How to Enable Thumbnail Previews for RAW Images on Windows 10

Cameras, real ones and not those on your phone, save RAW photos. RAW could be a format in itself though RAW files might not always have this extension. Some can use DNG, others can be NEF, ORF, etc. The format usually depends on the camera was used to capture a photo however RAW is the general name given to those uncompressed photos. By default, Windows 10 will generate a thumbnail preview for a large number of file formats but several RAW formats aren’t  previews for RAW images on Windows 10.

RAW image extension windows 10

Thumbnail previews for RAW images

These thumbnail previews can show up in File Explorer. To enable them, install Microsoft’s free RAW Image Extension from the Microsoft Store.

RAW image extension

Once you’ve installed it, close all File Explorer windows that are open to any folder with a RAW file in it. Open a new File Explorer window and navigate to the folder with the RAW pictures. This time, the generic image thumbnail ought to get replaced with a correct preview of the image file.

RAW image extension 2

This extension should also add the ability to read a number of the metadata that’s written to the RAW file though it may still miss a number of it. it will not add any special editing effects to any app.

Out of the box, Windows 10 normally offers thumbnail previews for a few RAW file formats however not for all of them. If your RAW files already show a correct thumbnail preview, then they’re in a very supported format and you don’t have to be compelled to install this extension. If you’re unable to view the metadata for a file despite the fact that you get a thumbnail preview of it, this extension could or might not help.

This extension is actually a File Explorer extension thus if you would like to get rid of it, you can do so from the Settings app. The extension is extremely unlikely to slow your system down though in some cases, the preview might possibly take a little time to generate if you’re copying/moving a huge number of files. bear in mind that RAW files are quite large.

If you’re still unable to get thumbnail previews for RAW images on Windows 10 after installing the given extension, it might be possible that your particular file type is way too niche. in this case, you should find a file manager or photo managers that the maker of your camera may have released and use it to browse your photos. Don’t modify the file extension of your files to RAW or anything else. That might damage it.

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