You cannot view RAW image files after you copy them from a camera to a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows XP SP2

Symptoms

After you copy an image that is in a RAW file format to a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), the image does not appear in Windows Photo Gallery or in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Additionally, you may be unable to view thumbnail images of the picture by using Windows Explorer.

Cause

This issue occurs if you do not have a RAW image codec for your camera model installed in Windows Vista or in Windows XP SP2.

Resolution

To resolve this problem, use one or more of the following methods, as appropriate for your situation:
  • Obtain a RAW image codec

    Obtain and install a Windows Vista-compatible or Windows XP-compatible RAW image codec from the camera manufacturer.
  • Obtain a RAW workflow program

    Obtain and install a Windows Vista-compatible or Windows XP-compatible RAW workflow program that supports the camera model.

    Note This does not resolve the issue in which you cannot view the images in Windows Photo Gallery or in Windows Live Photo Gallery. However, this action enables you to process the RAW image files.
  • Save the images in a RAW + JPG format

    If the camera has this option, configure the camera to save images in a RAW + JPEG format. This option frequently creates a separate JPEG image file together with the RAW image file. This action does not let you view the RAW image files. However, this action lets you view a JPEG representation of each RAW image file.

More Information

Windows Vista includes the Windows Imaging Component (WIC). WIC is also available for Windows XP SP2. WIC is an extensible, operating system-wide platform for photo imaging codecs and metadata. WIC contains system codecs for the most common imaging formats such as JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, BMP, and ICO. WIC also offers a pluggable platform for all photo imaging codecs. This includes the RAW image format. Additionally, the WIC platform contains generic metadata readers and writers for EXIF 2.2, XMP 1.0, and IPTC in TIFF.

A codec provider such as a camera manufacturer can create an installable RAW image codec for Windows Vista or for Windows XP SP2. This allows for RAW image files to appear in Windows Explorer, in Windows Photo Gallery, in Windows Live Photo Gallery, and in other programs that support WIC. This development model works in a manner that resembles how video codecs are created. The advantage that is provided when the camera manufacturer creates the codec is that the file format may change. In this situation, new codec versions must be created to support the features that are available in each new camera model.
Properties

Article ID: 927530 - Last Review: Oct 22, 2008 - Revision: 1

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