Change the Default Image Editor Linked to Edit command in Right-click Menu for Image Files

Image file types such as JPG, PNG, BMP and others have an “Edit” command in the right-click menu which when clicked, opens Microsoft Paint by default. If you have a third-party image editor and want to set it as the default editor when invoked from the right-click menu, this post is for you.

This post is a rewrite (for better clarity) of my post back in 2004 which was originally written for Windows XP. The information still applies to all versions of Windows, including Windows 10. However, the utility referenced in the linked page doesn’t work in the latest Windows Operating Systems.

change the default image editor

Change the default image editor opened when clicking the Edit command.

Start Regedit.exe and go to the following location.


The (default) value data below points to Microsoft Paint by default.

"%systemroot%\system32\mspaint.exe" "%1"

You can change that and set a 3rd party image editor such as IrfanView, SnagIt or Paint.NET as the default. For example, if you have IrfanView installed, you’d use the following path usually.

"C:\Program Files (x86)\irfanview\i_view32.exe" "%1"

change the default image editor

For 64-bit version of IrfanView, the path would be:

"C:\Program Files\IrfanView\i_view64.exe" "%1"

Exit the Registry Editor.

Now, when you right-click an image file and choose Edit in the right-click menu, IrfanView would open the file.

change the default image editor

Still doesn’t work. A different image editor opens when clicking “Edit”?

Note that the above registry location applies to any image file type which has the “PerceivedType” value set to “image”, and doesn’t have an “Edit” command defined on a per-file type/ProgID basis. For example, if an “Edit” verb exists in the following registry location, it would take priority over “SystemFileAssociations\image\shell\edit”.




Assuming “PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Jpeg” (ProgID for Windows Photo Viewer), associated with .JPG file types. So, if clicking Edit in the right-click menu opens a different editor than the one intended, check if an “Edit” verb is defined at the ProgID level for that file type. FileTypeDiag is a nice tool that gives you a complete file association dump for a specified file extension, which can be very helpful when troubleshooting.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

5 thoughts on “Change the Default Image Editor Linked to Edit command in Right-click Menu for Image Files”

  1. Thank you for this information. However, I think that Windows 10 ver 1909 (I installed Feb. 14, 2020) has a bug. In Windows 7 Pro, my jpg files opened with the MS viewer (I don’t think that I had to do anything to get this option). I was able to change my edit default to Paint Shop Pro and I don’t think I had to modify the registry.

    In any case, today (2/29/20) I changed my OPEN default to MS Office Picture Manger. As per your instructions, I modified the registry to change my EDIT default to: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Jasc Software Inc\Paint Shop Pro 8\Paint Shop Pro.exe” “%1”

    This did not work as when I clicked on the Edit option, I got the MS Office Picture Manger but in “edit” mode.

    I changed the registry back to what it was originally and tested the edit again. Same thing happened as I got the MS Office Picture Manger in edit mode.

    It seems that the OPEN default program overrides the EDIT default program if that program has an “edit” mode. I changed my OPEN default back to “Photos” (which I don’t like as well as the Picture Manager) and changed my EDIT default to Paint Shop Pro 8 and now it works.

    Just thought that you would like to know about this little “hiccup.”

    Thanks again for your registry tweak. R



  2. yeah okay, so now that windows 11 has released,m and theyve changed the default edit program to some “photos” crap, how do we change it back to MS Paint?


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