Why You Should Disable Thumbnails in Windows

Ben Stegner 10-07-2017

You’re probably used to seeing thumbnails in Windows. Whenever you open a folder in the File Explorer, thumbnails let you preview pictures, PDFs, and other common documents without opening them.


But you don’t really need thumbnails. In fact, disabling them could be a bigger benefit than you think. What are the benefits of turning off thumbnails?

If you want to give this a try and turn thumbnails off, you don’t even have to venture into the Registry. You can disable thumbnails by opening a File Explorer window, then going to View > Options. Under the View tab, check the box that says Always show icons, never thumbnails. This will prevent thumbails from showing anywhere in your files.

Should this method not work for some reason, there’s another way to try. Type performance into the Start Menu to open the Adjust the performance and appearance of Windows option. In this menu, uncheck the box labeled Show thumbnails instead of icons to achieve the same effect.

Want to keep Windows snappy? Check out other hidden caches and how to clear them 7 Hidden Windows Caches & How to Clear Them Cached files can take up a lot of bytes. While dedicated tools can help you free up disk space, they might not clear it all. We show you how to manually release storage space. Read More .

Do you like Windows thumbnails or value the benefits of keeping them off? Let us know if you tried living without them by leaving a comment!


Image Credit: wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows Tricks.

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  1. alfie
    August 16, 2017 at 9:05 am

    thumbnails are useful if you are into image editing or using photoshop regularly, most modern pc's can handle displaying thumbnails too, not sure if windows 10 displays photoshop PSD's as thumbnails yet, but if you want them displayed search for sagethumbs program, very handy to see your PSD's like jpegs and bmps!!

  2. Bill Kirchner
    July 10, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    You said that "storing Thumbnails takes up space on your PC". Is there a command to recover that space after you switch back to using ICONS?

    • JohnnyK
      July 23, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      If I recall correctly running disk cleanup will dispose of thumbnail files.