How to Change Default Editor in
Windows and Fax Viewer in Windows XP

One of the nicest features in Windows XP is the Windows and Fax Viewer that lets you quickly preview, rotate, print, delete, or edit pictures on your computer. You can also show multiple pictures in a slideshow format. Unfortunately there are some things that need tweaking to make the Windows and Fax viewer more user friendly.

When you try to edit a saved picture, the default viewer is Windows Paint program. A very rudimentary photo/picture editor that does not offer more advanced functions of most photo editing software. You can easily change the default type for JPG, GIF, and other photo types to your preferred photo editor such as Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro, or other photo editing software. However, in most cases this means changing the program that previews these images too.


What if you want to preview images in the Windows and Fax Viewer, however when you click the edit button you want them image to open in your preferred program instead of Paint. There is a way to do this, it just takes some advanced editing of the file types. Follow the steps below to accomplish this.

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Folder Options
  4. Click on the File Types tab
  5. Select the file type to change (in most cases this will be either JPG or GIF)
  6. Under the "Opens With" option, make sure the Windows and Fax Viewer is the chosen application. If it is not, click the CHANGE button and choose Windows and Fax Viewer and click Ok.
  7. Click on the Advanced button. In some cases, you may have a Restore option instead. You'll need to choose Restore to change the default application and then click on the Advanced button to proceed.
  8. Under the Actions sections, you'll want to find two important actions: Open and Edit
  9. Click on the Open action and click on the Edit button, look for the following section

    Application used to perform action

  10. The application listed should be the following to use the Windows and Fax Viewer

    rundll32.exe C:\WINDOWS\System32\shimgvw.dll,ImageView_Fullscreen %1

    You'll notice this viewer uses rundll32 and a dll file to open the image, instead of a normal exe program file.
  11. Verify the Open command is correct and click Ok
  12. Now find the Edit action. If it is not listed do the following:
  13. Click New
    Type Edit for the action
    Type the path and program name for the chosen photo editor
    Ex. "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 7.0\Photoshop.exe" "%1"
    You'll need to quotes around the path and the %1 in order for things to work properly.
    Click Ok twice

  14. If the Edit action is listed, then select Edit and click the Edit button
  15. Change the application command line to point to your chosen photo editing program. Using the same concepts as shown in Step 12.
  16. Click Ok and close the Folder Options window and My Computer
  17. Find a image on your computer and double-click on it to test. The Windows and Fax viewer should open showing the picture, now click the Edit option on the bottom toolbar and your picture should open in your desired photo editing program.

Written by Mark Hasting


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