Thumbnails play a significant role in providing users with a quick glimpse of the contents of files and folders in Windows 11. These image previews offer a convenient snapshot before accessing various documents, images, or videos. Despite being a useful feature within File Explorer, instances may arise where the database housing these thumbnail images becomes corrupted, leading to improper or missing thumbnail previews. Please see How to Fix System Tray Icons not showing in Taskbar on Windows 11, and How to Fix Taskbar Icons Missing on Windows 11.
Should you encounter such issues on your Windows 11 system, fret not. This guide elucidates the necessary steps to tackle thumbnail problems through three distinct methods: utilizing the Disk Cleanup legacy tool and leveraging the Command Prompt. The forthcoming sections will address each method and elucidate the precise steps to rectify thumbnail-related glitches. Here are other related guides Fix Windows Task Scheduler Error 0x1, Fix 0x800f0831 Error when installing Windows update, and Fix Error 1069: Windows could not start the Veeam backup service on local computer.
Method 1: Enabling Thumbnails via File Explorer Settings
If your File Explorer seems bereft of thumbnails, it’s possible that the feature responsible for these previews is disabled. To enable thumbnails for File Explorer, follow these steps:
Press “Windows key + E” to open File Explorer. Click on the “three dots” button, known as the “See more” button, and select “Options.”
In the Folder Options window that appears, navigate to the “View” tab. Uncheck the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” option.
Confirm your changes by clicking “Apply” and then “OK.”
With these adjustments completed, File Explorer should regain the ability to display thumbnails for folders and compatible files.
Method 2: Clearing Thumbnail Cache via Windows Settings
To address image preview discrepancies by clearing the thumbnail database cache, follow these instructions. Please see Cache in Windows 11: Easy Steps to Clear them from Your System.
Press the “Windows key + I” to open Windows Settings. Click on “System” and then select “Storage” on the right side.
Select “Temporary files.”
Uncheck the current selections and check the “Thumbnails” item. Complete the process by clicking “Remove files.”
Subsequently, when you reopen File Explorer, you should see thumbnails for your files and folders.
Method 3: Rectifying Thumbnail Cache through Disk Cleanup
When thumbnail problems persist, using Disk Cleanup can be an effective solution. Please see Cache in Windows 11: Easy Steps to Clear them from Your System.
Close File Explorer, then press the Windows key to open the Start menu. Search for “disk cleanup” and open the topmost result.
Uncheck any other selected items and then select the “Thumbnails” option.
Confirm your choices by clicking “OK” and then “Delete Files.”
Upon completing these steps, your Windows 11 file manager should once again showcase thumbnails, resolving the issue at hand.
Method 4: Repairing Thumbnail Cache via Command Prompt
For a comprehensive resolution using Command Prompt, adhere to these guidelines:
Type “command prompt” in the search box, select the Command Prompt app, and run it as an administrator.
Terminate the File Explorer services with this command:
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
Clear Windows 11 thumbnail cache files using this command:
del /f /s /q /a %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\thumbcache_*.db
Press “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” to open Task Manager. In the Processes tab, locate “Windows Explorer,” right-click it, and choose “Restart.”
This sequence of commands will recreate the thumbnail cache, ultimately resolving the thumbnail-related issues within File Explorer.
In conclusion, Windows 11’s thumbnail feature enhances user experience, but occasional glitches can mar its functionality. By leveraging these methods—enabling thumbnails, utilizing Windows Settings, employing Disk Cleanup, and wielding Command Prompt—you can surmount these issues and restore seamless thumbnail previews within your system’s File Explorer.