What to Do When You See “Paint Cannot Read This File” Error on Windows 11/10

MS Paint is a basic graphic editing tool that comes preinstalled with Windows OS. It is still considered the first choice for several Windows users when it comes to performing basic annotations and other editing stuff especially when dealing with screenshots.

However, it does have its own share of issues, and one of them that arises when users open an image file with an unsupported file format. At this point, few users encounter Paint cannot read this file error. And, it looks something like as you can see in the screenshot below –

Here we are going to discuss in which you can fix the issue.

What Causes “Paint Can’t Read This File” On Windows PC?

The “Paint cannot read this file” error appears when trying to open an image in MS Paint on Windows 11/10. Possible reasons are:

  1. Unsupported Format: MS Paint only works with JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, and TIFF formats. Trying other formats like PDF triggers the error.
  2. App Issues: Corrupt or outdated MS Paint can cause this. Running a System File Checker (SFC) scan or updating the app from the Microsoft Store can help.
  3. File Corruption: If the image file is damaged due to incomplete downloads, improper modifications, or malware, the error can occur. Redownload, use a different source, or scan with antivirus.
  4. OS Problems: Outdated or infected Windows OS can affect MS Paint and other apps. Updating Windows or running a full system scan can resolve this.

How To Fix Paint Cannot Read This File

Now that you know the potential reasons to the error, it’s time to fix it. Few computer experts have suggested the following effective workarounds:

Solution No. 1 – Update Windows

Updating Windows is a simple move that can help you fix bugs and resolve any app-related compatibility issues because of which you are not able to open images in Microsoft Paint. To update Windows 11, follow the steps mentioned below. In case, you are running Windows 10, you can follow the steps mentioned in this post.

Step 1 – Open Settings by pressing Windows + I.

Step 2 – From the bottom left, click on Windows Update.

Windows Update

Step 3 – Click on Check for updates from the right-hand side.

Check for updates

Solution No. 2 – Update Paint In Microsoft Store

When it comes to updates, unlike other apps, not keeping Microsoft Store up-to-date for a while can lead to problems.So, if you haven’t updated it in a while maybe now’s the good time to update it. Here are the steps to update Microsoft Paint via the settings app –

Step 1 –  In the Windows search bar, type Microsoft Store.

Microsoft Store

Step 2 –  From the left-hand pane, click on Library.

click on Library

Step 3 – Scroll down and locate Paint and see if there is an update available. If there is, you will see an Update on the right-hand side.

locate Paint

Solution No. 3 – Use A Third-Party Converter

Oftentimes, the respective error arises when the image that you are trying to open in Microsoft Paint has an unsupported file format. In such a case you can download a utility that can help convert images. Here is a list of some of the best image converters for Windows.

However, if you normally bump into a scenario where you have to convert HEIC images to JPG/ PNG for Paint, you can use a third-party converter like HEIC Converter. It is a simple utility that doesn’t just let you convert HEIC images to JPG or PNG but even offers several other great features as can be seen in this post.

Here are the steps to convert HEIC files to JPG/ PNG with the help of HEIC Converter –

Step 1 – Download, install and run HEIC Converter for Windows.

Step 2 – Add the folder of HEIC photos or Add individual images by clicking on the appropriate option. You can also drag and drop HEIC images right into the interface.

HEIC images

Step 3 – Next, you can select/ deselect images that you want to convert or remove from the conversion process.

deselect images

Step 4 – From the right-hand side tweak settings as per your requirements. Here you can

  • Select the desired image Format, whether you want to convert the image to JPG or PNG.
  • Select the Quality.
  • Choose to Keep Exif data if you want to retain it.
  • Select your output path and even choose quality.

Step 5 – Once you have selected the settings, click on the Convert button to start the conversion process.

Solution No. 4 – Run SFC Scan

Corrupt system files are often the root cause behind applications on Windows malfunctioning and Microsoft Paint is no different. Here is how you can check for corrupt system files via Windows Administrative Command Prompt –

Step 1 – Open The Administrative Command Prompt by typing cmd in the Windows search bar and then clicking on Run as administrator from the right-hand side.

Step 2 – When the Command Prompt opens, type sfc /scannow and hit the Enter key. Let the scan process complete and see if the issue has been resolved.

Command Prompt

Solution No. 5 – Repair Paint

Windows offers a provision where you can repair the app from within the interface provided if there is a possibility. Here are the steps to repair paint in Windows –

Step 1 – Press Windows + I and open Settings.

Step 2 – From the left-hand pane, click on Apps and click on Installed apps from the right.

Installed apps

Step 3 – In the search bar on the right, type Paint.

type Paint

Step 4 – When the option appears, click on the three horizontal dots and click on Advanced options.

Advanced options

Step 5 – Under Reset, click on Repair.

Solution No. 6 – Repair Image Files

It could be that you are unable to open a photo or photos in Microsoft Paint because they are corrupt. So, if the damage is well within control, there are several apps that can help you repair images. Once repaired you can try opening them in Paint.

We Hope We Fixed The Issue For You!

As can be inferred from this post, there are broadly two instances where you will find that the images are not opening in MS Paint – the first is when there is some issue with the Paint app or if the images you are trying to open are corrupt, the second is when the format of image you are trying to open is not supported by Paint. We have provided solutions for all these. Do let us if this post was helpful. For more such content, keep reading WeTheGeek.

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