Can’t set Microsoft Picture Manager as Default—Solved!

10-2-2011. We interrupt this blog entry  for this note…

Note: my solution (see “Here’s what worked”, below) fixes the underlying problem (corrupted registry entries), but is tedious and very involved. Two readers found other solutions that involve less work. For the “Whatever works…” approach, see the responses from Sarah and Preston that follow this article for details. Basically, Sarah edited the ois.exe path in the registry, and preston copied ois.exe from his Office 14 folder structure into the corresponding location in his Office 11 structure. I don’t know if their approaches–or mine, for that matter–will fix the problem on any given computer. But… whatever works for you.

And now we resume our irregularly-schedule blog entry.

This past Thursday, I downloaded the freshly minted Office 2010 Professional Plus from MSDN (one of several Microsoft subscription services that include first access to newly released Microsoft software). I removed all traces of the beta versions I had been running, and installed Office 2010 on my desktop and laptop—seemingly without a hitch.

The hitch

On my laptop, however, there was a hitch. For some reason (cough, registry corruption, cough), on my laptop, I was no longer able to set Microsoft Office Picture Manager—the graphics display and editing program that comes with Office—as the default for opening/viewing pictures. In fact, MOPM didn’t show up as one of the Open With choices at all!

When I clicked Choose default program…, Microsoft Picture Manager didn’t show up in the Recommended Programs list, nor in the Other Programs list, nor did it appear even after clicking Browse… and selecting it in the Office 14 programs folder and clicking Open there. It was there—it’s called OIS.EXE—but it resisted every attempt to add it as a program for opening pictures.

Here’s what I tried

So, I tried a variety of rescue attempt. First, I verified that it had been installed correctly by switching to a different Windows user profile, and verifying correct operation there. Yes. That worked, so the problem must be registry corruption.

Sometimes, you can fix registry corruption by using the /r switch when you start a program—which re-registers some programs (such as Word). I don’t know if /r is supposed to work with OIS.EXE, but it didn’t.

I went into Programs and Features (I use Windows 7), removed Microsoft Office Picture Manager from Office Tools, and restarted Windows 7. Then I reinstalled MOPM, rebooted Windows 7 for luck, and tried again. No luck.

I also tried several other routes, which included going through Windows 7’s Set your default programs and Associate a file type or protocol with a program, both of which are accessed through Control Panel4Programs. None of this worked. Every place I expected to see Microsoft Picture Manager, it was MIA!

Here’s what worked

First, I completely uninstalled Office 2010, and rebooted Windows 7 as instructed by Office Setup. Next, I opened the registry editor (Click Start, and type “regedit” into the Search box, and click on regedit.exe). I searched for and deleted every registry entry that so much as mentioned ois.exe. There were about 9 or 10 entries, as I recall. Then, I rebooted Windows 7… for luck.

Next, I reinstalled Office 2010. MOPM is included by default when you install Office 2010. And, yes, I rebooted again, just for luck. I thought I’d give Setup and Windows every possible chance to fix the problem when I wasn’t watching. After it booted up, I went to my Pictures library, right-clicked on a .jpg file, and presto! Microsoft Picture Manager was back!

To set it as the default, I clicked Choose default program…, enabled Always use the selected program to open this kind of file, and I was back in business.

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22 Responses to Can’t set Microsoft Picture Manager as Default—Solved!

  1. Silk Plants says:

    I’m having the same problem but I can’t seem to find the ois.exe files like you did. Can you tell me what path you took to get to those files? Thank you.

  2. herbt3 says:

    For Office 2007, it should be here, unless you install to a different drive:

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14

  3. Rachel says:

    Wow, thanks for this helpful post. I followed the instructions and was able to get it working again. I tried everything I could to keep from having to uninstall and reinstall, but it seems like that’s what you have to do.

  4. Vinodkumar says:

    Hi All,

    Thanks a LOT for the infornmation. IOS.exe file helped me to resolvean USER issue.

  5. Ashwani says:

    I’m using Windows 7 enterprise and Office 2007.Even after reinstallation, MS Office Picture manager doesn’t works and gives the message: Stopped working even when i used at the very 1st attempt.

    Please suggest…

  6. herbt3 says:

    As a diagnostic, I would create a new Windows user, and see if MOPM works for the new user. If it does work for the new Windows user profile, then it’s most likely a registry corruption issue. At that point, you could try uninstalling, meticulously removing every OIS.EXE entry, and then reinstalling–which is what I did to resolve a different issue–or, you can migrate to the new user profile and abandon the one that’s corrupted.

  7. Sarah says:

    I’m using Windows 7, and I upgraded Office from 2003 to 2007 and then had trouble setting MOPM as the default program to open .jpg files.

    After I read your post that you fixed the problem by uninstalling, clearing out the registry entries, and reinstalling, I searched my registry for ois.exe and found some entries that had the location for MOPM as C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\ois.exe. That was the old location when I had Office 2003 installed. I changed the locations to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\ois.exe, which is where the program is currently installed for Office 2007 (I think it would be Office14 for Office 2010). Then it worked again, without having to reboot or uninstall and reinstall!

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

  8. Preston says:

    Hi Herb – Thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful article. As Sarah pointed out on the last post, it was easy for her to avoid the tedious uninstall/reinstall that you performed to correct the problem. However, I found an even easier way after reading Sarah’s post (and it doesn’t involve even editing the registry). Since the problem is that the registry doesn’t know how to find ois.exe after a Office is upgraded, I simply put a copy of the ois.exe file in the old office folder that it used to be in. In my case, Office 2010 was in the OFFICE14 folder (and that’s where I found ois.exe). I simply made a copy of it into the OFFICE11 folder, and voila: the problem was solved. Your article is found at the top of Google’s search for missing Microsoft Office Picture Manager or OIS.EXE, so you might consider revising the beginning of it to reflect Sarah and my findings – that way saving site visitors from having to get to the end of the article before they find the “easy” fix (and helping them avoid uninstalling and reinstalling).

  9. herbt3 says:

    Thanks, Preston. I added a beginning note indicating Sarah’s and your responses and solutions. Hopefully, something in this will work for others encountering the problem.

  10. Roy Henig says:

    Hi herb – thank to you all, I might have found the easiest solution yet:
    1. Right clicking on a picture.
    2. Open with
    3. Choose default program
    4. Browse
    5. Microsoft office
    6. Office15
    7. Ois
    8. Open

  11. herbt3 says:

    That’s the way it’s supposed to work, Roy. But, a registry glitch sometimes keeps that method from working–here’s what I said in the original blog posting:

    When I clicked Choose default program…, Microsoft Picture Manager didn’t show up in the Recommended Programs list, nor in the Other Programs list, nor did it appear even after clicking Browse… and selecting it in the Office 14 programs folder and clicking Open there. It was there—it’s called OIS.EXE—but it resisted every attempt to add it as a program for opening pictures.

    But… your step 6 intrigues me–Office 15???

  12. Roy Henig says:

    Correction to 6 – Office14

  13. herbt3 says:


  14. Rod says:

    I’m using mso2003 and when I open a picture in MOPM I get a notification that says “do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer” this comes up everytime I open a picture. how can I stop this without changing level of notification

  15. herbt3 says:

    It sounds like a registry corruption issue. Often, but not always, such issues can be resolved by removing the application (MOPM, in this case), rebooting, and then putting the application back, which can cause the errant registry entries to be re-written. You can confirm that the problem is corruption by creating a new Windows user login ID and seeing if the application works correctly when logged in using that new user ID–if so, then there is corruption in your existing user profile/Windows ID. I haven’t had to do this in Windows 7… but there were a number of times when using Windows XP and Office 2003 that the only way I was able to “solve” such problems was to completely migrate to a new Windows user profile (ID). I put “solve” in quotes because the problem never really was solved, only worked around.

  16. Rod says:

    thanks for the quick response, do I have to remove ms2003 as a whole or is there a way to remove and reinstall just mopm

  17. herbt3 says:

    Just MOPM. Go into Control Panel, Programs and Features (or whatever it’s called in your version of Windows), and find Microsoft Office, and click on it, then click on Change – Add or Remove Features – Continue. Go into Office Tools (at least that’s where it is in Office 2010, which is all I have installed now). Change the installation status to Not Available, and click Continue… and finish the change. You might not really need to reboot, but I generally do because it’s a good way to make sure that the change is committed to the registry.

    After rebooting, come back to the same place and change the installation for MOPM to Run from My Computer. Click Continue and finish. Then cross your fingers and try opening a picture.

  18. Rod says:

    ok I will give it a try, by the way, I’m using windows 7 and I created a new user account and mopm is no where to be found on the new account, all the other ms2003 programs are there but no mopm

  19. herbt3 says:

    Hmmm… I would expect to find it under Start> All Programs> MS Office > Office 2003 > Office 2003 Tools, unless you explicitly installed Office 2003 only for the other user, but in which case you wouldn’t be seeing the other programs listed there, either. Until you remove it, ois.exe (mopm) should be in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\OIS.EXE. [x86 presumes that you’re using the 64-bit version of Windows 7; if you’re using the 32 bit version, it might just be named Program Files without the (x86)… I can’t be sure, since I don’t have a 32-bit version of Windows 7 installed anywhere at present.]

  20. Rod says:

    I found the MOPM in the new profile and it is working correctly, is there a way to get everything in the corrupt profile to the new profile? including my outlook contacts, e-mails, files and etc?

  21. herbt3 says:

    Copy them. In Outlook, most of your stuff–email, contacts, appointments, etc.–is contained in a .pst file. I’ve forgotten where it’s kept in Outlook 2003, but, it should be easy enough to find.

    One way to find other files is to go to your old user folder in Windows Explorer and reverse sort by date (most recent stuff first). That should show you which folders contain things you’ve been working on most recently, providing a good hint about where things are located and which folder structures need to be copied. Copy them to the parallel folders in the new user profile.

  22. GC says:

    Thank you so much. I finally found the site that helped me through this ordeal of going from one picture file before I could finally edit the photos. You are amazing!!!!!!

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