Thumbnail Previews not showing in Windows File Explorer

This post will help you if your Thumbnail Previews are not showing in Windows File Explorer and show you how you can enable or disable Thumbnails in Windows 8 or Windows 7 explorer.

Whenever you open Explorer and view images, you see the miniature of the image in its icons place. These are called Thumbnails. But if you see only its default icon, then this post will help you fix the issue.

Thumbnail Previews not showing

First open Disk Cleanup Utility and use it to delete Thumbnails. This will clear your Thumbnail cache. Next, open Control Panel and click open Folder Options. Here under the View tab, ensure that Always show icons, never thumbnails is unchecked.

show Thumbnail Preview

Click Apply and Exit.

Alternatively, you could do the following. Open Control Panel, select All Control Panel Items and then click on System. Now, on the left side, you will see Advanced system settings. Click on it.

Next, under the Advanced tab, click on Performance Settings. Under the Visual Effects tab, you will see Show thumbnails instead of icons. Make sure that this option is checked. Click on Apply and Exit.

Thumbnail Previews are not showing

You may be required to restart explorer.

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 10/8.1.

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.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.