.

      It should work then 🙂

  3. Joshard says:

    Seriously, this is 2010 and this is the sort of shit I can do in Linux, Mac, Solaris. windows 7? Bah!

  4. cb says:

    What if Windows Photo Viewer isn’t in the program options?

  5. Alice says:

    Click the small arrow beside “Other Programs” in the “Open with” window to expand the selection, Photo Viewer Should show up.

  6. Telimm says:

    Animated .gif files, bitch. Tell how to view.

  7. Asad Aslam says:

    This is one serious problem with windows 7

  8. Operators says:

    Temporary solution you can open gif files by Quick timer player and press Ctrl + L to make a loop . I did that and it worked fine with me although that it is not efficient for now till we find another way to fix this problem.

  9. Windows 7 Photo Viewer really can not animate gif file!

    • Diwan says:

      select the gif image – right click- properties-change- (small right arrow in the right somewhere in the center of the page) search for window media player-ok-ok- then double click the image – it opens in win media player- press- ctrl+t. THATS IT THIS is a solution I found to view gif but it was much simple with win xp.

  10. tom says:

    I hait you Bill…just die finaly a horrible death and take windows with ya to hell…

  11. xiah says:

    and this is the latest installment of windows? bullshit.

    i have 100 gifs and nothing in windows 7 can view them except that f**king ie

  12. xiah says:

    f**k yeah i just downloaded irfanview and it works

    /windows 7 is a bitch

  13. meh says:

    Not that I’m a fanboy of Windows (even though I’ve only used Windows so far), but Microsoft didn’t add .gif compatibility due to copyrights. GIF format is owned by Unisys and Microsoft would violate their copyright if they implement this useful feature. More info here:

    • Mike Rosoft says:

      The page says that the patent had expired several years ago. (And strictly speaking, patent protection is not the same as copyright.)

  14. Noor says:

    i really want gif’s on my DESKTOP 🙁
    anybody knows how can i run Gif’s on my Desktop ???
    by annnnnnnnny waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay????? pls?


    although you cannot zoom this program plays animated gifs fine and you can cycle through all the gifs that are in the folder

  16. gabriele says:

    Every day I found a error in this Windows S.O. … and as I see.. Linux or Mac are the same shit.. I can’t understand why with XP i could animate gif and with a new operative system I can’t.. you say the rights.. yeah the rights to make inacessible for the user to use a dammned overpayed thing!

    • Isaiah says:

      I agree, Be Damned for this theft of what seemed such a small but very useful task. I want my Gif’s to play on the viewer just like xp. and if its rights, its too late, they’ve given them out for years, might as well continue. not like Microsoft
      loses money because they’re users can view Gif on they’re software. pisses me off. give us back the gif viewing options!!!!!!!!

  17. rickyboy says:

    in order to view animated gif in windows photo viewer, you must make you IE as your default web browser. hayz.

  18. vinds says:

    Try putting out the idea to make a codec for WIC to support animated gifs

    I also made this because IE took to long to start up.
    Set This as the default program to view gif images. It is written in GDI+, so you can expect the same level functionality as the onw in win XP. As it was written by me, I can taylor it to suit your needs. Source available on request

  19. Gif says:

    why isnt the gif working still? this is BS!

  20. sireclipse says:

    install irfanview, solved the problem. All my gif file animate perfectly.

    • Jake1702 says:

      No offence, Irfanview sucks. I hate the way it looks. Which is why I hate all others. I want WINDOWS PHOTO VIEWER or a program that looks EXACTLY OR ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE IT. All the ways the others look make me sick.

  21. AllM says:

    ye, still no solution to work Animation gif on desktop background T_T, win7, it was supposed to improve? huh

  22. shu says:

    hello where is the download link ?

  23. sukumar says:

    it superb it works

  24. I just think Microsoft are a sett of W**K*RS !
    There all just geeks with no life or common sence.

  25. dRdoS7 says:


    I found the only way to set “Windows Photo Viewer” to open a gif, if it doesn’t appear in the list initially, is to find and select another program not already on the list. When you do that “Windows Photo Viewer” magically appears, then you can select it. Go figure!


  26. Sanal says:

    open it with “windows media player” instead photo viewer…….

  27. sdkjf says:

    I did that, DIDN’T WORK CUNT.

  28. Dave says:

    If this is just because of patent laws, then MS is a bunch of dogs for expecting US to pay for THEIR patented software (Windows), when they refuse to even pay for something as simple (and universal) as GIF!

    I mean, come on!

    MS? Do you really expect to skate by without paying for GIF patents, then demand we pay for YOUR patents? Really? I mean, at LEAST have GIF support, for crying out loud!

  29. HerpaDerp says:

    “MS? Do you really expect to skate by without paying for GIF patents, then demand we pay for YOUR patents? Really?”

    You did…

  30. Bogz says:

    Hi guyz,

    A guy created a viewer for GIF images, he is named cordano. you can download the gifview.exe in this forum dont forget to say thanks to cordano.

    Just sharing…

  31. BrianR says:

    This “WebTrickz” article assumes that Windows Photo Viewer appears in the “Open with” window, but for many of us, it doesn’t. The solution that commenter “dRdoS7” posted is the best one I’ve found, even after reading through similar threads on other sites. Here’s a more detailed description:

    1. Right-click on a .GIF file, choose “Open with” then “Choose default program….”
    2. Next click the Browse button and locate *any* .EXE executable file (for example, Windows Photo Viewer\ImagingDevices.exe, or search for “type:=.exe” in Windows 7). You may not actually see the .EXE extension, as Windows hides this by default.
    3. Click on the file name from step 2, then click the Open button.
    4. The “Open with” window should now be populated with many more programs; look for and select from among them “Windows Photo Viewer,” ensure the “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” option is ticked, then click the OK button.

  32. ir. khairul says:

    Dear BrianR,

    Thanks a lot for your gif solution

  33. Dr Anonymous says:

    You can still view animated GIF files in Windows 7.

    Here is how:

    – Copy the rundll32 & shimgvw.dll files from an XP installation to a USB flash drive
    – Copy the files from the USB drive to C:\
    – Right-click rundll32/properties/compatibility/Run this program for Vista/Apply

    Copy everything between the _____ below, & save it to a .Reg file

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    @=”C:\\rundll32.exe C:\\shimgvw.dll,ImageView_Fullscreen %1″

    DO NOT copy the lines into the reg file, but only the text between it.
    Right-click the reg key you just made & merge it.

    Right-click a .GIF file & choose OPEN WITH/Choose Default Program/Browse to C:\

    I forget if you have to select rundll32, or if you have to change PROGRAMS box to ALL FILES & then select shimgvw.dll.

    But one of them should work.

    The Vista compatibility is important. It will work with XP compat, but it will prompt you. If you set it for Vista compatibility, it will work as regular image viewer without a prompt.

    Congratulations! You have now imported the XP image viewer to use in Windows 7.

    * You can also use alternative locations for the files, just update the .reg file locations to match, then merge. DO NOT forget to right-click rundll32.exe & set compatibility for Vista if you do change location of it, or it will not work. You MUST use either XP or Vista, but Vista is better.

    When you are specifying locations, it seems that you can use locations such as C:\Windows\XP\x86\rundll32.exe (there is no gaps in the file names).
    C:\Program Files has a gap & doesn’t seem to work.

    Also, be sure you use C:\\ instead of C:\ when using folders. For some reason, it just seems like using C:\ doesn’t work quite as good as using C:\\

    Have fun, enjoy, & I am working on trying to test other things.

    If I have helped you, please state I have been a help by mentioning my name here. Feel free to share this information with anyone who may need it, or even create your own XP installer for it.

    This does work, & it imports the XP Image viewer itself into Windows 7. After applying the above settings, if done correctly, you should be able to view animated GIFs that actually Animate & your pictures will now be smoothed out when enlarged, unline Windows 7 that doesn’t.

    Windows 7 will smooth images when set as desktop wallpaper as it enlarges them, just not through the image viewer… shady, eh? And W7 Image viewer does do lossless photo rotations, so don’t expect the XP version to do that, because it can’t. You WILL lose quality with each photo rotation, if you rotate photos in WXP viewer.

    But that is about the only benefit of the Windows 7 viewer.

    Anyway, have fun using XP image Viewer in Windows 7!

  34. Dr Anonymous says:

    (If this doesn’t work, it is due to a registry key not present. Because I am testing as well at the moment, & with BMP/JPG/PNG, I am not sure 100% that this will work for you, due to a few other .reg keys I also imported with it. If it doesn’t, let me know so I can post the other keys here)

  35. amalgam says:

    would be great if it works, but unfortunately it doesnt for me – when I try to open any image with this XP image viewer, I get error along the lines “–pathname to image file i try to open– isnt valid application of Win 32 type” (cant quote exactly cause I have Win 7 in different language)

    I tried both compatibilities (even different service packs) for rundll32.exe, editing registry manually (cause I didnt see “C:\\Windows\XP\rundll32.exe C:\\Windows\XP\shimgvw.dll,ImageView_Fullscreen %1” – in my case – set in data field under the registry path..), nothing works, still the same error…

    • Knowbody says:

      amalgam: you need to escape every backslash character in the directory string:
      “C:\\Windows\\XP\\rundll32.exe C:\\Windows\\XP\\shimgvw.dll,ImageView_Fullscreen %1?

      Also, make sure you’re using the correct version of rundll32.exe if you’re using a 64-bit version of Windows 7

  36. So, Will gif files work in Windows 7 if you make the IE Browser your default brower? I’t not for me right now but if I had to make it default to view gifs I can live with that. I guess.

  37. Dr Derp says:

    Keep the hate flowing people

  38. Thanks! Got it working. 🙂

  39. MS.WORRY says:

    thanx alot Dr Anonymous…it worked for me

  40. Necris says:

    /watch?v=kjid5XoZuIE try to watch this? video.. the problem solved … the animated image are moving

  41. Ringo says:

    Nonesense,….EVERYONE to view GIF images animated u open it with: Windows Media player,

    its default player comes with windows well anyone know it…
    trust me it works try it its the only way

  42. Gino says:

    I do not have Photo Viewer in the option. how can we find it in our computer?

  43. Gino says:

    By the way, i drag my gif to chrome. i do not want to open IE, never.

  1. October 27, 2011

    […] XP, Windows 7 and Windows Vista doesn’t support viewing of animated gif files. Though, you can use default Windows Photo Viewer to open gifs but it only shows a still image of gif considering it is an animated one. One can also set Internet […]

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