Question Some HEIC files will open and others will not


Dec 21, 2012
I have a bunch of HEIC photos and some just recently have started to not open.

When opening them, MSFT Photos opens and I get a message that says:

Install additional codecs to work with this file
Download codec at Microsoft Store <-- this is hyperlinked, but when clicks nothing happens.

I have installed the two codecs, uninstalled and reinstalled, restarted PC, etc. The files all worked yesterday. I ran a duplicate finder overnight and now this weird thing is happening. All the other files on that drive work fine, so I don’t think it is a hardware issue.

Not even an HEIC to jpg converter recognizes the trouble files as HEIC.

things that I noticed about the two different .heic files:

  • The ones that will not open have the file extension as .HEIC (all caps) and the others all seem to have .heic - both are listed as type "HEIC File" in File Explorer
  • I can drag an .heic file to a browser and it opens, but an .HEIC file acts like a file download (with Save As window).
  • The .HEIC files (not working) have a Security note on the Properties-->General tab than mentions the file coming from another computer and may be locked. I checked "unlock" and Apply, but that doesn’t make a difference.
  • There is no exif of other photo data on the .HEIC file
  • The non-working files have less restrictive permissions than the working ones and it's been that way for some time.
My current thought is that the system, even though it says it is an HEIC image file, stil doesn’t recognize these particular files as such.

Would love any help.


You should probably get another image viewer than the one that shipped with windows.

XnView should do, and so will IrfanView and a hole bounch of similar software. Just visit the software website and look if the HEIC format is listed as supported format.