Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows Picture and FAX Viewer is the default application for viewing images under Windows. But there are many other programs out there as well.
How do I make something other than "Picture and FAX Viewer" the default for viewing pictures?
I'm sure that Microsoft believes they're being helpful by providing this default viewer for graphics images. But in reality this is a common question I get and it's one of several things I "fix" when I install a new copy of Windows XP. It's not difficult to change, just a tad cumbersome.
If, when you try to view a picture, it's displayed in the "Picture and FAX Viewer", do the following:
Note what the file extension is. That's the ".jpg", ".gif", and so on at the end of the filename. It indicates the type of picture and more importantly it's what Windows uses to decide what program to use to display it.
Close "Picture and FAX Viewer".
Open up Windows Explorer. (The Windows Key + E, on many keyboards.)
Find any file with that same extension. It's handy if it's the same file but it doesn't have to be.
Right-click on the filename and select Open With ....
Even if the program you want is already listed don't click on it. Instead, select Choose Program at the bottom of the list that's displayed.
In the resulting dialog box, click on the program you want to use to view pictures.
Check the box labeled "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file".
This made your selection permanent. That particular type of image file will now be opened with the program you've selected.
The only down side to this approach is that you'll need to repeat it for each different image type (file extension) that you typically view. Fortunately that's usually only a handful.
You can also change the program used per extension by visiting Tools, Folder Options, File Types in Windows explorer, but personally I find this technique using Open With ... and Always use ... to be easier and quicker.
View Selecting a Different Image Viewer and watch as I walk you through the Tools, Folder Options method of making this change.