Windows Metafile WMF

We explain the Windows Metafile (.WMF) format and how to view clipart saved in this format

QUESTION I have two computers linked by a wired home network, my main PC runs Windows 7 64-bit and the second one XP Pro with service pack 3.

I am having a lot of problems viewing my clip art collection (.WMF format) as thumbnails in Windows Explorer, and pictures in Windows Photo Viewer.

If I put a disc into my main PC explorer will list all the files but will not show as thumbnails, and when I double click them to show in Photo Viewer I get an error message which reads "Windows Photo Viewer can't open this picture because either Photo Viewer doesn't support this format or you don't have the latest updates to Photo Viewer"

Now if I put the disc into my second PC, go back to my main PC open network and go to the drive of the second PC my main PC will show all the files as thumbnails but I still get the same error message in Photo Viewer.  I have checked in Control Panel / Default Programs and the .WMF files are listed as being associated with Photo Viewer. If I change this to say, paint, then I can view them ok, but would still prefer to use Photo Viewer.

I have tried to find an update for Photo Viewer on the Internet but could not find anything that made any sense. Any help would be appreciated.

HELPROOM ANSWER: The reason for this somewhat confusing situation is down to the different ways in which Windows XP and Windows 7 handle Windows metafiles (.WMF format).

Although used frequently for clipart, the .WMF format is quite sophisticated and allows for the embedding for various other types of data. Unfortunately, these include system commands and other executable code which could wreak havoc with your PC.

Having identified the format as a security risk, Microsoft has removed thumbnail support for .WMF files and Photo Viewer won’t open them.

This is admittedly an inconvenience for someone who, like you, uses a large number of .WMF files, but the only way around it is to use a different viewer application to open them, such as Irfanview.

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