Thumbnails Are Not Showing in Windows 10: 12 Ways to Fix

Get your thumbnails back by adjusting a couple of simple settings

Reading time icon 6 min. read


Readers help support Windows Report. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Tooltip Icon

Read the affiliate disclosure page to find out how can you help Windows Report effortlessly and without spending any money. Read more

Key notes

  • If thumbnail previews are not showing in Windows 10, it might be due to wrong File Explorer settings.
  • A quick, yet effective fix to this problem is to tweak your File Explorer Options a bit.

Thumbnails are helpful, but unfortunately, many reported that thumbnail previews are not showing in Windows 10. Many others complained that folder thumbnails are not showing in Windows 11 either. Here, we will show you how to fix this issue permanently on your PC.

Why are my thumbnails not showing the pictures? Here is why Windows 10 thumbnails are not showing:

  • Wrong File Explorer Options settings or bugs within the app
  • Broken or corrupt system files, or issues with the folder settings
  • If you have disabled your thumbnail preview, they will not show up.
  • OneDrive is probably full. Uninstalling OneDrive fixed the problem for some of our readers.

What can I do if Windows 10 thumbnails are not showing?

1. Check File Explorer Options

  1. Press Windows key + S and enter folder options. Select File Explorer Options from the menu.
  2. After the File Explorer Options window opens, go to the View tab. Ensure that the Always show icons, never thumbnails option is unchecked.
    always show icons some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  3. Now, click on Apply and OK to save changes.

2. Restore File Explorer Options to default

  1. Press Windows key + S and type folder options. Select File Explorer Options.
  2. When the File Explorer Options window opens, click the Restore Defaults button.
    restore defaults png thumbnails not showing windows 10
  3. Navigate to the View tab and click the Restore Defaults button. Next, click on Apply and OK to save changes.

This solution can also help speed up a slow File Explorer, so be sure to try it.

3. Run a quick SFC scan

  1. Press Windows key + X and choose PowerShell (Admin).
    powershell admin windows key not working
  2. Type the following command and press Enter: sfc /scannow
  3. Wait for the scan to complete. Note that this process can take up to 15 minutes, so don’t interrupt it.

4. Use Disk Cleanup to remove your thumbnails

  1. Press Windows key + S and enter disk cleanup. Select Disk Cleanup from the menu.
  2. Once Disk Cleanup starts, you’ll be asked to select the drive you wish to scan. Select your System drive. By default, it should be C, and click on OK.
    drive selection disk cleanup Thumbnail previews not showing
  3. Wait while Disk Cleanup scans your drive.
    disk cleanup scan Thumbnail previews not showing
  4. Check the box for Thumbnails from the list and click on OK. A few users are also suggesting selecting Temporary files, so you might want to do that.
    select thumbnails disk cleanup some thumbnails not showing windows 10

If you’re an advanced user, you can remove the thumbnail cache by using Command Prompt as shown below:

  1. Now open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Type the command below and press Enter: taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
    task kill windows 10 thumbnails not showing
  3. Now, type the following commands and press Enter after each: cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer attrib -h thumbcache_.db del thumbcache_.db
  4. After running these commands, restart your PC and check if the problem still appears.

This solution can also be useful to take care of PDF thumbnails that are not showing on Windows PCs. Such issues may affect any type of file and prevent the user from organizing their desktop and local files.

5. Restore default settings for the problematic folder

  1. Navigate to the problematic folder.
  2. Right-click the space in it and choose Properties from the menu.
    properties context menu Thumbnail previews not showing
  3. Navigate to Customize tab and click on the Restore Default button.
  4. Now, click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    customize tab some thumbnails not showing windows 10

6. Check advanced system settings

  1. Press Windows key + S and enter advanced system. Choose View advanced system settings from the menu.
  2. In the Performance section, click on the Settings button.
    system properties window Thumbnail previews not showing
  3. Uncheck Save taskbar thumbnail previews and check Show thumbnails instead of icons.
  4. Now, click on Apply and OK to save changes.

7. Use the Group Policy Editor

Note icon NOTE
GPE won’t work on Windows 10 Home, but we have a complete guide on how to add it nevertheless.
  1. Press Windows key + R enter gpedit.msc, and click on OK.
    gpedit run window some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  2. In the left pane, navigate to User Configuration and then Administrative Templates. Lastly, select Start Menu and Taskbar.
  3. In the right pane, locate and double-click Turn off taskbar thumbnails.
    turn off taskbar thumbnails group policy editor png thumbnails not showing windows 10
  4. Select Disable. Now, click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    disable policy turn off taskbar thumbnails Thumbnail previews not showing

There’s also another method you can use to fix the missing thumbnails. To do that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start Group Policy Editor.
  2. In the left pane, navigate to User Configuration. Expand Administrative templates and select Windows components. Next, click on File Explorer.
  3. In the right pane, double click the Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons.
    turn off dislay of thumbnails some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  4. Now, select Not Configured or Disabled. Finally, click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    turn off display of thumbnails disabled png thumbnails not showing windows 10

Once you change these settings, check if thumbnail previews not showing in Windows 10 issue is still there.

8. Scan your system for spyware

  1. Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app. Select the Update & Security option.
    update and security
  2. Click Windows Security in the left pane.
    windows security
  3. Choose Virus & threat protection.
    virus and threat
  4. Now, select Scan options.
    scan options windows 10 thumbnails not showing
  5. Finally, click the Scan now button.
    scan now

To perform a detailed scan, we will recommend using dedicated antivirus software in ESET NOD32. This tool uses cutting-edge technology and advanced machine learning to detect and remove the most stubborn malware on your PC.

It also provides online security, giving you a rare safety assurance in your digital life. It just might be all you need to forget all spyware-related issues.

9. Set a different default application for affected files

  1. Right-click the problematic file and choose Open with. Next, select Choose another app from the menu.
    choose another app some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  2. Select the desired application and check Always use this app to open files option.
  3. Now, click on OK to save changes.
    how to you want to open this file png thumbnails not showing windows 10

After making these changes, check if the problem is resolved.

10. Modify your registry

  1. Press Windows key + R, type regedit, and click OK.
    regedit run window some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  2. In the left pane, navigate to the left pane: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  3. In the right pane, look for DisableThumbnails DWORD. If the DWORD isn’t available, right-click the space in the right pane and choose New and then select DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  4. Enter DisableThumbnails as the name of the new DWORD.
    new dword some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  5. Double-click the newly created DisableThumbnails DWORD to open its properties.
  6. Now, set the Value data to 0 and click OK to save changes.
    value data change png thumbnails not showing windows 10

After making these changes, the problem with thumbnail previews not showing in Windows 10 should be gone.

11. Prevent Windows from deleting your thumbnail cache

Note icon NOTE
This solution can be potentially dangerous, so keep in mind that you’re changing these settings at your own risk.
  1. Press Windows key + R type appdata, and click OK.
    appdata run window Thumbnail previews not showing
  2. Navigate to the Local\Microsoft\Windows
  3. Locate the Explorer directory, right-click it, and choose Properties from the menu.
    properties some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  4. Navigate to the Security tab and click on Advanced.
    security tab explorer properties png thumbnails not showing windows 10
  5. After Advanced Security Settings opens, click on Add button.
    add new user Thumbnail previews not showing
  6. Now click on Select a principal.
    select a principal some thumbnails not showing windows 10
  7. In the Enter the object name to select field enter SYSTEM.
  8. Click the Check Names button. If everything is in order, click on OK.
    select user or group window png thumbnails not showing windows 10
  9. Set Type to Deny and click on Show basic permissions. Uncheck all options except Delete subfolders and files and Delete. Click OK to save changes.
    permission entry window

Thumbnails are pretty helpful, and many users prefer using them over icons. If, for some reason, thumbnail previews aren’t showing, this guide should help you restore thumbnails in Windows 10.

Our Restoring Google Thumbnails: A guide with easy ways article can also help you if you’re having thumbnail issues on Google, so don’t miss it.

Let us know the solution that worked for you in the comments below.