How to Clear the Thumbnail Cache Using Disk Cleanup in Windows?

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Windows keeps a copy of all of your picture, video, and document thumbnails in a cache database so they can be displayed quickly when you open a folder. Sometimes due to thumbnail cache corruption, thumbnail previews may not work for some files, for a particular icon size or for all icons sizes.

Thumbnail preview problems can be resolved by clearing the thumbnail database and let the system rebuild it as required. To reset the thumbnail cache in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows 10, use the steps in this article.

How to Clear the Thumbnail Cache using Disk Cleanup

  1. Click Start, type Disk Cleanup, click Disk Cleanup from Search results. Or, run cleanmgr.exe directly.
  2. Select the Operating System drive letter (usually C:\) from the drop-down, and click OK.
    cleanmgr drive selection screen
  3. Uncheck all the entries except Thumbnails
    cleanmgr clear thumbnail cache checkbox
  4. Click OK, and click Delete Files to confirm.
    cleanmgr delete confirmation
  5. After the cleanup is complete, logoff and login back for the change to take effect.

More Information

The thumbnail cache database is stored under the following folder path:

%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

For each view mode/size, separate cache file is maintained. The thumbnail cache database file names would be as below:

  • thumbcache_wide_alternate.db
  • thumbcache_16.db
  • thumbcache_32.db
  • thumbcache_48.db
  • thumbcache_96.db
  • thumbcache_256.db
  • thumbcache_768.db
  • thumbcache_1280.db
  • thumbcache_1920.db
  • thumbcache_2560.db
  • thumbcache_custom_stream.db
  • thumbcache_exif.db
  • thumbcache_idx.db
  • thumbcache_sr.db
  • thumbcache_wide.db

If you plan to clear them manually, close all running programs, open a Command Prompt window, exit the shell, and do the deletion via Command Prompt.

That’s it! Hope this article explained in detail how to clear the thumbnail cache in your Windows computer.

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  3. [Fix] Windows 10 Deleting Thumbnail Cache Automatically
  4. Fix “No Preview Available” and No Thumbnails for Media Files
  5. How to Enable or Disable Thumbnail Previews Quickly Using Right-Click Menu
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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.