12 Ways to Fix Thumbnails Are Not Showing in Windows 10

Get your thumbnails back by adjusting a couple of simple settings

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about technology ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. He's a PC enthusiast and he... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Editor-in-Chief
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • 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.

XINSTALL BY CLICKING THE DOWNLOAD FILE
To fix various PC problems, we recommend Restoro PC Repair Tool:
This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues and remove viruses now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download Restoro PC Repair Tool that comes with Patented Technologies (patent available here).
  2. Click Start Scan to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click Repair All to fix issues affecting your computer's security and performance
  • Restoro has been downloaded by 0 readers this month.

Thumbnails are somewhat helpful, but unfortunately, many reported that thumbnail previews are not showing in Windows 10 for them.

This problem can affect all operating systems, and many reported that folder thumbnails are not showing in Windows 11. Today, we’re going to show you how to fix this issue permanently on your PC.

Why are my thumbnails not showing the pictures?

There are various reasons for the Windows 10 thumbnails not showing the issue. Below are some of the well-known causes:

  • Wrong File Explorer Options settings – If File Explorer isn’t properly configured, you won’t be able to view thumbnails at all. Adjusting its settings usually solves the problem.
  • Glitches with File Explorer – Issues with File Explorer can cause this problem. Updating your operating system might be required in such cases.
  • Broken or corrupt system files – If your system files get corrupted, certain components of your operating system won’t work properly. In such cases, system repair might be required.
  • Issues with the folder – Sometimes folder settings or other issues prevent the thumbnails from appearing properly.
  • OneDrive – This issue may also be caused by OneDrive if it is full. Uninstalling OneDrive fixed the problem for some of our readers so you should try it out as well.

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

Before you try to fix this problem, there are a couple of quick solutions and workarounds that you should try:

  • Close Task Manager – This is a simple workaround, but it seems that it works according to users, so feel free to try it.
  • Use the UNC path – If you’re using a network drive, try using IP_addresssharename to access the directory.
  • Use the right preview option from the context menu – This workaround applies only if you’re using ACDSee. Simply right-click the image and pick one of the two preview options.
  • Free up space – Having low storage space can cause issues with thumbnails. Free up some space and check if that helps.
  • Remove problematic apps – Audio and video recording software can often cause these types of problems. In some cases, even Java can cause this issue. Remove these apps manually or by using uninstaller software to fix the problem.
  • Install codecs – Missing codecs can cause this issue. Install Shark codecs or other codec packs, such as K-Lite to resolve this issue.
  • Check for missing DLLs – Missing DLLs, such as IconCodecService.dll can cause problems with your thumbnails.
  • Use third-party thumbnail generator – Sometimes using third-party software can help with this issue, and many reported success with Icaros or WinThumbsPreloader software.

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. Download an automatic tool

A system optimization tool can be very helpful in this situation. Restoro is a great option because it lets you scan your computer and generates detailed reports on its health and performance.

It also helps you find and delete junk files that occupy valuable space in your system. In addition, Restoro tries to fix or delete files from Windows Registry to remove any kind of error or crash.

Moreover, it has a feature that repairs virus damage to your system files from its massive repository containing over 25 million Windows files.

Restoro

Excellent software for your PC health thanks to its removal and repair features.

Free Trial Download now

After the troubleshooter fixes the problem, feel free to repeat Solution 1 and check if your thumbnails appear.

3. 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.

4. Run 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.

5. 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

Expert tip:

SPONSORED

Some PC issues are hard to tackle, especially when it comes to corrupted repositories or missing Windows files. If you are having troubles fixing an error, your system may be partially broken.
We recommend installing Restoro, a tool that will scan your machine and identify what the fault is.
Click here to download and start repairing.

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.

6. 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

7. 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. Check Save taskbar thumbnail previews and Show thumbnails instead of icons.
  4. Now, click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    performance options window some thumbnails not showing windows 10

8. Use Group Policy Editor

  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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

Feel free to let us know the solution that worked for you in the comments below.

This article covers:Topics: