I have tens of thousands of small image files like game screenshots that are a pain to backup, and would rather just put them in an uncompressed container (archive in "store" mode). Without extracting them for viewing. I used ACDSee in the past, it could enter archives in its explorer view, but was slow to change between images. I now use XnView MP which is pretty good, but it doesn't have that archive plugin which regular XnView has (which is as slow as ACDsee). Anyway, XnView MP is very fast when facerolling the right arrow or just generally scrolling with the mouse wheel. It loads a low-res quick preview of a file and only then renders the good quality version (something like Lightroom). This kind of quickness is essential to me. Does anybody know another solution that is both fast and can browse archives?

I tried:

  • Honeyview (free, portable) fast but lacks the explorer view, like the progress bar scrub to seek images, but a bit too minimal - with my autohotkey mouse macros it should be possible to make a fast close to get back to totalcommander + associate certain archive type or extension only to this
  • QuickViewer ridiculously fast and free, but some large photos get stuck in the corner zoomed out, archive reading is fine at least, might keep this only for viewing the screenshot archives, its explorer view is a bit clumsy though but actually good for archives only: doesn't enter to list the contents, allowing fast switch on the sidebar
  • FastStone MaxView - open archives one by one (so relies on an explorer like total commander, in a similar way as honeyview), interesting for its index view that shows thumbnails inside the archive (that's good!), worth a closer look (but paid), no keyboard shortcur for toggling the file list is a bummer
  • FastStone (doesn't open archives, otherwise fast, like xnview, but not for large photos)
  • 123 Photo Viewer - paid app, very fast to seek, but slow to open folders, no archive support, but was pleasantly surprised by justified grid layout, but overall it's for casuals
  • PicView - handles archives but UI is useless, images get stuck in the low res preview
  • ImageGlass (free, portable) slow, no archives, no explorer view
  • nomacs - after reaching the end of the archive it freezes, compared to xnview it feels like a toy
  • FastPictureViewer - no archive, actually the slowest yet even on lower res images
  • VoidViewer - too minimal, no archives or at least they didn't work for me
  • ACDSee 5 from oldversion - seems less bloated than the new ones, but image loading is like on an old dialup, I can see them being partially loaded from top to bottom when seeking fast :D otherwise, the explorer and archive opening is kind of what I need (why doesn't xnviewmp have this, would be perfect)
  • ACDSee free - not really, no archives, slow
  • new ACDSee, bloated and slow, even if it has archive support
  • JPEGView - just nope
  • Regular xnview - slow seeking: image only shows when I let go of scrolling, it's like a less smart xnviewmp, even if archives work they are extracted to temp so I scroll too far and end up at random images in the temp folder!
  • Gonvisor - slow, windows 3.1 UI
  • Imagine - irfanviewish UX oddities, no archives it seems
  • Maybe a different approach? instead of looking for a viewer that will handle that, replace your archive with a mountable virtual drive (or maybe even an ISO)? Windows 10 has built in support for mounting ISO and VHD files.
    – Lockszmith
    Sep 17, 2021 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


I am all the way back in ACDSee 3, which is over 15 years old, just because I need this feature. I have yet to find anything better than XnView for all other uses, but without this one feature I cannot use it. I am the one who has the decade+ old request thread for it.

  • I came up with a workflow that works for me. XnView can see into .cbr (and generate a thumbnail), but I associate them with Honeyview. They open instantly from XnView to full screen of Honeyview. If I need to see the thumbnails inside the .cbr I "Browse with MaxView". I create the .cbr files with MaxZip that I configured just for this purpose, just a regular archive with the custom extension. Sep 17, 2021 at 21:23

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