Windows Photo Viewer Previous Next Buttons Disabled and Arrow Keys Do not Work [Fix]

If the Windows Photo Viewer the navigation buttons (previous and next) or left and right arrows, and the slideshow button don’t work, this post tells you why this happens and how to fix the problem.


This problem may be caused due to one of the following reasons:

  1. There is only one file in that folder.
  2. If there are more than one image file in that folder, the image files may have the “hidden” attribute set.
  3. Windows Photo Viewer file association settings are incorrect (most likely cause).

In addition, the slideshow may not work — shows that single image only, although the slideshow button is enabled in Windows Photo Viewer. However, starting the slideshow from File Explorer’s Manage tab may work fine.

From what we’ve seen in vast majority of the cases, #3 above is the usual root-cause. And in that case, the fix is to register the Windows Photo Viewer correctly, as in article How to Restore Missing Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10.


After applying the registry fix in that article, the previous and next (and Slideshow) buttons, or left and right arrows should work fine, even if the image files are hidden or located in a network drive.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

3 thoughts on “Windows Photo Viewer Previous Next Buttons Disabled and Arrow Keys Do not Work [Fix]”

  1. Strangely, on hard drive it works okay. On my flash drives, it only works for next image(s), but also back to that picture which the viewing was started, then button is greyed. Is there a file number limit?

  2. We had this with a images that had been batch converted from HIEC to JPG and copied from a USB drive to a new folder/subfolder under the user “Pictures” folder. But the problem also extended to JPG files copied from an Android phone and a Nikon camera. Even reindexing the entire drive and resetting photos settings didn’t fix it. I created a new directory in “Pictures” and recopied the images. It now works with the mouse scroll wheel and select/click. I can only assume that somehow the top level folder had some trivial issue. This solution is a lot easier than registry edits, do the somewhat more difficult uninstall/reinstall of photos.

  3. is this a joke website? Why is the type shown in anti-optometric usable, anti-eye and vision health (non black) light value, low contrast type? This defeats graphic design. It’s an assault on the eye and vision health of anyone who sees the page on the net. It mocks optometry and optical dispensing (and it’s eye and vision harmful). It defeats the internet , which was designed as a visual communications media. The type in the Comment box here is also not designed to be readable, functional nor accessible. (The 3 words above the box: Leave a Comment, are shown using common sense fundamentals of graphic design with blac, high contrast type.) Don’t believe that this type is an assault on eye and vision health and reading? Ask any opometrist, worldwide. There are NO prescriptions for corrective eyewear for light-value, low contrast, and extremely light-value, zero contrast type, whether on the net or in hardcopy publication graphic design. That Microsoft and their divisions, and Google and their divisions, and Facebook lead this multi-pronged assault on graphic design and on the vision health of hundreds of millions of people, of all ages, worldwide, does not make it excusable. Why not use common sense fundamentals of graphic design and make your website info pages readable, accessible and functional? That would be the moral, practical, logical and ethical thing to do. Thanks for reading. Cheers.


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