Most digital cameras today support the RAW image format. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t. RAW images cannot be viewed in Windows image viewer or Windows Live Photo Gallery, and Explorer doesn’t show thumbnails of RAW images. Thankfully, the Windows Imaging Component for Vista and 7 makes it possible for 3rd party tools to add support for RAW image formats to Windows, complete with thumbnails in Explorer.
FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack is such a third party platform that brings support for more than 20 different RAW image formats to Windows. The codec pack currently supports the TGA raster image format along with the 20 raw image formats from more than 13 camera manufacturers, covering about 300 camera models.
FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack supports both 32 and 64-bit editions of Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP SP3. The package also ships with a Windows XP thumbnail provider, that enables thumbnail view support in XP SP3 Explorer. This codec pack also enables you to set RAW images as desktop wallpapers.
Windows XP users can also use the official Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer that enables users to view photos captured in RAW image formats from supported Canon and Nikon digital cameras.
To enable thumbnail support for other image formats not natively supported in Windows XP, you can use ThumbView.