The default Windows Photos viewer may be good, but there’s a better and faster alternative out there – Google’s Picasa Viewer. In this tutorial I’ll show you how you can easily install it as the default viewer in Windows 8.
Replacing the default Windows image and photo viewer
Windows 8 comes with the aptly named Photos app installed by default, which is decent enough for viewing any images and photos you might have on your computer. However, it has a few drawbacks – it consumes a disproportionately large amount of resources, it has practically no features other than viewing pictures and it’s a Metro UI app that works in full screen only.
Replacing Windows Photos with Google Picasa Viewer
Luckily, there are a few alternatives to it – and the best one around is the Picasa Photo Viewer from Google, which comes with the Picasa picture management/editing suite. The app looks great, works fast and generally makes a better impression than Windows Photos. Here’s how to install it and set it as the default picture viewer:
1. Step First, you’ll need to download and install Picasa – you can get the latest version from picasa.google.com. The installation is easy and problem-free – just follow the directions and it should be done in less than a minute.
2. Step On first start, you’ll be given the option to search all of your folders for photos or just the My Documents, My Pictures and the folders on your desktop. I recommend choosing the latter as it’s less resource intensive, but if you want to use Picasa as the go to app for picture viewing, editing and upload (to online services like Picasa Web or Facebook), you can choose to index your whole computer.
3. Step After clicking continue, you’ll be given the choice of using Picasa Photo Viewer as the default viewer for all of the popular image formats. This is exactly what we need: just click “Select All” and you’re set – after clicking “Finish”, the app will replace the default Photos app.
Extra tip. If for some reason Picasa is not the default viewer, you can set it as such by right-clicking any image, then selecting “Open with -> Choose default program”. In the new window, scroll down and click on “More Options”, then find “Picasa Photo Viewer” and click it.
That’s about it – enjoy your new viewer!
If you browse a lot through your local image galleries, I’m sure you’ll appreciate Picasa Photo Viewer – it is faster, has more features and it just looks and works better than either Photos or the good old Photo Viewer in Windows 8. Be sure to give it a try!