General Enable or Disable Thumbnail Previews in File Explorer in Windows 11


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Thumbnails_banner.png

File Explorer can display thumbnail previews (image) or icons of files in Windows 11.

Starting with Windows 11 build 22557, File Explorer will now show previews of items within folders.

File Explorer displays a thumbnail preview image of the last item added to the folder by default.

This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable thumbnail previews in File Explorer for your account, all users, or specific users in Windows 11.


Thumbnail previews will not show while using a Small icons, List, or Details folder layout.



Contents

  • Option One: Turn On or Off Thumbnail Previews for Current User in Folder Options
  • Option Two: Turn On or Off Thumbnail Previews for Current User in Visual Effects Settings
  • Option Three: Turn On or Off Thumbnail Previews for Current User using BAT file
  • Option Four: Enable or Disable Thumbnail Previews For All or Specific Users in Group Policy
  • Option Five: Enable or Disable Thumbnail Previews for All Users using REG file


EXAMPLE: Thumbnail Enabled and Disabled in File Explorer

Thumbnails_on_File_Explorer.png
Thumbnails_off_File_Explorer.png


1645069384090.png





Option One

Turn On or Off Thumbnail Previews for Current User in Folder Options


1 Open Folder Options.

2 Check (off) or uncheck (on - default) Always show icons, never thumbnails for what you want, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

Thumbnails_Folder_Options.png





Option Two

Turn On or Off Thumbnail Previews for Current User in Visual Effects Settings


1 Open Visual Effects settings (SystemPropertiesPerformance.exe).

2 Check (on - default) or uncheck (off) Show thumbnails instead of icons for what you want, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

Thumbnails_visual_effects.png





Option Three

Turn On or Off Thumbnail Previews for Current User using BAT file


1 Do step 2 (on) or step 3 (off) below for what you want.


2 Turn On Thumbnail Previews for Current User

A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the BAT file below, and go to step 4.​

Turn_on_thumbnail_previews_in_explorer.bat


(Content of BAT file for reference)
Code:
@echo off

REG ADD "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /V IconsOnly /T REG_DWORD /D 0 /F

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
start explorer.exe


3 Turn Off Thumbnail Previews for Current User

A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the BAT file below, and go to step 4.​

Prompt_to_Clear_and_Reset_Thumbnail_Cache.bat


(Content of BAT file for reference)
Code:
@echo off

REG ADD "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /V IconsOnly /T REG_DWORD /D 1 /F

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
start explorer.exe

4 Save the BAT file to your desktop.

5 Unblock and run the BAT file.

6 You will now notice your screen flicker and a command prompt quickly opens and closes as the explorer process is restarted to apply the registry changes.

7 You can now delete the downloaded BAT file if you like.




Option Four

Enable or Disable Thumbnail Previews For All or Specific Users in Group Policy


You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

If you disable thumbnails using this option, it will override Option One, Option Two, and Option Three.

The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Five to configure the same policy.


1 Open the all users, specific users or groups, or all users except administrators Local Group Policy Editor for how you want this policy applied.

2 Navigate to the policy location below in the left pane of the Local Group Policy Editor. (see screenshot below)

User Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/File Explorer

Thumbnails_gpedit-1.png

3 In the right pane of the File Explorer policy, double click/tap on Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4 Do step 5 (enable) or step 6 (disable) below for what you want.


5 Enable Thumbnail Previews in File Explorer for All or Specific Users

This is the default setting.


A) Select (dot) Not Configured, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7. (see screenshot below)​

Thumbnails_gpedit-2.png


6 Disable Thumbnail Previews in File Explorer Thumbnail Previews for All or Specific Users

A) Select (dot) Enabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7. (see screenshot below)​

Thumbnails_gpedit-3.png

7 You can now close the Local Group Policy Editor if you like.




Option Five

Enable or Disable Thumbnail Previews for All Users using REG file


You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

If you disable thumbnails using this option, it will override Option One, Option Two, and Option Three.


1 Do step 2 (enable) or step 3 (disable) below for what you would like to do.


 2. To Enable Thumbnail Previews in File Explorer for All Users

This is the default setting


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Enable_thumbnail_previews_in_File_Explorer_for_all_users.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
"DisableThumbnails"=-

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
"DisableThumbnails"=-


 3. To Disable Thumbnail Previews in File Explorer for All Users

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Disable_thumbnail_previews_in_File_Explorer_for_all_users.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
"DisableThumbnails"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
"DisableThumbnails"=dword:00000001

4 Save the REG file to your desktop.

5 Double click/tap on the downloaded REG file to merge it.

6 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

7 Either Sign out and sign in or restart the computer to apply.

8 You can now delete the downloaded REG file if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

Attachments

  • Thumbnails.png
    Thumbnails.png
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  • Turn_off_thumbnail_previews_in_explorer.bat
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  • Turn_on_thumbnail_previews_in_explorer.bat
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  • Disable_thumbnail_previews_in_File_Explorer_for_all_users.reg
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  • Enable_thumbnail_previews_in_File_Explorer_for_all_users.reg
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Last edited:

CadFather

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Win11
unfortunately, folders have stopped showing any content, and no fix in sight. so back to 10 for me.

Big Thanks for all the help - been using your tips for a few years when stuck
 

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Brink

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unfortunately, folders have stopped showing any content, and no fix in sight. so back to 10 for me.

Big Thanks for all the help - been using your tips for a few years when stuck

Hello,

I hate to say this, but folders also stopped showing thumbnails in the latest version of Windows 10 as well. :(

Your files should show thumbnails though.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

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    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
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    Custom self build
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    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
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    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
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    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
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    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
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    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
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    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
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    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
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    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
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Brink

Administrator
Staff member
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Thread Starter
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My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

CadFather

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true indeed. i have an AHK script automating that process... can't believe how MS keeps making things worse for power users...
 

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CannonRebel

Member
Local time
1:58 AM
Posts
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OS
Windows 11 Pro
This is outrageous, thumbnail previews are used by so many people. Microsoft just took them away and said to bad for you shmuck! Oh well, maybe somebody will design some 3rd party software for a solution. I have 18 years of photography sitting on drives stored in one of my closets, those previews are valuable.
 

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    Windows 11 Pro
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    Dell 3671
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    Micron 16gb 2x8
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    TCL 50"
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    3840 x 2160
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    NVMe SPCC M.2 1TB

    Samsung 860 SSD 1TB

    Seagate Firecuda 2TB
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    2 Internal Case fans
    Antivirus
    Kaspersky Internet Security

Camthelion

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8:58 AM
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OS
Windows 10 and 11
I'm also using W10 21H2 and still I can use the folder thumbnails. When I'm walking over the Internet I really see a lot of people who really can't understand why Microsoft throw the using of folder thumbnails away. Really a lot of people do use this including myself, I do have, I think 10.000
digitalled Musicalbums (maybe more) , every Album was put in a folder and on the outside of this folder I could see which album is in it (Album picture tells you what kind of album is in the folder. And that's the same thing for my movie and videofolders, on the outside you can see whats in it by using the filmposter. Also the same thing for all my Strip comic books and for all my reading books. If microsoft will not chance this I will never use Windows 11.
 

My Computer

System One

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    Windows 10 and 11
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    PC/Desktop
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    Cooler Master, 1CDspeler, 1BluRayspeler, 1BluRaybrander
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    Intel i7-9700K CPU @ 3.60Ghz
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVidia GeForce GT 710
    Sound Card
    Sound Blaster Z SB1500
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1 iiyama Black Hawk, 2 Medion Monitors
    Screen Resolution
    3 keer 1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Intern: SSD. Samsung 250GB - Samsung 1TB - OCZ-Agility 60GB en SCSI Seagate 3TB
    Extern: 2xWD Elements 10TB, ASMT 500GB, Seagate Exp. 1TB, Intenso Ext. 2TB, Intenso USB 3TB, WDC USB 2TB, WDC USB 1TB en nog 12TB aan schijven in PS4 en Zappiti Media Speler
    PSU
    weet ik niet meer (geen zin om te kijken)
    Case
    Cooler Master
    Cooling
    Gewoon
    Keyboard
    Nedis Afyteqe Metal Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Nedis Yesaqua Gaming Mouse
    Internet Speed
    300MB Download, 30MB Upload (Wij hebben hier geen glasvezel)
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    Ziggo Safe Online en Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    2 2Bay Synology Nas Totaal 8 schijven: 4 Intern en 4 Extern = 32 TB

The-Hive

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Location
Wiltshire UK
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I am sticking with 11 but miss the feature. I got around it by using custom folders. I have some folders set to view icons others view details, for me it's how I want to display the contents of different folders
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen Core i9 10900K
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 2080 Super
    Sound Card
    Nvidia HD
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    C: Samsung 2TB P981A
    D: Samsung 2TB 970 Evo
    Case
    Dark side of the moon
    Mouse
    Alienware AW610M
    Browser
    Chrome and Firefox
    Antivirus
    Norton
    Other Info
    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer AX1650i Wi-Fi Network Adaptor
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
    Tobii Eye Tracker
  • Operating System
    Dual Boot Windows 11 Pro / Windows 11 Pro Dev build
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 3501
    CPU
    11th Gen i-7 2.80 gb
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    16Gb
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    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    512Gb SSD
    WD 2GB EXT
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    Chrome
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    Norton

Camthelion

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Local time
8:58 AM
Posts
2
OS
Windows 10 and 11
It's not W10 21H2 but H1
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 and 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Cooler Master, 1CDspeler, 1BluRayspeler, 1BluRaybrander
    CPU
    Intel i7-9700K CPU @ 3.60Ghz
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVidia GeForce GT 710
    Sound Card
    Sound Blaster Z SB1500
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1 iiyama Black Hawk, 2 Medion Monitors
    Screen Resolution
    3 keer 1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Intern: SSD. Samsung 250GB - Samsung 1TB - OCZ-Agility 60GB en SCSI Seagate 3TB
    Extern: 2xWD Elements 10TB, ASMT 500GB, Seagate Exp. 1TB, Intenso Ext. 2TB, Intenso USB 3TB, WDC USB 2TB, WDC USB 1TB en nog 12TB aan schijven in PS4 en Zappiti Media Speler
    PSU
    weet ik niet meer (geen zin om te kijken)
    Case
    Cooler Master
    Cooling
    Gewoon
    Keyboard
    Nedis Afyteqe Metal Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Nedis Yesaqua Gaming Mouse
    Internet Speed
    300MB Download, 30MB Upload (Wij hebben hier geen glasvezel)
    Browser
    Opera
    Antivirus
    Ziggo Safe Online en Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    2 2Bay Synology Nas Totaal 8 schijven: 4 Intern en 4 Extern = 32 TB
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