Windows Photos App Not Working

As the updated replacement for Microsoft's previous Windows Photo Viewer and the brief Photo Gallery, the Photos application is the default tool for viewing and editing images (and videos) in Windows 10. While it bundles with Windows by default, some users may encounter issues with the application, including, most commonly, launch errors. Usually, users can resolve these issues themselves, and they typically are unrelated to security breaches or more severe problems.

As a rule, experts always encourage users to have the most up-to-date versions of all software for general compatibility. Some Windows 10 releases include bugs with their built-in applications, such as the File System Error -2147219196 for Photos. Most users can correct these bugs just by updating Windows with its standard updater. Type 'Windows Update Settings' into the taskbar search field and click the first result. The new window shows the current Windows version, whether there's an update available, and installation options – including scheduling the updates for specific times.

The Photos application also can receive updates that are independent of general Windows patches. Open the Microsoft Store from the taskbar, search for Microsoft Photos, and install any available updates.

After updating, if Photos remains non-functional, users can try the Windows troubleshooting applications. Enter 'Troubleshoot other problems' in the taskbar and click the result (note that this is a different menu from 'Troubleshoot settings'). Scroll down the 'Find and Fix Other Problems' list; the Windows Store applications troubleshooter should be near the bottom. Click the 'Run the troubleshooter' button and follow the instructions; Windows usually will fix the problem itself, if possible.

However, troubleshooters aren't perfect, and users do have other options for resetting the Photos application in Windows manually. Typical steps include simply reinstalling the application, resetting it generally and recreating its Registry settings.

A simple way of resetting the application conveniently is through Windows' settings UI. Type 'applications & features' in the taskbar and click the result. The Photos application should be visible in the 'Default applications' section or in 'applications' (look under 'Microsoft Photos,' not just 'Photos'). Click it, choose 'Advanced options,' and scroll down to the 'repair' and 'reset' options. Note that the second option also wipes user data, while the repair feature leaves it intact.

Users can manually, fully remove Photos before going back to the Microsoft Store and reinstalling it (experts discourage downloading software installers from third-party sources). Open the Windows PowerShell application as administrator (available by right-clicking the shortcut) and input the following command:

get-appxpackage *Microsoft.Windows.Photos* | remove-appxpackage

This command deletes Photos, after which re-installation through the Store can proceed.

With the same PowerShell tool, users also can reset the Registry entries for Photos. They still should open it with admin privileges and type the following commands instead:

Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.Windows.Photos | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

Always reboot the system after making software changes through PowerShell before proceeding with any further troubleshooting or testing the application.

Most users can solve their Photos issues without using advanced command-line options as per the above. Since Windows includes numerous features for restoring application functionality by default, there is a need to resort to tools like PowerShell rarely – but knowing they're available can help during extensive troubleshooting scenarios.