While more recent releases of Windows operating systems come with the Windows Imaging Component included by default, older platform releases from Microsoft can have WIC integrated. The Redmond company has made available two standalone downloads of the Windows Imaging Component, tailored to 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) copies of Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003. Operating systems such as Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 and R2, already feature WIC.
“WIC technology provides an extensible framework for working with images and with image metadata. WIC makes it possible for independent software vendors and independent hardware vendors to develop their own image codecs and to obtain the same platform support as standard image formats. For example, these standard image formats include TIFF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, and WMPhoto formats. WIC is included in Windows Vista. Additionally, WIC is available as a download for Windows XP,” Microsoft explained.
WIC-enabled applications can take advantage of the technology from Microsoft in order to not only display and edit a variety of image formats, but also to manage metadata associated with the images. This, of course, requires the presence of the Windows Imaging Component, as well as of a WIC-compliant CODEC. Specifically, camera manufacturers around the world are responsible for building codecs designed to interface with WIC. As a result, customers are able to enjoy support for proprietary image formats in Windows.
“The Windows Imaging Component supports discovery of new and proprietary (e.g., Raw) image formats. Any application that uses WIC can take advantage of new image formats as soon as their CODECs (encoder/decoders) are installed on the computer. WIC includes updated CODECs for JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, & BMP that are more secure than previously released CODECs for these formats, and also supports a new high-performance image format called Windows Media Photo. Additionally, WIC provides metadata readers and writers for common image metadata formats, and enables applications to preserve their own metadata inside image files so they don't need to create "sidecar files",” Microsoft added.
Windows Imaging Component (32-bit) and (64-bit) are available for download here