Microsoft Photos is the default image viewer program on Windows. It’s a one-stop app that caters to all your media needs available on your device and organizes them into folders and albums, making it easier to navigate through and apply filters accordingly.

Fix Photos app not working in Windows 11

Although the Photos app has been around since the launch of Windows 8 and has undergone major redesigns several times, Microsoft has failed to deliver a smooth and seamless experience. As such, users have globally reported several issues with the app.

If you, too, are faced with a scenario where the Photos app isn’t working on your Windows 11 PC, here’s a quick guide to troubleshoot such issues and make the app functional again.

Restart the Photos App

Microsoft has improved quite a bit in recent years, both in terms of overall quality updates and improvements, but still has failed to deliver a smooth and seamless user experience. App crashes and performance-related issues are less common but can occur anytime and hinder productivity or usage scenarios. To mitigate these issues, the most trivial fix is to restart the Photos app.

Closing and restarting the app has proved to work in most cases because restarting terminates the app along with all the services and components, which are started back up and might fix the issue.

Reboot Your PC

restarting screen in windows 11

As cliché as it may sound, a simple reboot has proved to work in many scenarios and fix the problem. The way this works is when the system restarts, the OS gets time to install the crucial system or app updates, eliminate unnecessary services running in the background, and help restart the essential components of the operating system.

Run the Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter

Microsoft knows that app-related issues are quite common in Windows 11 and can occur anytime. Keeping this in mind, it bundles Windows 11 with a built-in app troubleshooter to help you fix problems related to bundled apps and also the ones downloaded from the Microsoft Store.

Follow these steps to use this troubleshooter:

  1. Go into the Windows 11 Settings app using the Windows + I keyboard shortcut or directly from the Start menu by clicking on the app icon.
    Launching Settings app from the start menu
  2. Navigate to the System tab and select the Troubleshoot option under Activation.
    Troubleshoot Options in Settings app
  3. Under Troubleshoot, search for Other Troubleshooters and click on it.
    Troubleshoot Options in Settings app
  4. Once in the Other Troubleshooters section, look for the one named Windows Store Apps and click on the Run button beside it.Advanced Troubleshooters
  5. Follow the steps shown on the screen by the troubleshooter, and your issue might get fixed.Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter

Install Media Extensions

Microsoft Store Showing Extensions Available For Download

By default, the Photos app only supports limited and commonly available file formats. You head over to the Microsoft Store app and download the extensions to get support for new and modern file extensions.

Here are some of the newer file extensions you can download:

Check for App Updates From the Microsoft Store

Sometimes, an app may stop working if it has not been updated for a very long time—perhaps because it had a bug that interfered with some of its functions. The best way to fix this is to update the Photos app from the Microsoft Store.

Here’s how to update the Photos app on Windows 11:

  1. Launch the Microsoft Store app from the Start menu. Or, bring up the Windows search using Windows + Q or Windows + S shortcuts and type Microsoft Store.Microsoft Store Library Page
  2. Once inside the app, head over to the Library tab from the set of buttons on the left side.Launching Store app from Start Menu
  3. Click on the Get Updates button present at the top-right corner of the screen.
    App updates downloading from Microsoft store
  4. Wait for the results to load up and the apps to get updated.

Terminate the Photos App

If restarting does not work, try the manual way of closing the app and starting it back again by following these steps. This works in most cases and should fix the issue.

  1. Launch the Windows 11 Settings app using the Windows + I. Or launch it from the Start menu.Launching Settings app from the start menu
  2. Navigate to the Apps section and select the Apps & Features sub-menu option.App Settings UI In Windows 11
  3. Under Apps & Features, search for Microsoft Photos from the search bar or from the given list of apps.
  4. After that, click on the Three dot menu on the right side of the app listing and select Advanced Options.Advanced Options In-App Settings
  5. From the advanced options page, click on the Terminate button.Terminate Option In Windows App Settings

Repair the Photos App

Similar to restarting, it terminating the Photos app does not work either; it could be that the app is corrupted or damaged. Windows has you covered here as well. It gives the option of repairing the Photos app and fixing it with the click of a button.

Follow these steps to repair the Photos app:

  1. Using the Windows + I keyboard shortcut, launch the Settings app on your Windows 11 PC or from the Start menu.
  2. Navigate to the Apps section and select the Apps & Features sub-menu option.
  3. Under Apps & Features, search for Microsoft Photos from the search bar or from the given list of apps.
  4. After that, click on the three-dot menu on the right side of the app listing and select Advanced Options.
  5. From the Advanced Options page, click on the Repair button.Repair Option In App Settings UI
Note:
This will only verify and repair the app components, and no data will get affected or lost.

Reset the Photos App

Resetting is one way of fixing by getting the app into the last known good state. After resetting, all the data associated with the app gets deleted along with the log and cache data.

App Settings UI With Multiple Options

If restarting or repairing the app does not work, there might be chances of the app being corrupted or damaged. Windows got you covered here as well and gives the option of repairing the app with a click of a button. The repair process can be done by following these steps:

Reset Option In-App Settings UI

  1. Using the Windows + I keyboard shortcut, launch the Settings app on your Windows 11 PC or from the Start menu.
  2. Navigate to the Apps section and select the Apps & Features sub-menu option.
  3. Under Apps & Features, search for Microsoft Photos from the search bar or from the given list of apps.
  4. After that, click on the Three dot menu on the right side of the app listing and select Advanced Options.
  5. From the advanced options page, click on the Reset button.
Note:
Personalized data, files, and settings associated with the app will get removed, so you must back everything up before proceeding.

Reinstall the Photos App

If none of the methods listed so far work, you should try reinstalling the Photos app from your Windows 11 PC. However, the Photos app comes bundled with Windows, so there is no option to uninstall and reinstall the app. Fortunately, Microsoft allows you to use PowerShell to reinstall Photos in Windows 11.

Using PowerShell Command To Reinstall Photos App

Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Open the Windows Terminal or the PowerShell from the Start menu or the search bar.
  2. Enter the following:
    Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.Windows.Photos | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
  3. Wait for the process to complete and show up the results.
  4. Once the process is complete, reboot the system and check if the app starts working perfectly.

Note: You must launch Terminal or PowerShell as an administrator before executing the command.

Check for System Updates

The Photos app may often stop working due to a faulty Windows update, which might not even be related to the Photos app. Fortunately, fixing it is quite easy.

Follow these steps to check your Windows 11 PC for pending updates:

  1. Open the Settings app using the Windows + I keyboard shortcut or directly from the Start menu by clicking on the app icon.
    Windows Update Page in Settings app
  2. Navigate to the Windows Update tab and click on the Check for updates button.
  3. Wait for the results to load up, then click Install now.
  4. After the updates have finished installing, reboot the system once and then try launching the Photos app.

Fix App-Related Issues and Enjoy a Seamless Experience

Microsoft Photos is the default program to view and edit images and videos on your Windows PC. While the app works fine and serves its purpose quite well, there are times when you may encounter issues with it.

As such, when you’re faced with issues wherein the Photos app doesn’t work, the solutions mentioned in this guide should help you fix them and restore the app’s functionality.

Further Reading

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