How to Fix Pictures Thumbnail Previews Not Showing in File Explorer in Windows 10


Are your images and photos showing up with a generic mountain and lake scene instead of the miniature or thumbnail display in File Explorer? Whenever you open Explorer and view images, you see the miniature of the image in its icon’s place. These are called Thumbnails. Meanwhile, in this guide, you are going to learn how to fix pictures thumbnail previews that are not showing up in File Explorer in Windows 10.

However, Windows 10 users sometimes face odd things whenever they would like to view a directory that contained pictures or videos, they would just see the default icon for that file type rather than a thumbnail preview of the files.

What are Thumbnails?

By default, instead of using common document icons, Windows 10 produces tiny file images or document content called thumbnails. These small images are stored in a separate archive file called a thumbnail cache. With this file, Windows does not have to replicate thumbnail images any time you open a folder.

If you see clogged or wrong thumbnails, it is possible that the thumbnails saved in the cache for those specific files have been corrupted or are absent. This may be due to a Windows bug or an intermittent hardware malfunction.

In that case, the safest immediate action is to uninstall your thumbnail cache—which does not damage your personal data—and allow Windows to re-create the defective thumbnails from scratch the next time you restart your computer. Here’s how to do it.

Fix: Pictures Thumbnails Previews Not Showing up in File Explorer

This problem can occur in File Explorer due to your settings. Windows has the ability to show icons instead of thumbnails, and if this option is turned on, your thumbnails won’t appear at all. Choose one of the following folder views from the ribbon toolbar to display the thumbnails for your photos, media, or other file types: 

  1. Medium Icons
  2. Large Icons
  3. Extra Large Icons

If thumbnail previews are not shown yet, follow the steps below to fix pictures thumbnails previews not showing up in File Explorer:

Step 1. Press Windows key + E to open File Explorer in Windows 10.

Step 2. Now, click on the View tab and then right-click on Options and select Change folders and search options. See the screenshot below to understand it better.

Change folders and search options

Step 3. Select the View tab and uncheck the box next to Always show icons, never thumbnails, and click Apply.

Always show icons, never thumbnails

Step 4. At last, click OK and you are good to go.

Once you get rid of that checked option, you should now get thumbnails for all your pictures, videos, and even documents. In most cases, this option is the main cause of this problem, but after disabling it the issue should be resolved.

Fix Pictures Thumbnail Previews not Showing up

Also Read: 10 Ways to open File Explorer in Windows 10

Alternative Method to Fix Thumbnail Previews Not Showing in File Explorer

Here’s another method to fix pictures or images thumbnail previews not showing in File Explorer:

Step 1. Press Windows key + R to open Run.

Step 2. Type sysdm.cpl and press enter.

How to Fix Pictures Thumbnail Previews Not Showing in File Explorer

Step 3. Go to the Advanced tab and select Settings.

How to Fix Pictures Thumbnail Previews Not Showing in File Explorer
Advanced > Settings

Step 4. Under the Visual Effects tab, you will see Show thumbnails instead of icons. Make sure that this option is checked. Click on Apply and OK.

How to Fix Pictures Thumbnail Previews Not Showing in File Explorer
Show thumbnails instead of icons

Final Words

This post was all about how to fix photos or pictures thumbnail previews are not showing up in Windows File Explorer. With these two methods, you should now be seeing thumbnail previews for pictures, videos, documents, and other file types in Explorer on Windows 8/10.

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