I spent some time tracking down an annoying long-time bug with IrfanView, and have sort-of fixed it.
I use a Windows explorer equivalent that has everything I want… except it’s old and has slow processing of big thumbnailed folders of images. There is no replacing this Windows explorer equivalent, as no-one has ever made anything as good as it.
This means I occasionally need to right-click on a big folder of images, and “View with Irfanview”. Yet IrfanView displays an error message every time, and the view then defaults to the next highest folder. This error (bug?) has been consistent across different versions of IrfanView and different PCs, and for many different folders.
The problem at first appears to be an incorrectly written Windows Registry entry. Here’s how some have fixed it in the past. In the Windows Registry find…
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Directory\shell\Browse with &IrfanView\command
BAD ENTRY: “C:\Program Files\IrfanView\i_view64.exe” “%1 /thumbs”
CHANGE ENTRY TO: “C:\Program Files\IrfanView\i_view64.exe” “%1” /thumbs
Note the “‘s. This at least fixed the error message for me… but then meant that no thumbnails displayed in either the target or higher folder. The command to show the view in Thumbnail view was accepted and that mode was active in the opened IrfanView window.
Then the other possible solution was tried, in which one simply turns off and then on the IrfanView toggle for this feature. This needs to be done in Administrator Mode. That did not work either…
The solution, in the end was… to just turn off IrfanView’s “View with Irfanview” option for folders, and instead to use its direct competitor the free FastStone Image Viewer for the same purpose…
Works perfectly. I now right-click on a folder in my regular Windows explorer utility, “Browse with FastStone” and it opens a big folder as a thumbnailed and correctly date-sorted folder view. Once the thumbnails are cached, FastStone is as quick to open and close as Irfanview (even though it’s 32-bit). It also offers bookmarking of Favourites, unlike IrfanView. It can also natively preview and open .JP2’s from Archive.org, though it does not support .8BF plugins as IrfanView does.
Ok, so that’s my solution.
Lastly, you may want to change the “staring eye” icon that FastStone uses. It gets old very quickly, when it’s sitting in the Taskbar. For this reason alone I can’t imagine FastStone becoming a replacement for IrfanView in any other way than to occasionally open a huge folder of images with lots of image-laden sub-folders under it.
I tried the freeware icon-replacer Resource Hacker, but had no success with forcing the FastStone .EXE to change its main Taskbar icon.