Files and Pictures Thumbnails not showing in Windows 10

Windows 10 cache all the thumbnail images for every folder, file, picture, video, and document, and store all of them into a thumbnail cache database file. Windows uses this database to render the thumbnail as quickly as possible so that you could get a glace of the content of the file before you open it.

Thumbnail database grows over time, as the number of files and folders increases, and sometimes the database gets messed up and corrupted. If the database is corrupted, file explorer will not correctly render the thumbnail; on some files and folders, you may not see the thumbnail preview.

This guide will walk you through two methods to recreate the thumbnail cache database if the thumbnails are not showing correctly in Windows 10.

Thumbnails not showing in Windows 10

If the thumbnails are not showing, then you can recreate the thumbnail database using either disk cleanup or command prompt. We recommend the first method, go with the first one, then choose the second one, if the first method doesn’t work properly.

Rebuild Thumbnail cache using Disk cleanup

  1. First of all, open the File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the C: drive where Windows OS is installed, and then select properties.
  3. On the General tab, click the Disk Cleanup button.
Files and Pictures Thumbnails not showing in Windows 10
  1. This will open a Disk Cleanup window, Under the “Files to delete”, check the Thumbnail, and uncheck all other options.
Files and Pictures Thumbnails not showing in Windows 10
  1. Click the OK.
  2. Next, click the “Delete files” to confirm when dialog box popups.

Windows will automatically recreate the thumbnail cache for all types of files, So you don’t need to do this manually.

Rebuild Thumbnail cache using Command Prompt

If the above method is not working, then follow this method. In the following steps, we will delete all the thumbnail cache database files, and then recreate the cache database.

  1. First of all, click the start menu button, and then search “Command Prompt” in the search box.
  2. Right-click the command prompt in the search result, and then run as administrator.
  3. In the command prompt type the following command to navigate to the thumbnail cache database directory.
Command: cd %homepath%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
  1. To check whether you are at the right location, type the following command.
Command: dir thumbcache*

The result should be like the following.

The following database files are thumbnail cache files, is used to render the file, document, pictures thumbnails.

  • thumbcache_1280.db
  • thumbcache_16.db
  • thumbcache_1920.db
  • thumbcache_256.db
  • thumbcache_2560.db
  • thumbcache_32.db
  • thumbcache_48.db
  • thumbcache_768.db
  • thumbcache_96.db
  • thumbcache_custom_stream.db
  • thumbcache_exif.db
  • thumbcache_idx.db
  • thumbcache_sr.db
  • thumbcache_wide.db
  • thumbcache_wide_alternate.db
Files and Pictures Thumbnails not showing in Windows 10
  1. Type the following command to stop the file explorer.
Command: taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

We’ve stopped file explorer temporarily until we delete all the database files. If the file explorer is running, we can’t delete all the thumbnail database files.

  1. Now, type the following command and delete all the thumbnail database files.

Before you proceed to this step, make sure no program is running, close the program if any.

Command: del thumbcache*

Wildcards (*) is to tell the system to delete all files start from thumbcache.

You might see the error “Access denied”, this is when you’re not running command prompt as administrator. Go back to step 1 and start the command prompt with Admin privileges.

Files and Pictures Thumbnails not showing in Windows 10
  1. To check if any thumbcache database file exists, type the following command.
Command: dir thumbcache*
  1. Now, start the file explorer.
Command: explorer.exe
  1. Exit the command prompt.

Once you start the File Explorer, Windows will automatically recreate the thumbnail cache database, no need to do this manually. In the case, Icons are not showing on files and folders, then you should rebuild and Reset Icon Cache on Windows 10.

I hope now you can see thumbnail preview correctly on files and folders.

If still, on some specific files, thumbnails are not showing on Windows 10, make sure the following option is not checked. Suppose picture thumbnails not showing, then here’s how to fix this.

  1. Open the file explorer.
  2. Select the file that thumbnail is not showing on.
  3. Open the View tab.
  4. Select “options”.
  5. Navigate to the View tab, and then uncheck the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” option.
  6. Click the apply.

I hope now you should be able to see thumbnail on files and folder; if still thumbnail is not showing, this is because Windows need to rebuild a new database. Go back and follow method two again.

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