Why You Should Disable Thumbnails in Windows
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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?

  • Whenever you open a folder, Windows has to use resources to load all the thumbnails. This isn’t a huge deal for folders with two documents, but opening a folder with 500 pictures could take several seconds to load them all. Thus, using Windows will feel faster with thumbnails disabled.
  • Storing thumbnails takes up space on your PC. Those with paltry amounts of disk space can save some storage by removing them.
  • Thumbnails could compromise your privacy. Someone walking behind your desk could oversee a thumbnail and perhaps gain access to sensitive information you’d rather they not know.

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.

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

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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.