Here's my really short list of highly recommended free downloadable windows photo editors ...
MY RECOMMENDATIONS (based mostly on this thread & some quick tests)
1. http://www.irfanview.com/ (use Irfanview as your primary viewer)
2. http://www.getpaint.net/ (use Paint.Net as your primary editor)
3. http://www.gimp.org/ (use The Gimp as your very functional editor)
4. http://www.artweaver.de (use Artweaver to create digital paintings)
[ from alt.comp.freeware ]