How to Open RAW Image Files on Windows 10

RAW image extension logo

Windows 10 finally has built-in support for RAW Images, thanks to the update of May 2019. You will only have to install an extension from the shop. There are also other solutions for opening RAW files on older versions of Windows.

RELATED: What is Camera Raw and why would a professional prefer it to JPG?

Windows 10: Download the RAW Images extension

To install and use the RAW image extension, you must use the Windows 10 update of May 2019 (version 1903 or later). If you are unable to install the extension, you will need to install the update from the Settings or Settings application. download it manually from the Microsoft website.

RELATED: Brand new in the May 10 update of Windows 10, available now

The codec for this free extension is brought to you by people from and does not yet support all RAW image formats. To see if yours is compatible with this extension, visit the project website for an up-to-date list of supported cameras. The RAW image extension allows you to view images in the Photos application as well as thumbnails, previews, RAW image metadata in the File Explorer. . You can open the properties window of a RAW file to see the metadata.

Visit the Microsoft Store and search for "Raw Images Extension", or go directly to Raw image extension page. Click on "Get" to install it.

Click on Get

Now click on "Install" to install the extension.

Click Install

Once the extension is downloaded and installed, close the Store and navigate to the folder containing your RAW images. Thumbnails are generated instantly inside the File Explorer without using an external viewer.

All your RAW images now display thumbnails in the File Explorer

Double-click on the image, click on "Photos", then click "OK".

Double-click the image you want to open, click Photos, and then click OK

Your RAW image will now open directly in the Photos application without having to download and install a third-party application like Photoshop.

The RAW image opens effortlessly in the application Photos

To always use the Photos application with RAW files that you use, you can change the default program of a specific file type with our guide.

Change the default application for your most used RAW files

Third party programs

If you have not yet updated to the latest version of Windows, you can still view and edit RAW images with the help of third-party software. Adobe Photoshop is one of the most important and feature-rich programs, but if you're not a professional photographer and you do not want to shell out hundreds of dollars for it, here are some programs that you can use instead.


Example of FastRawViewer View

FastRawViewer is the visualization software created by the developers of the LibRaw codec and supports the same formats as the Windows extension. FastRawViewer, as its name suggests, opens RAW files extremely quickly and on the fly, rather than displaying a built-in JPEG preview, as most RAW viewers would do. Instead, it renders images directly from RAW files that allow you to see the true uninfluenced image – with the RAW histogram – making FastRawViewer the ultimate tool for eliminating photos .

FastRawViewer is only for viewing images and does not change them at all. It is available in 30-day free trial; it is a one-time payment of $ 25 if you choose to continue using it.


Example of RawTherapee view

RawTherapee is a multiplatform and open source RAW image processing program. It offers advanced color management (white balance, hue-saturation value curves, color tone, etc.), exposure compensation, batch conversion processing, support for most cameras, copy / paste editing settings on images, a file browser and so much more.

Although this is not a quick way to view RAW images, you can use it as an alternative to Photoshop to view, edit, and batch convert all your photos into a more widely used format. You can even install it as a plugin for GIMP if you already use it as an image processor.

RawTherapee is regularly updated with new features and 100% free to use under the GNU General Public License version 3.

PhotoPea in your web browser

Example of PhotoPea display

PhotoPea is a light browser-based photo processing application that is operational as fast as needed to load a web page. PhotoPea runs entirely on the server, which means that your computer does not need any additional resource programs that Photoshop or Lightroom need. It supports hundreds of file formats, including most RAW images.

PhotoPea offers exposure control, curve adjustments, levels, brightness, filters and many brushes, trims, wand, healing tools to choose from. You can even convert your RAW images to more commonly used formats to download them to your computer.

PhotoPea is free to use, all you need is an internet connection and a web browser to access this powerful image processor.

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