Windows Photos: It looks like we don’t support this file format

By | March 1, 2019

Windows Photos: “It looks like we don’t support this file format.”

The first thing you need to check is if other photo viewers can actually open the file. For example try the ‘old’ Windows Photo Viewer or a third party photo viewer. If those fail to open the photo as well, the file may be corrupt.

If you are trying to open a RAW image (Canon CR2, Nikon NEF etc.) try the software from the camera manufacturer.


  1. Make sure you have installed the latest Windows Codec Pack.
  2. Try different software, for example this.
  3. Try camera manufacturer software and codecs. Sony | Canon | Nikon | Pentax | Olympus | Leica
  4. Make sure you are using latest version of the software that support latest camera models.

If all fails to open the photo, you can try what software like JPG-Repair Toolkit can do for you.

Windows Photos: It looks like we don't support this file format

Windows Photos: It looks like we don’t support this file format

If the photos are the result of undelete, file recovery

A lot of people that contact me with this issue are trying to open photos that were recovered from a memory card for example, using software like Stellar Photo Recovery, Easeus or Recuva (etc.). In that case it is likely the photos have been incorrectly recovered. A photo can only be repaired if it actually contains most of it’s original data. Rather than repairing such photos it makes more sense to try to recover them again.

My specialized recovery software only supports specific types of photos:

JpegDigger: JPEG

JPEG Recovery LAB: JPEG, Canon RAW (CR2) and Nikon RAW (NEF).

How to fix ‘It looks like we don’t support this file format’ using JPG-repair

How to fix JPEG photos using JPG-Repair:
This repair requires a reference file! A reference file is a JPEG that was shot with the same camera + settings (quality, size and orientation).

  1. Place the corrupt or damaged JPEGs + sample file in one folder. The sample needs to be named to “sample.jpg” and shot with same camera and settings.
  2. Double click “jpgrepair.exe”. There is no setup, just a single executable file.
  3. Browse to the folder containing the copies of the corrupt photos.
  4. Select the JPEGs you need to repair.
  5. Click “Repair”.
  6. Not fixed (you still can not open or view the file) while entropy for corrupt files is between 7.6 and 7.9? Read the section ‘Entropy looks good but repair is unsuccessful?‘ below.

How to get JPEG photos from corrupted RAWs using JPG-Repair:
  1. Double click “jpgrepair.exe”. There is no setup, just a single executable file.
  2. Browse to the folder containing the corrupted RAW photos.
  3. Select the RAW files you need to repair.
  4. Click “Repair”.

Not repaired?

Not all files can be repaired. First requirement is that the file actually contains image (JPEG) data. You can watch the value for Entropy and the byte histogram if this is caused by an empty file (zeros) or a file filled with a byte pattern. These are the two most common issues causing a file to be beyond repair.

Healthy entropy and histogram

File filled with pattern(FF)

A zero filled file

Other format, only half byte values used

Other format, text file probably

Entropy looks good but repair is unsuccessful?

Note that good entropy does not mean by definition JPEG. You may get similar entropy when the file is filled with other compressed data. However there a few things you can try (and that worked for me in the past sometimes):

  1. Run Extract JPEG option on JPEGs. I have had success using this method getting full and partial (but still usable) images from incorrectly recovered photos. Procedure is the same as for extracting JPEG from RAW (see above video).
  2. Use Patch + Append option. This requires a sample or reference file that was shot with the same camera and settings (such as quality).

If extracting JPEG from the corrupted files yields no results then the file contains no complete JPEG file(s). However, since entropy is good there is still a chance there is encoded JPEG data within the file that can be reconstructed. To find out you have to examine the files one by one (no batch).

Advanced repairs using JPEG-Repair Toolkit

This is an advanced repair that requires manual input. You will also need a sample / reference file that is taken with the same camera + settings. You need to rename the reference file to sample.jpg and place it in the same folder as the file you want to repair.

Carve JPEG data from file and append valid JPEG header
    1. Double click “jpgrepair.exe”. There is no setup, just a single executable file.
    2. Select Patch and enable the ‘append’ checkbox.
    3. Browse to the folder containing the corrupted photos + reference file (that is named ‘sample.jpg’ without quotation marks).
    4. Select the corrupt file you need to repair.
    5. Click “Repair”. It is very likely that JPEG-Repair will prompt you to load a file it has made modifications to. It may take several iterations to get it right. Just keep following the messages JPEG-Repair displays. It may prompt to load files several times.
    6. It is likely the image is severely distorted. You will need to remove obvious corrupted data until a recognizable image is achieved.

Note: Append with be un-checked as you only need to append the header of the donor file once. Leave unchecked!

It is strongly advised to watch following video that will show you what to expect:





2 thoughts on “Windows Photos: It looks like we don’t support this file format

  1. Boyd Smith

    I tried to use trial version, but only got error,… “File is not in EXIF format” I don’t understand what this means, or if I can repair the jpgs??
    Instructions don’t explain clearly what to do?

    1. Joep Post author

      Can you send me a few files + an intact reference file shot with the same camera. Hard to tell what the problem is without the files. Either share with me using google drive or similar or upload here

      I think that’s when you select the reference file? What if you just OK that? I think it’s only relevant for some brief EXIF info the tool tries to pull from the reference file. I have never heard of it throwing this error before.

      If it’s less than 15 MB or so I suppose email is fine too.


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