How to Fix Windows 10 Thumbnail Problems

In Windows 10, sometimes thumbnail icons display improperly. This can be easily fixed by deleting the thumbnail cache files.

In Windows 10, sometimes thumbnail icons display improperly. This can be easily fixed by deleting the thumbnail cache files. Let’s explore how to do this.

This is for Windows 10 operating system

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What Are Thumbnails?

By default, instead of using generic icons for documents, Windows 10 creates small pictures of image or document contents called thumbnails. These tiny images are stored in a special file called the thumbnail cache. By using this file, Windows does not have to recreate thumbnail images every time you open a folder.

If you are seeing incorrect thumbnails, it’s likely that the thumbnails stored in the cache for those particular files have been corrupted or are missing. This could be due to a bug in Windows or perhaps an intermittent hardware problem.

In that case, the best course of action is to delete your thumbnail cache and allow Windows to recreate the faulty thumbnails the next time you restart your machine.

Clear the Thumbnail Cache

First, open the Start menu and in the Cortana search bar, type Disk Cleanup. Click on the Disk Cleanup app that appears in the upper left hand corner. See below image:

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Accessomg Disk Cleanup app

In the Disk Cleanup window, locate the Files to Delete list. Uncheck all items except for Thumbmails. With Thumbnails checked, click OK to remove the thumbnail cache file. Refer to below image:

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Checkmark the Thumbnails option

A pop-up dialog box will ask, Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files? Just click Delete Files. See following image:

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Are you sure you want to delete prompt

Another pop-up will appear, this time showing you the progress of deleting your Windows thumbnails. Refer to below image:

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Progress of Disk Cleanup

After the thumbnail cache files have been deleted, restart your computer. Now, open File Explorer or look at the Desktop to see if this has fixed your problem. Hopefully, the thumbnails have been recreated and are now correct. If not, you may want to follow the guidelines below.

Disable Thumbnails

This is only recommended if the above guidelines fails to fix the problem.

Open the Start menu and type in File Explorer Options in the Cortana search bar. Next, click on the associated Control Panel app in the upper left hand corner. Refer to below image:

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Accessing File Explorer Options app

In the File Explorer Options window, click on the View tab. Then, in the Advanced Settings section, checkmark the option Always show icons, never thumbnails. Next, click OK to save your change. See below image:

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Setting the Icons instead of Thumbnails option

Now, close the File Explorer Options window and restart your machine. Windows will now only display standard icons for documents instead of thumbnails

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