If you are the type of person that uses your photo applications a lot on your Windows computer, you may find that you are unable to open your JPG, JPEG, or PNG files after upgrading to the latest Windows operating system. This is a common Windows error that mostly occurs with image files (but can happen with other file types as well), and is accompanied by the message, “invalid value for registry”. This particular problem arises when there are conflicting registry subkey entries, which we will explain below.
What is Windows Registry?
Your Windows computer has a hierarchical database within it that stores low-level information and settings for things like the operating system, software programs, hardware devices, your user preferences, the services that you use, and more. This is called the Windows Registry, and it comes installed with all versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems. So, when you install a program, a subkey is created that contains the program’s location, version, settings, and how to run the program, which is then added to the Windows Registry.
What does the “Invalid Value for Registry” error mean?
When you get the “Invalid Value for Registry” error message, it means that there is something wrong with the registry entry or subkeys. This is a common error that often pops up after you’ve upgraded your Windows operating system to the newest version, or when you update your applications, such as your photos application.
Example: if you were running Windows 8.1 Home Edition and upgraded to Windows 10 Home Edition, it is likely that you would encounter the “invalid value for registry” when opening JPG/JPEG/PNG files via Windows Photo Viewer, as the old subkey entries would conflict with how your system opens up the image in the specified photo application.
Why does this error happen?
Sometimes, when you upgrade your operating system or update some of your applications to the newest version, the registry entries from the previous version may remain intact rather than being deleted. This causes conflicting subkey entries, which disrupts your system’s processes, thus leaving you with the “invalid value for registry” error.
Proven ways you can fix the “Invalid Value for Registry” when opening JPG/JPEG/PNG files
Caution: Recover image files before proceeding
If you have tried to open up your JPG/JPEG/PNG files, only to see the “invalid value for registry” error, it is wise to try and recover the image files first, as these kinds of registry errors can cause data corruption, leading to image loss or damage. After you have recovered your images, store them in a safe place, such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive.
A quick check to perform
Before jumping into any of the methods below to fix the “invalid value for registry” for your JPG/JPEG/PNG files, try opening one of these images with a different photo application. This should overwrite the subkey entry and fix the problem for you.
1. Reset your photo application
For Windows 10 users, you can fix the “invalid value for registry” error by resetting your photo application. What this does is it deletes all of your settings and cached data from your photos application on your system, so that when you go to open a new image, the settings must reset themselves. Here is how to reset the default Microsoft Photos app.
- In your computer’s search bar, type in “Settings”.
- Click on the Apps option.
- Under Apps and Features, search for Microsoft Photos.
- Click on Microsoft Photos.
- Choose Advanced Options.
- Scroll until you see the Reset option. Click it.
- Restart your PC once the reset process is done.
2. Check for Windows updates
Since the Microsoft Photos application is a default, pre-installed application that comes with your Windows operating system, it receives routine updates via the Windows Update system. If you do not have your Windows computer to automatically update, you may have some pending updates to manually do, some of which may include the photos application. To check to see if you have updates, do the following:
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Settings”.
- Click on the Update & Security Option.
- Choose Windows Updates.
- Click on the Check for Updates button.
- Install any pending updates.
- Restart your computer and try using the Microsoft Photos app again.
3. Run the Windows Store Apps troubleshooter
You can also run the Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter to see if there is an underlying problem with any of the store apps that you have installed, including the Microsoft Photos app.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Settings”.
- Head to Update & Security in the Settings window.
- Head down to troubleshooters in the left-hand sidebar.
- Click on Advanced Troubleshooters.
- Scroll down until you see Windows Store Apps.
- Click troubleshoot and let it run.
4. Clear your Windows Store Cache
If resetting your photo application doesn’t seem to do the trick, you can clear the Windows Store Cache of all stored data to see if it fixes the “invalid value for registry” error.
Warning: By clearing the Windows Store Cache, you are permanently deleting app data on your Windows computer. This includes saved games, and sign-in details.
You can clear the cache by doing the following:
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Run”. Or, press Win + R on your keyboard at the same time.
- In the Run dialogue box, type in “WSReset.exe” and hit the enter button.
- This command will clear your Windows Store Cache.
5. Update your graphic drivers
It is likely that the other solutions in this list are going to fix the “invalid value for registry” error, but if you do know that your graphics drivers are out of date, it is very possible for this to be the cause.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Device Manager”.
- Scroll down the new window until you see Display Adapters.
- Click the arrow to expand the Display Adapters list.
- Find your integrated graphics in the list and right-click it.
- Click on Update Driver.
- Search automatically for the updated software.
- Once updated, restart your computer.
If you have a dedicated graphics card (Nvidia or AMD), then you can repeat the same steps above, or you can download the latest driver using the third-party software provided. For instance, Nvidia uses the GeForce Experience and AMD uses Radeon Adrenaline software.
6. Run the System File Checker (SFC)
Sometimes if your system has file errors in it, you may get the “invalid value for registry” error. You can check your system for file errors with the System File Checker (SFC), which is a built in Windows utility tool that scans your computer for corrupted files and restores them.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “CMD” or “Command Prompt”.
- Right-click on CMD and choose to run as an administrator.
- In the CMD window, type in “sfc /scannow”. Hit Enter.
- Wait until the verification is complete.
- If corrupt files were found and repaired, then restart your PC.
Note: If you run into an SFC /Scannow error when starting the scan, don’t worry. We have written dedicated articles on what to do if SFC scannow is not working, including:
- Windows Resource Protection Could Not Perform The Requested Operation
- Windows resource protection could not start the repair service
7. Delete outdated registry keys [Advanced]
If you are all right with getting a little bit technical, then you can fix the registry problem yourself by using the Registry Editor to remove all outdated subkeys for your photos application. Keep in mind though, if you delete the wrong subkey in the registry, this can cause file loss or app failures, so you need to be very careful during deletion. Here are the steps you need to take.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Run”. Or, press the Windows key + R to get the Run Dialogue box to open up.
- In the Run dialogue box, type in “regedit” and hit OK.
- Now you will need to click into a series of folders that goes in this order:
- Local Settings
- Current Version
- App Model
Within the Families folder, you will see a whole host of Microsoft related folders. You will want to scroll down until you see something like: Microsoft.Windows.Photos_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
Within this folder, there should be a few entries for the Microsoft Windows Photo application. Look at the date listed for these; any that are outdated need to be deleted.
To delete the older entries, you will need to take ownership of the Microsoft.Windows.Photos_8wekyb3d8bbwe folder. To do this:
- Right-click on the Microsoft.Windows.Photos_8wekyb3d8bbwe folder.
- Click on Permissions.
- Scroll down and select Administrator.
- Then click on the Advanced button.
- In the advanced menu, click on “change” beside SYSTEM at the top.
- This brings up the User/Group window.
- Select the Advanced option at the bottom.
- Now click on the Find Now button.
- Find your username, select it, and hit OK.
- Head back into the Permissions / Administrators window, and allow Full Control.
- Now go and delete the outdated keys by right-clicking and choosing delete.
Now restart your computer and see if you still get the “invalid value for registry” error code when opening any of your JPG/JPEG/PNG files.
Please note that if you are considering upgrading to Windows 11, you may run into the same “invalid value for registry” error after upgrading. Let us know if any of these methods helped you out and which ones if they did!