FastPreview is a free graphics tool which makes it easy to view images and access their metadata from Explorer.
The program adds a preview of your image to Explorer's right-click menu, perhaps useful with a folder Details view (although of course you could open Explorer's Preview pane).
FastPreview also adds an "FP" tab to the Explorer image Properties dialog, which is then filled with every scrap of metadata it can find (Adobe eXtensible Metadata Language (XMP), Exif and IPTC tags are supported). There's so much information that finding what you need can sometimes be a problem, but when you do need the full metadata picture then it will be helpful.
You also get a simple image viewer, although this is probably the weakest part of the package. It provides right-click options to choose your preferred resampling method or display the standard Explorer context menu, but otherwise you're probably better off with the standard Windows viewer.
Version 4.1 brings:
* FIX: Crasher with transparent backgrounds (#4)
* FIX: Some meta data fields were omitted (#2)
* NEW: Better keyboard handling (#5, #6)
* FIX: Some settings were not properly recalled (#8)
FastPreview's image viewer is weak, but the context menu preview works well, and if you also need full access to image metadata then the program could be worth a look