Issue: How to fix PNG files not opening in Windows?
For some reason, I can no longer open PNG files in Windows. I can't remember making any changes to the system recently, so I am not sure what's causing it. Could you please help?
In the ecosystem of Windows operating systems, various file types serve different purposes. From executable (.exe) files that run software applications to text (.txt) files that store plain textual data, each file type has a unique role.
Among these file types, image formats are prevalent, and PNG (Portable Network Graphics) stands out as one of the most commonly used. Designed to work well on the web, PNG supports lossless data compression, offering high-quality images with a reduced file size. This makes it a popular choice for both web designers and general users who wish to preserve the integrity and clarity of their images.
However, despite its benefits and widespread usage, some challenges arise when working with PNG files in Windows. A recurring issue is that for some users, PNG files are not opening.
This can be attributed to a variety of reasons, including corrupted data, outdated or incompatible software trying to access the file, or even photo encryption feature that might be at fault. For those employing third-party extensions, it is known that Mcafee Web Advisor could cause PNG files to fail to open.
The first solution that you should try is ensuring that the Photos app is set as a default for image viewing, which can be done in Windows settings. Other solutions include installing the latest Windows updates, disabling encryption, repairing damaged or corrupted system files, and more. All of these solutions will be provided as step-by-step instructions below.
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Fix 1. Set the default app setting to Photos
Windows allows users to set default applications for specific file types. If your PNG files are not opening properly, it might be because the default application set to open them is either incompatible or not functioning correctly. Setting the “Photos” app as the default for PNG files can resolve this issue.
- Right-click on any PNG file on your computer.
- Select Properties.
- Under the General tab, find the Opens with section.
- Click on the Change button.
- A list of applications will appear. Choose Photos from the list.
- Click OK to save your changes.
Fix 2. Install all Windows updates
Keeping your Windows OS updated ensures that you have the latest bug fixes and improvements. If any updates are available for the Photos app, they will be installed together with Windows updates.
- Click on Start and pick Settings (gear icon).
- Choose Update & Security.
- Click on Windows Update.
- Select Check for updates.
- If updates are available, click Install and wait for the process to complete. Install all optional updates, too.
- Restart your computer.
Fix 3. Repair or reset the Photos app
If the Photos app itself has issues, repairing or resetting it can bring it back to its original state, resolving any glitches.
- Click on Start and pick Settings.
- Click on Apps.
- Scroll down and find the Photos app in the list.
- Click on it and select Advanced options or pick More > App settings on Windows 11.
- Under the Reset section, click the Repair button. If that doesn't work, you can also click the Reset instead.
Fix 4. Perform SFC and DISM scans
Corrupted system files are among the most common reasons for numerous issues, including PNG files not opening in Windows. To fix these files, you can run commands in elevated Command Prompt as follows:
- Type cmd in Windows search.
- Right-click on Command Prompt and pick Run as administrator.
- User Account Control window will show up – click Yes when prompted.
- Then, copy and paste the following command, pressing Enter after:
- Wait till the scan is finished. If Windows finds system file integrity violations, it will attempt to fix them. After this, use the set of the following commands, pressing Enter each time:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- Close down the Command Prompt and restart your system.
Fix 5. Disable photo encryption
If photos are encrypted, it might prevent them from opening. Disabling encryption can help.
- Right-click on the PNG file.
- Select Properties.
- Click on the Advanced button under the General tab.
- Uncheck the box next to Encrypt contents to secure data.
- Click OK.
Fix 6. Disable the McAfee Web Advisor extension [if applicable]
Some browser extensions, like McAfee Web Advisor, can interfere with the opening of PNG files.
- Open your browser.
- Click on Settings and then select the extensions or add-ons section.
- Find McAfee Web Advisor and disable it.
Note that similar extensions or applications might also cause the problem. This includes security software and image-viewing software.
Fix 7. Reinstall the Photos app via PowerShell
Reinstalling the Photos app can resolve any lingering issues with the software.
- Type PowerShell in the Windows search bar.
- Right-click on Windows PowerShell and select Run as administrator.
- Type the following command, pressing Enter after:
Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Photos | Remove-AppxPackage
- Once done, go to Microsoft Store, search for Photos, and reinstall it.
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