21 Fixes For Thumbnails Not Showing In Windows 10

If you are like us, who prefers thumbnails instead of icons, you must get annoyed when Windows OS randomly decides that it doesn’t want to show the thumbnails.

You can do a few tweaks in your File Explorer to solve this issue. However, the thumbnails not showing could be arising from a much deeper system issue. Fret not. We have got you covered.

Why are Thumbnail Images and Video Thumbnails Not Showing Windows 10?

Sometimes Windows makes our thumbnails for files disappear or shows wrong thumbnails. The underlying cause could be anything from corruption in system files to minor tweaks in file explorer.

The settings in Windows Explorer are the most probable cause for thumbnails getting disabled or thumbnails not showing for files.

A corrupted thumbnail cache or corrupted photos are also to blame if the thumbnails are not displayed in the picture preview.

Some other causes when thumbnails are not showing in Windows 10 are:

  • Corrupt system thumbnail cache files
  • Windows 10 Operating System bugs
  • Thumbnail setting disabled
  • Malware or virus attack

Solutions To Photos Thumbnails Not Showing

Windows 10 allows us a few ways to reset the system settings and fix the thumbnails not showing issues. With the help of this guide, we will walk you through the process of fixing the picture preview issue.

  1. Check File Explorer Options
  2. Use The UNC Path (using IP address)To Access The Shared Folder
  3. Check Your Context Menu
  4. Restore File Explorer Options To Default
  5. Run SFC Scan
  6. Download The Fix It Tool
  7. Use Disk Cleanup Tool To Remove Your Thumbnails
  8. Restore Default Settings For The Problematic Folder
  9. Free Some Space On Your System Drive
  10. Check Advanced System Settings
  11. Remove Problematic Applications
  12. Install The Necessary Codecs
  13. Use Group Policy Editor
  14. Scan Your System For Spyware
  15. Set A Different Default Application For Affected Thumbnail Files
  16. Install Paint Shop Pro
  17. Make Sure That Iconcodecservice.Dll Is Enabled
  18. Upgrade Your Ram
  19. Use Third-party Thumbnail Generator
  20. Modify Your Registry
  21. Prevent Windows From Deleting Your Thumbnail Cache

Fix 1. Check File Explorer Options

There is a high possibility that the thumbnails not showing issues because of file explorer settings. Many times, we change the settings inadvertently, which affects the visibility of the thumbnail.

Step 1. Write File Explorer Options in the Windows search bar by pressing the Windows icon key.

Step 2. Open File Explorer Options Window and navigate to the View tab.

Select File Explorer Options

Step 3. Inside the advanced settings section, ensure that the check box for Always show icons never thumbnails option is unchecked.

Uncheck Always show icons never thumbnails option

Step 4. Click OK to save and check if you can see the thumbnails.

The File explorer changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the folder where you couldn’t get thumbnail previews and check thumbnails are visible. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 2. Use The UNC Path (using IP address) To Access The Shared Folder

The thumbnails not showing Windows 10 issues have been encountered by many users while trying to access any shared folder.

The problem was that the thumbnails weren’t visible when users were trying to access the drive on the network using the drive letters.

They were able to fix it by using the UNC path IP_addresssharename for accessing the folder. However, this will take longer than usual. It is not an exemplary solution, but it is a possible workaround.

The changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the shared folder where you couldn’t get thumbnail previews and check thumbnails are visible. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 3. Check Your Context Menu

Sometimes when you use third-party photo viewer applications, the thumbnails could go missing from videos and pictures.

One of the possible causes for this is that Windows used codecs ACDSee to create thumbnails. ACDSee is the potential cause here, so you can skip this solution if you are not using ACDSee.

Step 1. Right-click on the image that has no thumbnail.

Step 2. You will be met with two preview options. Select either one and see if the thumbnails get generated.

The changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the shared folder where you couldn’t get thumbnail previews and check thumbnails are visible. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 4. Restore File Explorer Settings To Default

Suppose the thumbnails have stopped displaying after you recently made changes to the File Explorer view settings. If it’s true, it is possible that the file explorer settings have been causing an error.

Step 1. Write File Explorer Options in the search bar by pressing the Windows icon key.

Step 2. Open File Explorer Options Window and navigate to the View tab.

Step 3. Click on the Restore Defaults button on the bottom right corner of the window to restore file explorer options.

Select file explorer options to default

Step 4. To apply the changes click on OK button.

The file explorer options changes will be applied to the windows thumbnails. Open the folder where you couldn’t get thumbnail previews and check if you can view the image thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 5. Run SFC Scan

Windows 10 offers an efficient file checker utility tool called System File Checker (SFC) utility. The tool is used to scan all the system files and repair or replace them with their cached copies available in the system.

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Corrupted system files are primarily responsible for system errors and crashes. The thumbnail preview not showing issues could also be due to these corrupted files. You can resolve thumbnails not showing problems by running the SFC file scan command in the command prompt window.

Step 1. You have to launch a command prompt window as an administrator. To do it, press the Windows icon key and type Command Prompt in the search box.

Step 2. Select the Command prompt and click the Run as administrator option given on the right side of the window. Alternatively, you can right-click or double click on the command prompt option and select Run as administrator from the menu.

Step 3. In the system confirmation box, choose Yes.

Run SFC scan in command prompt to show thumbnails

Step 4. Write sfc /scannow in the command line and press the enter key.

The Scan will take some time to complete. Please wait patiently for it to end. You might think that the Scan is stuck or isn’t working. Nonetheless, please have patience and allow the system to finish scanning and repairing the files.

Once the process completes, open the folder where you couldn’t get thumbnail previews and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 6. Download The Fix It Tool

Microsoft offers various tools to fix the problems related to files and folders, including the tools to improve the missing icons and thumbnails problems.

You can download Fix it software from Microsoft’s website and run it on your computer. The software comes with easy-to-follow on-screen instructions to troubleshoot all your problems.

Once the troubleshooter fixes the missing thumbnails, the changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the shared folder where you couldn’t get thumbnail previews and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 7. Use Disk Cleanup Tool To Remove Your Thumbnails

All the thumbnails are stored in a separate cache called thumbnail cache, which can get corrupted for numerous reasons.

Due to the thumbnails being corrupted, Windows is unable to display them. You can use Disk Cleanup, software offered by Windows 10, to clear the thumbnail cache.

Once you clear the thumbnail cache, Windows will later create another cache for the thumbnails.

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type Disk Cleanup in the search bar.

Disk Cleanup Tool

Step 2. Select the Disk Cleanup app and press enter to run the application.

Step 3. A Disk Cleanup window will open. Select Drive C in the Select the drive you want to clean up from the drop-down list. You can choose any other drive (D: or E:) for which you want to clear the thumbnail cache.

Disk cleanup to clear thumbnail cache

Step 4. Click on OK to begin the scanning of the selected disk.

Step 5. Please wait patiently for disk scanning to complete. The time taken for scanning will depend on the number of files that need scanning.

Step 6. Once the system scanning is complete, click on the Thumbnails option and uncheck any other cache files checked by default.

Step 7. Click on OK button for the cleanup to begin.

Windows will now automatically generate a new thumbnail. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 8. Restore Default Settings For The Problematic Folder

It is possible that in many folders, you can view the thumbnails, but in some, they aren’t visible. The cause could be related to the problematic folder, and it can be fixed by restoring the default settings for that folder.

Step 1. Navigate to the location where the problematic folder is located.

Step 2. Right-click on the folder to see the available options.

Step 3. Choose Properties option from the menu to open the folder’s properties.

Step 4. Move to the Customize folder and click on the Restore Defaults button available under the Folder pictures section.

Step 5. To apply the changes Click on OK button.

The changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 9. Free Some Space On Your System Drive

Insufficient memory in your C drive could be one of the possible causes for thumbnails to disappear. You need to make space in the C drive to make the thumbnails reappear.

Users have suggested that uninstalling large programs and files helps us in emptying memory. Alternatively, Windows offers a Disk Cleanup app that can delete old and unused files unnecessarily hogging space.

Fix 10. Check Advanced System Settings

Missing thumbnails could also be caused due to inappropriate Advanced System Settings. You can tweak the view advanced system settings to make sure that the picture thumbnails are visible.

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type view advanced system settings in the search box.

Step 2. Tap the top result to open the System properties window.

Step 3. Navigate to the Advanced tab and go to the performance section. Click Settings button.

Picture Thumbnails not showing Windows 10

Step 4. To change Visual Effect Settings, go to the visual effects tab, go to the Custom section, scroll down to locate Save taskbar thumbnail previews, and Show thumbnails instead of icons checkboxes and tap them.

Step 5. Click on OK button.

Windows will save taskbar thumbnail previews changes. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview picture thumbnails and check if you can view the pictures thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 11. Remove Problematic Applications

When you download any third-party software, they interfere with Windows settings and cause many problems, including those related to thumbnails.

The latest audio or video software that you installed may be interfering with Windows. So, if you have recently installed any audio or video application, you should uninstall it. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails and check if you can view the thumbnails.

If you can view the thumbnails, you can go ahead and find an alternative to the software or try installing it again correctly. There’s a chance it wasn’t installed the first time correctly.

Some users complained that installing Java had caused the issue in their system. If that’s the case with you, try updating Java to its latest version.

There is no definite way to put a name to which application might be causing thumbnails error, and you can try the hit and trial method to find out. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

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Fix 12. Install The Necessary Codecs

Missing codecs prevent Windows from playing video files and cause thumbnails to disappear. You need to identify the codecs and install the missing codecs to fix the issue.

Codec is a password that is used to compress and decompress videos and songs. Codecs are used by all media players, including Windows Media Player, to create and play any media.

Windows 10 comes with a hefty variety of codecs, including MKA, XVID, AMR, OFR, DIVX, APE, OGV, EVO, M4B, OGM, MPC, FLAC, FLV, MKV, RMVB, and OGG.

However, sometimes we accidentally delete some of these codecs or require additional codecs. If your thumbnails are not showing in Windows 10, you can try installing codecs to see if it works for you.

You can install the Shark007 application to install the missing codecs from your system. The software will help you in downloading a complete codecs pack.

Shark007 is the most reliable of all codecs software; however, you can also use K-Lite Codec Pack, X Codec Pack, or Windows Media Codec Pack.

Once the Codec software is installed, use it to get the necessary codecs. The changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 13. Use Group Policy Editor

Windows 10 offers a powerful tool called the Group Policy Editor used to control various settings on your computer.

If your system has Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise versions, you can use this to resolve the thumbnails issue. The solution is not applicable for Windows Home users.

Step 1. Simultaneously press the Windows icon key and R key to open the run dialog box. Type gpedit.msc in the text box next to Open: label and click on OK. Alternatively, you can press enter.

Change file explorer options to show thumbnails

Step 2. Inside the Local Group Policy Editor window, navigate to User Configurations and open the Administrative Templates folder. Search for the Start Menu and Taskbar folder and click it to open it in the right pane.

User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar

Step 3. Scroll down until you find Turn off taskbar thumbnails in the right window pane.

Step 4. Double click on the file to open its settings. Click on the Disabled radio button and click Apply. Later, click on OK and close the window.

Alternatively, you can change the file explorer settings in the file explorer folder of Group Policy Editor.

Step 1. Simultaneously press the Windows icon key and R key to open the run dialog box. Type gpedit.msc in the text box next to Open: label and hit OK. Alternatively, you can press enter.

Step 2. Inside the Local Group Policy Editor window, navigate to User Configuration and open the Administrative Templates folder. Search for Windows Components and open File Explorer folder. Click it to open it in the right pane.

User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer

Step 3. Scroll down until you find Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display the icon in the right window pane.

Step 4. Double click on the file to open its settings. Click on the Disable or Not Configured radio button and click Apply. Later, click OK and close the window.

The file explorer settings will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 14. Scan Your System For Spyware

It is possible that when you downloaded a file from the internet or inserted a corrupted drive in your computer, it got infected by viruses and malware.

It is always recommended that you download files and software from trusted websites. Also, you should always scan any inserted drive before accessing it in the system.

Fortunately, Windows 10 comes with a robust security tool called Windows Defender to protect your system from such spyware or malware. Alternatively, you can also use trusted third-party antivirus software to resolve the problem.

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type Windows Security in the search box.

Step 2. Open the Windows Security app and navigate to the Virus and threat protection menu.

Step 3. Under the current threats section, only the Quick Scan option is available. Click on the Scan options menu to get more scan choices.

Step 4. Click on the Full Scan radio button and press the Scan Now button.

Step 5. The defender will begin scanning all the files on your computer. You can use your system for your work while the scanning progresses.

Step 6. Any virus, malware, or spyware threats, if found, will be dealt with appropriately. The defender will generate a report of the fixed or not fixed threats.

Restart your computer, open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails, and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

Fix 15. Set A Different Default Application For Affected Thumbnail Files

You can set an alternative application to open the problematic file type. It is relatively simple and will be able to fix the thumbnails problem for the problematic file type.

Step 1. Right-click on the File and expand Open with option. Click on Choose another app.

Step 2. How do you want to open this file? dialog box will open. choose the application you wish your File to open with and check the Always use this app to open files checkbox.

This will open the selected file type with the selected application and hopefully fix the thumbnail preview issue.

Alternatively, you can open the Settings app to set a default application for the problematic file types.

Step 1. Simultaneously press the Windows icon, and I key to open the settings app.

Step 2. Please navigate to the Apps section and go to the default apps. Click on Choose default apps by the protocol option given on the right pane.

Step 3. Locate the file extensions for which you want to set a default app and then choose the application from the list available next to it.

Step 4. In the Choose an app box, select how you want to open that file type by default.

Step 5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 for the extensions that are missing thumbnails.

The changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the subsequent fixes.

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Fix 16. Install Paint Shop Pro

Paint Shop Pro users have reported that while they were using the 32-bit version of the software, they were facing the thumbnail not showing the problem. But the issue got resolved once they switched to the 64-bit version.

If you are a Paint Shop Pro user, you can also follow the solution and fix the missing picture preview issue.

Fix 17. Make Sure That IconCodecService.dll Is Enabled

Windows uses the IconCodecService.dll service to convert PNG icons into BMP icons. When this service is disabled, thumbnails might not get displayed.

You must ensure that the service is not disabled in your system. If it is, then enable it from the Services app.

Fix 18. Upgrade Your RAM

Insufficient RAM could be a likely cause of the thumbnail preview problem. Although RAMs don’t usually affect the thumbnails, replacing your RAM could be a possible solution.

Several users claim that insufficient RAM was causing the issue, and they could fix it by installing more RAM. 

You can try this fix as a last resort because investing in additional RAM could be costly and might not always resolve the thumbnail cache issue.

Fix 19. Use Third-party Thumbnail Generator

If not one of the above fixes worked, you could try using a third-party thumbnail generator to get a thumbnail preview.

Many tools such as Icaros will help you in fixing the thumbnails not showing problems. You just need to install the thumbnail generator software and the rest will be taken care of.

Once you have launched the Icaro app, check if the thumbnails not showing Windows 10 error have been resolved or not. You can follow the subsequent fixes if it doesn’t work.

Fix 20. Modify Your Registry

Windows comes with a database called Windows Registry that contains all the information that your operating system and other programs on your system use. The operating system uses this registry to manage the computer, allocate computer resources to various programs, store custom settings for programs, etc.

The error of thumbnails on videos and pictures could be due to issues in the registry. However, making changes in the registry requires professional experience because any small mistake can cause significant problems in your system.

Step 1. Simultaneously press the Windows icon and R key to open the run dialog box.

Step 2. Type regedit in the Open: label text box.

Step 3. Press the OK button or press enter to open the registry editor.

Step 4. In the registry address bar, copy and paste the following address:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Alternatively, you can navigate to the file explorer folder using the folders given on the left pane.

(i) Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder and go inside the SOFTWARE folder.

(ii) Now go inside the Microsoft folder and open the Windows folder.

(iii) In the Windows folder, search for the CurrentVersion folder and then look for the Policies folder.

(iv) In the policies folder, open File Explorer folder.

Step 5. Tap the Explorer folder to show its contents on the right side of the window.

Step 6. Look for the filename DisableThumbnails DWORD on the right side, where the contents of the Explorer folder are present.

Step 7. If you cannot find the file/folder, right-click on the screen and go to New -> DWORD (32-bit) from the list of options in the menu.

Step 8. Double-tap the DWORD and Rename the DWORD as DisableThumbnails by entering it in the Value name: text box.

Step 9. In the Value data: text box, enter 0 and click the OK button.

Step 10. Now close the Registry window and restart your computer.

The changes will be applied to the thumbnails. Open the folder where you couldn’t preview thumbnails and check if you can view the thumbnails. If the problem persists, check the next fix.

Fix 21. Prevent Windows From Deleting Your Thumbnail Cache

Windows 10 allows users to delete thumbnail cache from your system. It will fix the thumbnail problem, but it is a dangerous solution.

Step 1. Simultaneously press Windows + R keys and type AppData in the Run dialog box, and hit enter.

Step 2. Scroll down to the LocalMicrosoftWindows folder and search for the Explorer directory.

Step 3. Right-click on the directory and choose Properties from the menu.

Step 4. Go to the Security tab and click the Advanced button.

Step 5. Click the Add button below the Permission entries section and click on Select a principal.

Step 6. Type SYSTEM in the Enter the object name to select the field. Click Check Names and click OK.

Step 7. In the Type section, set it to Deny. Click Show basic permissions.

Step 8. Except for Delete subfolders and files and Delete, uncheck all options. Click OK.

The above steps remove access to your system from thumbnails, and it won’t be able to delete them. To fix your thumbnail preview problem, you can try the above fixes (start with simpler ones first).

FAQs

Why Can’t I See The Thumbnails Of My Windows 10 Pictures?

Some causes when thumbnails are not showing in Windows 10 are:
Corrupt system thumbnail cache
Windows 10 Operating System bugs
Thumbnail setting disabled
Malware or virus attack

Why Are My Icons Not Showing Pictures?

Sometimes Windows makes the pictures’ thumbnails for files disappear or shows wrong thumbnails. The underlying cause could be anything from corruption in system files to minor tweaks in file explorer.

Why Are My Thumbnails Blank?

The settings in Windows File Explorer are the most probable cause for thumbnails getting disabled or showing file icons without the preview.
A corrupted thumbnail cache or corrupted photos are also to blame if the thumbnails are not displayed in the picture preview.

How Do I Fix Show Thumbnails Instead Of Icons For Videos In Windows 10?

1. Check File Explorer Options
2. Use The UNC Path (using IP address) To Access The Shared Folder
3. Check Your Context Menu
4. Restore File Explorer Options To Default
5. Run SFC Scan
6. Download The Fix It Tool
7. Use Disk Cleanup Software To Remove Your Thumbnails
8. Restore Default File Explorer Settings For The Problematic Folder
9. Free Some Memory On Your System Drive
10. Check Advanced System Settings
11. Remove Problematic Applications
12. Install The Necessary Codecs
13. Use Group Policy Editor
14. Scan Your System For Spyware
15. Set An Alternative Default Application For Affected Thumbnail Files
16. Install Paint Shop Pro
17. Make Sure That Iconcodecservice.Dll Is Enabled
18. Upgrade Your Ram
19. Use Third-party Thumbnail Generator
20. Modify Your Registry
21. Prevent Windows From Deleting Your Thumbnail Cache