Enabling (Free!) DNG Support in FastPictureViewer and Windows Live Photo Gallery on Windows XP

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Do you want FastPictureViewer and Windows Live Photo Gallery to support DNG files on Windows XP?  Keep reading to find out how.

If you are a digital photographer that “shoots RAW”, chances are you have at least considered converting your camera’s native files to Adobe Digital NeGatives (DNG).  The DNG format promises greater software support for RAW photos by saving developers from the maintenance nightmare of supporting all the manufacturer (and camera) specific RAW formats on the market today.

Microsoft took a platform approach to the same problem by developing their Windows Imaging Component (WIC).  It provides a framework for working with images and metadata, with third parties releasing codecs to add support for individual RAW file formats.  In practice this means manufacturers release codecs for their cameras to improve their support for Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system.  The three most notable applications using this framework are Vista’s Windows Explorer, FastPictureViewer and Windows Live Photo Gallery.

I prefer Adobe’s approach to this problem but market realities dictate they fully support Microsoft’s operating systems to achieve mass market penetration.  After some delay Adobe Labs produced a release candidate DNG codec to help address this gap.  Unfortunately they only provided support for Vista 32 bit users, leaving Windows XP and Vista 64 bit users to purchase a codec from Ardfry or avoid using DNGs with WIC-based applications.  Eight months later not only do these issues still remain, Adobe hasn’t given any indication whether they will ever be resolved.

Well us Windows XP users don’t need to wait for Adobe any longer.


Adobe Labs’ DNG codec will install on Windows XP if you give it a helping hand:

Warning:  By following these instructions you agree you are doing so at your own risk.  Adobe Labs haven’t fully tested their DNG codec on Windows XP and are unlikely to provide support if you have problems.  I haven’t encountered any problems over the month I’ve had the codec installed but can’t provide any guarantees.  I only use the codec to view photos, not write metadata (ratings etc) to them, so definitely backup your photos before updating their metadata. 

  1. Download a copy of the Adobe Labs’ DNG codec
  2. Download a copy of the Remove Installer OS Check script and extract a copy to the same directory used in step 1.
  3. Drag and drop the DNG codec installer file onto the removechk.vbs file.  This will remove the check ensuring it only installs on Vista 32 bit.
  4. Run the codec installer.  It should now complete successfully on Windows XP. 
  5. If prompted, reboot your system.

You should now have a working DNG codec on your system.  To confirm please run FastPictureViewer or Windows Live Photo Gallery and test whether they can display your DNG files. 

On my system this worked flawlessly and FastPictureViewer could zoom and pan DNG files at full size without any pauses or delays.  Hopefully your experience will be just as smooth. 

Please share your experiences with us especially if you use this codec to write metadata back to your photos.  And here’s hoping that Adobe soon releases an update that officially supports Windows XP, making these instructions redundant!

Posted on February 16, 2009 at 12:41 am by Matt · Permalink
In: Howto, Software · Tagged with: , ,