XP: Windows Stopped Using Windows Picture and Fax Viewer To Preview Pictures

   Posted November 9, 2004 by David Kirk in Windows

You are finally addicted to XP’s built-in picture preview, and now it is gone away. Here is how to redo it.

By default, XP uses Windows Picture and Fax Viewer to preview pictures. Getting accustomed to this takes some time; however, once you are, it is hard to go back.

Several programs, when installed, try to take over the role of picture preview. This is very difficult to reverse. Here is how you do it.

    1. Click Start.
    2. Click Run.
    3. In the textbox type the following: regsvr32 shimgvw.dll
    4. Click OK

You may or may not have to reboot to see your changes.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • salemi ala

    gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood thnx

  • Werner Kujnisch

    The advice about getting Windows Picture and Fax Viewer back worked for me. Everytime I wanted to see a picture, Paint would come up instead. Now I got my computer back to normal again .. thanks to the instructions above. Thanks …

    • You are welcome! Thanks for visiting and your kind comments.

  • Jimmy

    Thank you so much!

  • Roger

    Thanks you so much now is working

  • Amir

    windows pic and fax viewer is not working in my pc. I am using win xp. how i can solve this?

  • moka

    thank u

  • Jerry

    Fantastic! Worked just like you said it would! I’m sick of Reg Cure and all those orther crap co’s trying to push their junk to fix all these stupid Windows errors! You gave the right answer and it didn’t cost me a dime!

    Thank you!

  • Happy Now

    This worked perfect for my problem! Thank you very much. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    After this it says ” LoadLibrary(“shimgvw.dll”)failed-Invalid access to memory location.
    now what to do.

    please mail at armanthestar@gmail.com

  • Aziz

    I tried your suggestion to retrieve the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. It worked immediately. I did not even have to restart my computer.

    Many thanks

  • askfault

    Thanks for the fix to restore my Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

    Hard to find but simple to repair.

    registering the dll did the trick instantly!

  • Magic

    I recently lost Windows Picture & Fax Viewer from Windows XP and spent several hours/days trying to find it
    As a last resort I

    1. went back into Microsoft Office Picture Manager (which seemed to have
    replaced Picture and Fax Viewer)

    2. selected ‘Tools’ from the header bar

    3. then selected ‘File Types’ from the sub-heading

    4. then ‘unticked’ all the ‘ticked’ boxes in the listing

    5. pressed ‘OK’

    6. and exited Office Picture Manager.

    And Windows Picture & Fax Viewer was back! Hallellulia!

    It worked for me – perhaps it will work for you too. I do hope so.

    I didn’t even have to reboot my machine. Magic!

  • Anonymous

    thanks alot. i wish i had come to your page an hour ago! perfect first try

  • Anonymous

    tells me not cannot be found make sure it is a register so can find

  • Anonymous

    When task above was performed, a statment came back claiming that the module “shimgvw.dll” was loaded but the entry-point DllRegisterServer was not found.

    I was instructed to make sure that “shimgvw.dll” is a valid DLL or OCX file and to try again.

    What did do wrong?

  • Carolee

    I tried this and I got a message that it succeeded. But when I tried to use the viewer I got the sound for device failed to connect. How do I download or get windows and fax viewer back and make it work. This seems to be the only way my new Canon PowerShot will download pictures. The camera downloads fine to other computers I have tried it on.

  • Ceebee71

    I have Windows XP, have lost Windows Picture & Fax Viewer. I did what you state to get it and this is what I get:
    “shimgvw.dll is not an executable file and no registration helper is registered for this file type”
    So what do I do now?

    Chuck (ceebee71@shaw.ca)

  • Chuck

    I tried getting the Windows Picture & Fax viewer up again with your suggestion (above) and this came up: “shimgvw” is not an executable file and no registration helper is registered for this file type.”
    So what to do now?

  • Hi_jv05

    nice..thank you so much!

  • Offtheshelflibrarian

    THANK YOU!!! it worked perfectly after completing this step. Without rebooting.

  • breezy

    how do i make my pictures automatically open with the windows picture and fax viewer?? right now they are automatically set to photosuite image…. and its annoying

  • Youwinagain9

    I did the Run: regsvr32 shimgvw.dll and received this message:
    regsvr32 shimgvw.dll is NOT an executable file and no registion helper is registered for this file type.
    So what do I do now to get back the Picture & Fax Viewer on my Windows XP?
    Please reply to: youwinagain9@yahoo.ca (subject line: XP Help)


  • Smith

    Worked straight away for me without having to re-boot!!

  • Carol

    Worked straight away for me without having to re-boot too, whoohooo, very happy!!

  • Akmal

    It did not worked for me

  • AliQ

    Hi my problem was that I could`t open any images on my desktop by using windows picture &fax viewer

    but … I can open all pictures inside folders in D: partition . please can you help me ,, thanks

  • Allan Dupuis

    Hello, this worked excellent for me. Thank you very much. Others tell you to do a reinstall over windows itself which i really dont think is a solution.. its an obvious last step but this worked awesome. thanks again. CHEERS!

  • Mel

    Thank-you so so much…. I can’t believe all the websites and research I have done to finally finding this and you made it so easy for me…. thought I was gonna cry when I couldn’t see the hundreds of pics I have.

    Thanks Again !!


  • kozak nevada

    😉 thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeff

    This worked great the first time … Picture viewer is back and so are the thumbnails. THANK YOU!

  • Michael Makidon

    I need HELP! I transferred a data file from scan on the printer to computer. It ended up in Picture & Fax Viewer. I need to make some corrections to the data file but I am not able with Picture & Fax Viewer. Can anyone tell me how I can make the neccessary corrections to the file. Your help will be appreciated.

  • Harold Hayes

    Sorry, but it didn’t work. I still cant’t preview images.

  • anshul

    It seems to b that lib.command not.found
    When i search it
    What should i do
    Send suggestions