Viewing Raw Files in Windows 10 Explorer

Mission Mountains, Montana

If you capture your digital camera images as raw files and use a Windows 10 computer, you may have been frustrated by not being able to see what the pictures look like in an Explorer window. But there's a free solution from Microsoft. It's called the Raw Image Extension (or LibRaw 0.19). After installing this utility, you can see thumbnail photos of your raw files in Windows Explorer to help you review and select the picture you want. Visit this link for a list of supported cameras.

Raw Image Extension download page

For the Raw Image Extension to work, you need to be using the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) or newer. To find out which version of Windows is installed on your machine, right click the Start button and select System. Scroll down to the Windows Specifications section to find the current version. If necessary, run a system update to install a newer version of the operating system.

System settings showing Windows 10 version 1909

You can download the free Raw Image Extension from this page. You need a free Microsoft account to be able to start the download. Once the utility is installed, it is ready to use. Just go to a folder of raw images and easily view your pictures!

Raw files visible in Windows Explorer with the Raw Image Extension utility