[Fix] WebP Images Appear Very Dark in Windows Photo Viewer

WebP is a modern image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for smaller, richer images on the web. When you preview a WebP (.webp) image using Windows Photo Viewer, the image may appear very dark.

webp dark windows photo viewer
Fig 1: Windows Photo Viewer dark rendering of WebP images

However, the File Explorer preview pane and the thumbnail view show the .webp image correctly. Also, the same WebP image would render correctly in Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge (Chromium) web browsers.

Cause

This may be due to a bug in the Microsoft Webp Image Extensions package. The WebP Image Extensions Store app enables you to view WebP images in the Windows 10 Microsoft Edge (old) browser. The new Microsoft Edge Chromium doesn’t need this extension, as it has built-in WebP support.

Though Microsoft Webp Image Extension’s description refers to Microsoft Edge, this extension may be used by other modern apps. This package extends Windows 10 to decode the WebP format. Also, the classic Windows Photo Viewer uses WebP Image Extension (MSWebp_store.dll) to render .webp images.

Resolution

To prevent Windows Photo Viewer from rendering .webp images dark, uninstall Microsoft’s WebP Image Extension using PowerShell. Then, install the official Google WebP Codec for Windows.

Step 1: Uninstall Microsoft Webp Image Extensions

Start PowerShell and run the following command:

Get-AppxPackage *Microsoft.WebpImageExtension* | Remove-AppxPackage

This uninstalls the WebP image extension package for your user account.

Note: Windows Photo Viewer won’t be able to preview .webp images now. When you attempt to preview .webp files, you’ll see the error:

Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture because the file appears to be damaged, corrupted, or is too large.

Installing the Google WebP Codec for Windows fixes the error. Follow the instructions in “Step 2” below.

Reinstall instructions

In case you want to reinstall the Microsoft WebP extension later, run this command:



Add-AppxPackage -register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WebpImageExtension_1.0.32731.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode

Alternately, you can get it from the Microsoft Store via:

Webp Image Extensions - Microsoft Store:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/webp-image-extensions/9pg2dk419drg

Step 2: Install Google WebP Codec for Windows

Download and install WebpCodecSetup.exe from Google via the following link:

https://storage.googleapis.com/downloads.webmproject.org/releases/webp/WebpCodecSetup.exe

[WebpCodecSetup.exe - file info]
Verified: Signed
Signing date: 5:55 AM 1/13/2016
Publisher: Google Inc
Company: Google Inc
Description: Setup program for WebP Codec for Windows
Product: WebP Codec for Windows
Prod version: 0.19.9.0
File version: 0.19.9.0

[SHA256 Hash]
c7d57b93f93269e78ae0a0be660293822282edc5eefa7b304f17d621af334bdf

This setup package adds the following codec files on your Program Files folder and registers it:

  • C:\Program Files\WebP Codec\WebpWICCodec.dll
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\WebP Codec\WebpWICCodec.dll

Windows Photo Viewer should now render the .webp image correctly. Compare the following image with figure 1 above.

webp dark windows photo viewer
Fig 2: Windows Photo Viewer now renders WebP images correctly.

Note: To preview a .webp file in Windows Photo Viewer, right-click on the file, click Open with → Choose another app → More Apps → click Windows Photo Viewer.

(This article was written on November 15, 2020.)


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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 Winhelponline.com in 2005.

6 thoughts on “[Fix] WebP Images Appear Very Dark in Windows Photo Viewer”

  1. Thank you so much, was long ago i wish images open in win10 wiever instead of opening one by one in chrome browser, this guide fixed it for me,
    well done!
    thanks again for the help

    Reply

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