Viewing DICOM (Medical) CDs on Windows 7

Of the large number of medical practices shifting to Electronic Medical Records/EMR most are also updating older PCs at the same time. Updating to Windows 7 (generally 64-bit) raises compatibility problems with older medical imaging CDs and with current CDs created with older versions of software. In my case, I have two customers who’ve recently replaced many of their PCs with systems running Windows 7 x64, particularly for the physicians. Both experienced problems viewing diagnostic images (DICOM) on discs using eFilm Lite, but the same issues may apply to other packages as well. When this happens, it’s necessary to either use a different software package or (possibly) jump through some hoops to use a different version of the bundled software.

eFilm Lite is a DICOM viewing package from Merge Healthcare, a medical imaging software vendor. When medical imaging offices (MRI, CT, etc.) create CDs for patients, many use Merge’s eFilm Workstation product to create the CD with an included viewer, eFilm Lite. eFilm Lite versions prior to 3.3 (3.4 is the current version) are not compatible with 64-bit versions of Windows (Vista and Windows 7) and may experience issues on 32-bit Windows 7.

For home users working only with one or two CDs of their own images, the simplest solution may be to copy the entire CD onto the hard drive (in a folder of its own), then locate a copy of a newer (or possibly much older) version of the eFilm Lite software online and follow the instructions to replace the copy that was included with their CD. Much the same thing can be done by users who have multiple CDs where only some of them don’t work – a technically savvy patient, friend or relative should be able to copy the software from a newer CD to use with image files from an older one.

A tip for those attempting to use a different version of the software: use the file dates in Windows’ Detail view to help you determine which files are part of the software and which are part of the data. Data (image) files will generally have either the date of the study (MRI, CT, etc.) or the date on which the disc was created; program-related files will have other dates.

Large medical practices may have existing imaging systems into which they import patient images; those systems are beyond the scope of this article but you’re welcome to suggest them in the comments, particularly if they’re within the budget of small practices.

Small to midsize medical practices are likely to simply have doctors looking at diagnostic images on their PCs, and those practices may need local DICOM viewer software capable of opening a standard DICOM CD. Beyond allowing compatibility with CDs that include an incompatible viewer, having a locally-installed DICOM viewer package allows the physicians to get more familiar with the interface and may let them make better use of diagnostic images.

There are quite a few free DICOM viewer packages available (as well as lists of them), and I’ll add updates to this list as I get a chance to look at them and have a doctor or two try them.


MicroDicom is a Windows-based free DICOM viewer, compatible with both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. It has fairly quiet support forums, and a responsive developer. It’s available both with and without an installer. The website clearly states “This program has no CE mark (EU) or FDA approval (USA) nor any other national or international approval as medical device. It is therefore not to be used for clinical purposes and in any way to effect patient management.”

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  1. How do I get a program to view my ct scans which I could view before. I have Windows 7

    1. If they’re fairly recent and you received them on a CD from your doctor or hospital, you should be able to use the software on that CD. If they’re old (4+ years?) the software on the CD may be incompatible with newer versions of Windows (especially Windows 8) and you may need to use DICOM software other than what’s on the CD.

      If you do need to use separate DICOM viewing software, it’ll generally have an option for reading from a CD/DVD. I’m afraid I can’t give detailed instructions, all of the packages are going to be somewhat different but a quick look in the manual or help for your program should steer you in the right direction.

  2. i am trying to open a xray cd.but whenever i put it in my pc,it doesn’t opens.i mean to say,no options come.i have the radiant dicom viewer software.please tell me what to do?

  3. Hello,

    The v3.1.0.21 version of EFILMLT.EXE, included with my recent Knee MRI, runs just fine on my version of 64-bit Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. (Fully patched and updated.)

    1. Copy all CD contents to disk.
    2. Right click the EFILMLT.EXE.
    3. Click Run as administrator.
    4. Enter Local Administrator credentials.
    5. Click OK.
    6. Select the image study you want to view.
    7. Click View.


  4. You can also try out Jack Imaging. they have a medical image viewer that will load the CD and display the images in your web browser.

  5. Saince Inc is also one of the leading providers of Digital Imaging Solutions to the hospitals and clinics worldwide. Saince efilm workstation / DICOM viewer is number one radiology workstation and most widely used diagnostic station world wide.

    some of the salient features of Saince efilm workstation:

    1. eFilm Workstation can be used with eFilm Mobile (iPhone/iPad app) that is purchased separately from the Apple AppStore.

    2.eFilm Mobile allows users to view studies.

    3.view their eFilm study manager and remotely control eFilm to forward studies to other DICOM devices.

    To know more about our Digital Imaging Solution, kindly visit

    1. How about medical records kept in electronic format? I asked for a copy of my records, they gave me a CD containing only a PDF and the pages of the record were totally out of sequence and seemingly in a random order. Certain pages appear multiple times. I expected to be getting a DICOM file that I could use on one of the “lite” dicom viewers that are available as free downloads.
      Can I get the DICOM file from the hospital with the format that is used in the hospital? What will I need to be able to view the pages with a searchable format?

      1. If you requested a copy of your medical records, that goes to the Medical Records department which likely gave you a copy of your chart. If you’ve been a patient at that hospital for years, the somewhat random order may be caused by their shift to electronic medical records (EMR) and the scanning in of old charts. Any more current information will have gone into the EMR (and will probably have generated better-looking PDF pages), while a lot of the older and intermediate information may have been scanned in from older charts. There may even be some things from the EMR timeframe where some things were going into the EMR (labs, medication records, etc.) but other things were still on paper (physician notes).

        If you contact the radiology/imaging department and ask for a copy of your studies, they’ll pull those out of their DICOM-based imaging system and provide them on a CD/DVD as what you were expecting.

  6. I just got a cd from a CT scan and it has a program pbcdview.exe on it. When I run it it get the error “cache directory dosn’t exist”. Anybody know why? Windows 10 Desktop. Same when I run it from the HD after copying.

    1. It’s possible that the software the imaging company has licensed for generating those CDs is a few years out of date and isn’t Windows 10 compatible. While this page is somewhat out of date, you may be able to use one of the free programs on here to import and view the files from that CD – typically the CD contains a DICOM or similarly named folder with the actual study data, plus a fairly simple viewer program that just looks for those files on the CD. Because the raw files are there, you can use other programs to view them or you can take the CD to another medical practice and they’ll be able to view the study (or in some cases import it into their own system).

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