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Thumbnails not showing in Explorer in Windows Vista

Recently my thumbnails for all image formats (except .ico) have stopped appearing in Explorer in Vista. I have unticked the "Always show icons never thumbnails" option in the Folder and Search options. I have set the visual effects to be for best appearance. I have reapplied the Aero theme. I have also tried deleting thumbs.db and the icon cache. I do not know what else to try. Any help?

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  • Ryan Cannell Jun 11, 2008

    I have changed the setting to best performance, but the problem still exists.

  • Anonymous Dec 22, 2008

    I have the same problem, however the only way I can get them back is to set organise/layout/preview and click on each image the next time you open the folder the thumbnails are back. However this is a long winded way of doing it but works.

  • Ryan Cannell Mar 27, 2009

    I have recently reinstalled Windows, and it is now working - I don't think I ever will know why it wasn't.

    Thanks for all the help, but no more answers needed :)


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In the Advanced System Properties when you right click on (My) Computer, you probably set the Performance Settings to "Adjust for best performance". In there you will see a Custom List of options and "Show thumbnails instead of icons" needs to be checked.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009

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Right Click on 'My Computer' > Select 'Properties' > Select 'Advanced system settings' > In 'Advanced' tab, under Performance section, click 'settings' > Chech the option 'Show thumbnails instead of icons' > Apply & OK Problem Solved ;)

Posted on Aug 12, 2009

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Something I tried and it worked. Go to Tools/Folder options in the Explorer toolbar. If the " Always show icons never thumbnails" is unchecked ....try checking it....then apply and close. Then go back and uncheck it ....apply and close. Dont know why but this worked for me and this has been bugging me for ages.

Good luck.

Posted on Jul 27, 2010

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  • 53 Answers

Do not select the visual effects option to be best for appearence.

Posted on Jun 10, 2008

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Dropbox flashing

Quote from TIA James... it works!

Very recently, possibly after update to 1.0.10, I have noticed a peculiar effect, more so with XP than with Vista.
On opening any folder inside my Dropbox, the window constantly refreshed and flashed for some time, longer if more files. Attempting to scroll down caused the scrollbar to flick back to the top. After some attempts, everything settled down. The folder would then not behave this way again. The effect stopped if View was set to list or details i.e. not thumbnails.
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Query... is the new version incorrectly handling something here? This effect has only recently occurred. But it has occurred on all computers, some XP some Vista. All have updated recently.
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How to clear the thumbnail cache in Windows Vista Clearing the thumbnail...

How to clear the thumbnail cache in Windows Vista pdf_button.png printbutton.png Clearing the thumbnail cache:
Windows keeps a copy of all of your picture, video, and document thumbnails so they can be displayed quickly when you open a folder. If you delete the thumbnail cache, they will be automatically created when needed. The thumbnail preview problems can be resolved by clearing the thumbnail database and let the system rebuild it as and when required.
To do so, use these steps:
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File and folder names are not visible in one drive of my pc

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Open the problematic folder, Press and hold SHIFT key, right-click in empty area and select "View -> Thumbnails". It'll toggle the file/folder names.

Actually its a feature to show/hide file names while in Thumbnails mode.

For Windows Vista and 7:

Open the problematic folder, right-click in empty area and de-select "View -> Hide File names". If the option is not available, then press and hold SHIFT key, right-click in empty area and select "View -> Medium Icons".

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The most likely cause is that windows explorer is very busy or
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One of the most common causes of explorer crashing are large malformed media files (such as downloaded movies) which are inside or below the current directory tree. When you click on a media file or a folder containing media files, Windows explorer scans the entire directory tree for media files in order to generate thumbnails and preview images. This can take a very long time, and if explorer gets stuck on a malformed file, it will totally freeze. Stopping and restarting explorer at that point, as you did, is the only escape, short of re-booting the machine.

In your case, explorer may touch some bad media files during the boot process.

Windows uses two DLL files to do this:
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You can enable and disable these DLL's on the fly, using:

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inside a command script = batch file *.bat

If you disable these DLLs you will not get thumbnails,
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Another trick is to hold down the control key when you menu start a program from the task manager, this launches DOS command mode with no explorer and bypasses many file locking restrictions.

Can you revert to SP-2 ?

(SP-3 is very recent and probably contains new bugs.)

I don't thing it's practical to troubleshoot the system after a major upgrade, looking through hundreds of thousands of registry entries.

Also, I am not sure that SP-3 is totally desirable, because it installs the complete set of updates, some of which are good for Microsoft and VERY bad for you. For example the latest media players are full of DRM (digital rights management = copy protection), and some the updates, such as WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) notification are nothing more than spy-ware designed to identify, target and harass people with shady serial numbers. If you like that kind of abuse, you might as well go all the way and get Microsoft Vista.

You may also want to go into explorer options and disable
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