This post will help you if your Thumbnail Previews are not showing in Windows File Explorer and how you can enable or disable Thumbnails in Windows 11/10 Explorer.
Whenever you open Explorer and view images, you see the miniature of the image in its icon’s place. These are called Thumbnails. But if you see only its default icon, then this post will help you fix the issue. It may happen in Windows 11/10 or any other older version with any file, including images, video, documents, etc.
Video or Picture Thumbnails not showing in Explorer on Windows 11/10
If Video or Picture Thumbnail Previews are not showing in File Explorer, then follow these methods to enable or disable Thumbnails in Windows 11/10:
- Delete Thumbnails in Disk Cleanup Utility
- Disable Always show icons
- Enable thumbnails instead of icons
- Tweak Group Policy settings
- Change this setting in your Codec Pack
- Rebuild Thumbnail Cache.
To know more about these steps, continue reading.
1] Delete Thumbnails in Disk Cleanup Utility
Windows computer stores the thumbnail cache for every type of file you have on your PC. Therefore, deleting the cache using Disk Cleanup Utility might fix the issue. For that, do the following:
- Search for disk cleanup in the Taskbar search box.
- Click the respective search result.
- Select the C drive and click the OK button.
- Tick the Thumbnails checkbox and click the OK button.
- Restart your computer and check your files in File Explorer.
It should fix the issue immediately.
2] Disable Always show icons
The File Explorer Options panel comes with an option that blocks Windows from showing thumbnails for all the files. If this setting is enabled, you can find the default icons instead of the file’s thumbnail. To verify or disable this option, follow these steps:
- Search for file explorer options in the Taskbar search box.
- Click on the individual search result.
- Switch to the View tab.
- Remove the tick from the Always show icons, never thumbnails checkbox.
- Click the OK button.
- Restart Windows Explorer using Task Manager.
After that, you can find all the picture thumbnails in File Explorer.
3] Enable thumbnails instead of icons
There is another setting in Windows that prevents the system from show thumbnails of your media files. To verify or turn on/off that setting, you need to follow these steps:
- Search for advanced system settings and click on the search result.
- Click the Settings button under the Performance tab.
- Tick the Show thumbnails instead of icons checkbox.
- Click the OK button.
- Restart the Windows Explorer process.
Once you have done this, you will be able to see Thumbnail Previews for images, videos, and other file types in File Explorer in Windows 11/10/8.1.
You may be required to restart Explorer.
4] Tweak Group Policy settings
Open Group Policy Editor and navigate to the following setting:
User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows components > File Explorer > Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons.
Select Disabled and click Apply/OK
5] Change this setting in your Codec Pack
If you use the K-Lite Codec Pack on your system, you can enable thumbnails via its settings:
- Open K-Lite Codec Pack using Search
- Go to the Codec tweak tool.
- Go to Thumbnails
- Enable all formats.
6] Rebuild Thumbnail Cache
Finally, rebuild Thumbnail Cache and see if it helps. You can do this manually or use our freeware Thumbnail & Icon Cache Rebuilder. Make sure to run it as an admin.
Why is File Explorer not showing thumbnails?
At times, File Explorer might not show thumbnails due to different reasons. If a certain setting is enabled on your computer, you might get this problem. Some of the accountable settings are Always show icons, never thumbnails, and Show thumbnails instead of icons. If these settings are enabled or disabled, you might get this problem on your computer.
Why won’t my thumbnails show image?
If you have enabled Always show icons, never thumbnails, or disabled Show thumbnails instead of icons setting in your computer, your PC will not show thumbnails. Instead, it shows the default file icons accordingly. You need to follow the aforementioned guide to get rid of this problem.
On a related note, did you know that Explorer Thumbnails offer four border options, viz. No border, Straight border, Photo border, and Shadow border. See how you can change Thumbnail Preview Border in Windows.