When a folder contains one or more images in it, the contents of the folder are shown as the thumbnail image for that folder. disable folder content thumbnails Windows allows you to enable or disable thumbnail previews in File Explorer using the Always show icons, never thumbnails setting in the Folder Options dialog. When you turn off thumbnail previews, icons are shown instead of thumbnails — for both files and folders. The Folder Options dialog doesn’t have an option to disable thumbnail preview selectively for folders or for files only. If you need to disable folder content thumbnail previews, and still have the thumbnail previews enabled for files — e.g., PDF, image files, etc., this article has the solution. To turn off folder content thumbnail preview without enabling the Always show icons… setting in Folder Options, the trick is to set a global folder logo (thumbnail) in the folder view template registry key. The important thing here is that the global folder thumbnail template registry entry must point to a non-existent image file, for this to work. And then, you’ll need to reset the thumbnails cache so that the thumbnails for existing folders are refreshed. Follow these steps to disable folder content thumbnail previews:

  1. Copy the following lines to Notepad and save it as a .reg file — e.g., disable_folder_thumbs.reg
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 ;Disable folder thumbnails without disabling thumbnail view for files ;Created by Ramesh Srinivasan on 10-June-2019 for Winhelponline.com ;Note: This fix does NOT reset your saved folder view settings. [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell] "Logo"="d:\\somefile.jpg" 
  2. Double-click disable_folder_thumbs.reg to apply the settings to the registry.
  3. Click Yes when prompted to apply the .reg file. This is how the setting will now look like in the Registry Editor:
  4. The next step is to clear the thumbnail cache so that thumbnail previews for the existing folders are refreshed. Follow one of the methods described in the article How to Clear and Rebuild the Thumbnail Cache in Windows

That’s it! You’ve now disabled folder thumbnails without disabling the thumbnail previews for files. disable folder content thumbnails Editor’s note: Despite the presence of the global folder thumbnail template in the registry, you can still override and customize the folder icon or thumbnail via folder properties, on a per-folder basis.

Undo information

To reverse the above changes (to enable folder thumbnails back), use this .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 ;UNDO REG file [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell] "Logo"=- 

Save the above .reg file as enable_folder_thumbs.regand run it. (The registry method discussed in this article works on all versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11 22H2.)

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Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

By Timothy Tibbetts

File Explorer can show thumbnails images or icons for files and folders on your computer. In this tutorial, we show you how to disable or enable thumbnail previews in Windows.

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File Explorer will show you icons when you have medium, large, or extra large icons turned on:
1: Disable or Enable Thumbnail Previews With Registry or Batch Files You can download Disable or Enable Thumbnail Previews in File Explorer from MajorGeeks and extract the four files: The batch files make the registry changes, as shown in Step 2 below, but then the batch files will close and restart File Explorer for you. The registry files require you to close and restart File Explorer. Turn Off Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.reg
Turn On Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.reg
Turn Off Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.bat
Turn On Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.bat (Default) Right-click on Turn Off Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.bat, Turn Off Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.bat, Turn Off Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.reg or Turn On Thumbnail Previews File Explorer.reg and click Run as Administrator. Click Yes when prompted by User Account Control. This tweak is included as part of MajorGeeks Registry Tweaks. 2: Disable or Enable Thumbnail Previews in Registry Close File Explorer. Open Regedit and copy and paste HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced in the address bar. Double-click on IconsOnly. Change the Value data to 0 to show thumbnails or 1 to hide thumbnails. 3: Disable or Enable Thumbnail Previews in File Explorer Options Open File Explorer and click on Options and click on the View tab. Check or uncheck Always show icons, never thumbnails and Display file icon on thumbnails. Click Apply to see your changes immediately.
4: Disable or Enable Thumbnail Previews in Performance Options Press the Windows Key + R, type in SystemPropertiesPerformance.exe and press Enter. Check or uncheck Show thumbnails instead of icons. While you’re here, many other visual effects can help speed up your computer. Have a look around if performance is your goal over appearance. 5: Disable or Enable Thumbnail Previews in Group Policy Editor You can also make the changes in Group Policy Editor. Windows 10 Home users will need to enable Group Policy Editor. Open Group Policy Editor. Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer Double-click on Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons. Enabled will turn off thumbnails while Not configured or Enabled is the default setting, or on. Similar:

  • Desktop Icons Loading Slowly in Windows
  • How to Rebuild the Windows Icon Cache When Thumbnails or Icons Aren’t Working
  • Rebuild Icon Cache and Clear Thumbnail Cache
  • Stop Windows 10 From Automatically Deleting the Thumbnail Cache
  • How to Disable or Enable Taskbar Thumbnail Cache in Windows 10comments powered by Disqus


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