This was driving me crazy on multiple machines and, after playing around with a few options, I think I got to the root of the issue.
If you want to skip to the good stuff, just look for the list in the next section.
Basically, I think the issue is the result of several problems mixed together causing Photo Viewer to take up to 10 seconds to load. Once loaded, it seems more or less fine and will load quickly again the next time. This behavior led me to suspect that the problem was that the program was waiting for something to connect or time out.
It turns out that the default settings are less than ideal for performance. As most free apps in 2019, “free” is not always “free”.
Photo Viewer is trying to bring your photos into your connected life-style by connecting it up to your OneDrive account as well as enabling sharing for friends and family. To “speed things up”, they have also enabled hardware acceleration for you, whether your computer is suited for this set up or not (how convenient!).
So, the obvious answer is to disable these features.
Disable Unnecessary Features to Speed Things Up
- Go to "Settings"
- Open up Photo Viewer and wait for it to load complete. This will suck the first time but, hopefully, it will be the last time it takes so long
- Once it’s opened, click on the three dots in the top-right-hand corner
- Click on “settings”
- Disable online connectivity
- If “Microsoft OneDrive” is “on”, turn it “off”
- Disable the option under “People”
- (stay on this screen and move down to the next section)
- Disable hardware acceleration
- Scroll down until you see “Video”
- Under “Use hardware –accelerated video encoding”, if the option is “on” turn it “off”
- In the top-left-hand corner, click the back arrow
With any luck, this should fix things. Leave a comment and let me know if it worked for you
Update: May 2020
It looks like, for some users, Microsoft has started making the "OneDrive" switch less obvious. If you don't see it look under "Settings" > "Albums" and read the description carefully.
There is no "OneDrive" option. It's sneaky and it's buried in the description.
You will see that the last sentence is "Show suggested albums from your OneDrive account". This is the option that needs to be disabled.