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 only need 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 RAW image extension

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

RELATED: Brand new in the May 2019 update of Windows 10, available now

The codec for this free extension is presented to you by users of and does not yet support all RAW image formats. To find out if yours are compatible with this extension, see the project website for more details. an up-to-date list of supported cameras. RAW Image Extension allows you to view images in the Photos application, as well as thumbnails, previews and RAW image metadata in the file explorer. You can open the properties window of a RAW file to see the metadata.

Go to the Microsoft Store and search for "Raw Images Extension", or go directly to Raw Image Extension Page. Click "Get" to install it.

Click 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 instantly created 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 "OK".

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

Your RAW image will now open directly in the Photos application without it being necessary to download and install a third-party application such as Photoshop.

RAW image effortlessly opens in Photos app

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


Example of FastRawViewer View

FastRawViewer is the visualization software created by LibRaw codec developers and supports the same formats as the Windows extension. As its name suggests, FastRawViewer opens RAW files extremely fast and on the fly, instead of displaying a built-in JPEG preview, as most RAW drives would do. Instead, it displays images directly from RAW files, allowing you to see the true uninfluenced image (with the RAW histogram), making FastRawViewer the ultimate photo capture tool .

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


Example of RawTherapee view

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

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

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

PhotoPea in your web browser

Example of PhotoPea view

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

PhotoPea offers functions for controlling the exposure, adjusting curves, levels, brightness, filters and many brushes, tracers, wand and healing tools to choose from. You can even convert your RAW images into more commonly used formats to download to your computer.

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

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