Are your image files showing up with a generic mountain and lake scene instead of the miniature or thumbnail display in File Explorer? And video files may show up with a generic icon/thumbnail.
This article tells you how to enable thumbnails in File Explorer on Windows 10/11 and earlier.
Fix: Thumbnails Not Showing up in File Explorer
To view the thumbnails for your images, media, or other file types, choose one of the following folder views from the ribbon toolbar:
- Medium Icons
- Large Icons
- Extra Large Icons
If thumbnail previews are not still not displayed, follow the steps below.
Enable thumbnails via Folder Options
- Right-click Start, and click Run.
- Type control folders and click OK. This opens the Folder Options dialog.
- In the View tab of Folder Options, uncheck the following option:
Always show icons, never thumbnails
- Click OK.
Alternatively, you can also enable thumbnails via the Performance Options dialog. Launch
sysdm.cplvia the Run dialog → Advanced tab → Performance → Settings → Show thumbnails instead of icons → OK
This restores the thumbnail images for your pictures, media, and all other file types.
- Fix “No Preview Available” and No Thumbnails for Videos
- [Fix] PDF Thumbnail and Preview Not Showing Up in File Explorer
[Tweak] Enable or disable thumbnail view via the right-click menu
To toggle the display of thumbnail previews without going into Folder Options every time, here is a Windows Script solution for you that adds the Enable/Disable Thumbnails in the right-click menu.
- Download togglethumbs.zip and save it to the Desktop. The archive contains a registry file and a VBScript — both are plain-text files.
- Unzip the archive and extract the contents to a folder.
- Move the file
togglethumbs.regto merge the contents to the registry.
The Enable/Disable Thumbnails option is now added to the context menu, which will be seen when you right-click on the Desktop and when right-clicking on an empty area in a folder.
This adds the Enable/Disable Thumbnails option to the right-click menu. This script works in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10.
And here is a small YouTube video — togglethumbs.avi
Clear the thumbnail cache
If the thumbnails still don’t appear in File Explorer, see if clearing the thumbnail cache using Disk Cleanup helps.
- How to Clear the Thumbnail Cache Using Disk Cleanup
- [Fix] Thumbnail Cache Auto Deletion Problem in Windows
Are thumbnails missing in OneDrive folders?
In some systems, the thumbnail previews don’t show up in the OneDrive Documents or Pictures folders, even though the files are available offline.
To work around the problem, disable the Files On-Demand feature in OneDrive.
- Launch OneDrive, and open settings.
- On the “Sync and backup” tab, disable the “Files On-Demand” toggle button.
This should bring back the thumbnails in OneDrive folders.
Check your Thumbnail registry settings
In some cases, none of the above steps work, and the thumbnails may appear blank, as in the image below:
In that case, a registry setting may need to be fixed.
- Launch the Registry Editor by running
- In the Registry Editor, go to the following keys one by one:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
- In each of the above keys, ensure the IconServiceLib REG_SZ value exists and points to IconCodecService.dll.
If the value is missing, create it manually and set its data as above.
- Exit the Registry Editor.
- Restart Windows.
Is the Preview Pane not working?
If the preview pane on the right shows the generic image instead of the actual image preview or video mini-player control, you’ll need to enable the Show preview handlers in preview pane option in the Folder Options dialog.
The thumbnails, as well as the preview pane functionality, should be restored.
One small request: If you liked this post, please share this?One "tiny" share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog. Some great suggestions:
- Pin it!
- Share it to your favorite blog + Facebook, Reddit
- Tweet it!