I have acquired a canon 6d mark II and it seems that Windows 10 is not able to open the raw images in its own image viewer or display thumbnails in the file system. Is there any codec available for windows 10 already for the raw format for the Canon 6d mark II?

Edit: Raw Image Extension is compatible with Windows 10 build 1903 released in May, 2019. After this I can see the preview on the folders.

  • I would guess that it will be made available in some future windows update. It already supports older version of the CR2 file. – Robin Aug 15 '17 at 14:51
  • OK guys you gotta do better: CR2 from older one and two digit canons can be displayed in windows 10 but the newer ones like the 5D mark IV and the 6D II produce CR2 files that can no longer be displayed by windows 10. That is the problem for which I am also looking for an answer – peter bach Nov 26 '17 at 15:28

There seems to be a new codec called Raw Image Extension in Microsoft Store that is based on the LibRaw project. I was prompted to download it when opening a RAW file created by 6D2. However, this extension requires Windows 10 build 18323 (which is an Insider build).

Update: Raw Image Extension is compatible with Windows 10 build 1903 released in May, 2019.

  • This is good news, that they brought the extension back to life again, they state that it will be released on a future windows release when beta phase closes. – Jose Rocha Mar 13 '19 at 8:49
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    I can confirm that installing Raw Image Extension from Microsoft Store allows me to now see thumbnails for raw CR2 files from my Canon 77D. I would expect it also works for the 6D Mark II. I am using Windows 10 build 18356.16. They will also open in Windows Photo Viewer app for whatever that's worth. I use RawTherapee to edit the files, but it is nice to be able to see the thumbs in Explorer. If not using an Insider build, I'm sure FastRawViewer would work. – cj smith Mar 28 '19 at 20:58

CR2 files are RAW files. They are not actually an image file, but rather the data about how much light each photosite collected. Without camera specific information, they can't be resolved to an image, and thus Windows doesn't know how to open them directly.

Many programs exist that can open them, but Adobe Camera Raw, Canon Digital Photo Professional and RawTherepee are 3 options that will allow for opening the files and processing CR2 in to traditional image files.

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    Canon provides free download of their software if you just put in the serial number of your camera at the download page. – Nelson Aug 15 '17 at 3:22
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    Thanks yo your response and some more digging I found out that your answer is correct. Actually the first paragraph was enough. So to see the images in windows explorer the solution is to wait. Meanwhile use a different program. Thanks – Jose Rocha Aug 15 '17 at 7:22

Are you sure you talking about default app Photos? I can view .CR2 on my windows 10 using this app. Though you might wanna use Lightroom or Camera RAW 9 for post processing.

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    The 6D Mark II is a newly released model and has not been added to Adobe or Windows lists yet. All raw files are not equal. Even all .CR2 files are not equal. The rendering app must have information specific to that particular sensor to be able to open the file properly. – Michael C Aug 17 '17 at 8:57

Maybe you can try external program like xnview, which support a lot RAW formats. This software is very flexible and the variant xnview mp offer a lot of funtions.


RAWs typically contain an embedded JPG, which Windows can read and display. That should work without any drivers or codecs. If it doesn't, something is wrong in your setup - either the RAWs are damaged/incomplete, or Windows has an issue.

Note that you are not seeing the RAW, and that the JPG is of inferior quality compared to what you can get from the RAW with qualified processing.

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    "... or Windows has an issue." Yeah, the issue is that windows won't even try to open the embedded jpeg if the camera ID is not already on its 'approved' list. – Michael C Aug 17 '17 at 8:58

My Canon EOS 2000D also creates CR2 files that Windows 10 is unable to show.

My solution:

  • I store both CR2 and JPG file at the same time. My camera has a setting for storing both. They are stored to separate files with the same base name but different extension. The JPG is mainly for quickly checking what the image is using the Windows 10 photo viewer. All post-processing is done on the CR2 file.
  • I open CR2 files with the open source software 'darktable'. I use the profiled denoise module of darktable to reduce the noise to an acceptable level. If darktable doesn't have a noise profile for your camera, there are two options:
    1. Copy the noise profile of some similar camera to have the name of your camera
    2. Create the noise profile yourself

My understanding is that Microsoft no longer develops new CODECs for new image formats. I save my files in both CR2 (the official canon RAW format) and the Adobe DNG (Adobes universal RAW format). Both of the Raw formats contain imbedded JPG images. In File Explorer I see the thumbnails from the DNG files, but not from the CR2 files. That is because DNG was around before the new Microsoft policy, and so the CODEC will extract the JPG from the DNG file for display. CR2 files will probably never be able to do this. Too bad, it is handy when sorting out images to be able to see what you are looking at. Myself, I have my CR2 files vectored to open DPP when I click on the generic thumbnail. Slow and laborious!

  • What "policy"? Microsoft recently added HEIF support to Windows. – xiota Jul 6 '18 at 8:26
  • I can perfectly see 7D2 CR2 files with windows. – Olivier Jul 6 '18 at 17:15

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