If you’re like me, you don’t care much for the Windows 10 Photo viewer app. The built in one has lots of extra features I don’t care about. Luckily, there are many alternative photo apps. First we are going to cover what the photos app is all about and then go into some alternatives.
The Windows 10 Photos App
This app has been constantly evolving since it’s release with Windows 10. While it’s not a bad option to view and organize photos, it tends to get in the way of what you want to do. More frequently then not it bugs me about signing in and enabling features I don’t want. For example, the the People feature. This allows the Photos app to use facial recognition to sort photos with people in them. One of the best features, though, is the timeline. It allows you to easily jump to a year and view all the pictures taken.
What if you like the Photos app but want to make it less cumbersome? There are a few settings I’d change. First I’d disable the People feature. As stated earlier, this allows the app to group people using facial recognition. Next I’d ensure auto generated albums are turned off as well has turning off notifications of when new albums are available. Finally, I’d ensure linked duplicates are enabled. This will prevent the app from showing the same photo more than once. This is useful, for instance, if you have the same photo in multiple folders.
Alternative Photo Apps
Windows Photo Viewer
This is the classic photo app from Windows 7. It’s quite basic but it does not get in your way. The app is still part of Windows 10 but it’s only easily accessible if you upgraded your PC from 7 to 10 as opposed to installing 10 from scratch. In order to get it back, you may need to make changes to the Windows registry.
A great alternative photo app is ImageGlass. This app allows you to easily view and even modify your images. It’s open source which means anyone can contribute to the project. One of my favorite things about ImageGlass is how fast it is to open. Sometimes the Windows 10 photos app will take a moment to finally open. It also scrolls through photos really fast. ImageGlass has some basic editing capabilities which are comparable to the photos app. One issue I have with ImageGlass is when you scroll through images, it will resize the window even when the program is maximized.
IrfanView another alternative, It’s freeware for personal use. This means an individual can use it free of charge but a business needs to pay for a license. Please ensure you read the license before utilizing this app in your business. IrfanView is also very lightweight coming in at around 5MB. If you’re wondering how to pronounce IrfanView, it’s apparently EarfanView. Plugins are also supported allowing you to add additional features. The user interface is quite dated but it gets the job done.
Another open source alternative photo app is JPEGView. Don’t let the name fool you, this program can open more than just JPEGs. All the popular formats are supported like JPEG, PNG, and GIF. A neat feature of this software is the ability to open a folder of JPEG images and play them like a movie. This could be really useful, for example, if you dabble in stop motion animation. Just like the other alternatives, JPEGView includes basic editing tools. One quirk with this program is it’s not easy to install. That said, it can run from inside a folder so it makes it a great option to throw on a flash drive for use on the go. The user interface is also quite minimal with a simple bar at the bottom and most advanced options hide in the right click menu.
Shotwell is another alternative photo app. It’s open source like a few of the other ones mentioned. It’s primarily found on Linux distributions but it’s available for Windows as well. I have to say, it looks much better on a Linux computer than Windows. Shotwell works a bit differently than the rest of the options. It’s more of a photo album in that it allows you to organize and view your photos. Just like the others, Shotwell supports basic image editing. I can’t really recommend Shotwell if you use Windows. It looks much better on Linux.
The Windows photo app is not a bad photo viewer but there are quirks which I don’t like. There are countless alternatives to choose from, many of which are not on this list. If you are running Linux, I recommend checking out Shotwell. If you want something that’s full featured, you can’t go wrong with ImageGlass. It’s fast while also including basic photo editing tools. If you want something light weight, IrfanView is a good choice.