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I had to redo a computer and I installed Office 2003 on it which is what it had on it before I reloaded everything OS and apps. I also had to install Microsoft Photo Editor from a CD I had of Office97. I did a custom install from Office97 CD went to Microsoft Office Tools and only selected Photo editor to install. Now it seems that photo editor reads some files but not all. I seems that its a file size problem it seems that anything over a certain .jpg size the photo editor says "Unable to read file".
Seems surprising that you have to guess what the problem is.
Might be worth proving the case, say by shrinking a sample jpg in a simple program like Irfanview (www.irfanview.com/) - then try opening the smaller file: take it to an authority like Microsoft if that's true.