In your article What is thumbs.db, and can I delete it? your fix did not work for me. I am on Windows 7. ‘Do Not Cache Thumbnails’ is not in my View Tab under Folder Options of Windows Explorer. Do you have a fix for Windows 7 for this issue?
Indeed, I do.
How you control thumbs.db has changed in Windows 7.
We’ll take a look at how to turn it off and review what it’s used for.
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Thumbs.db is a cache file created by Windows Explorer when you view a folder in any of it’s “icons” view. It’s often a hidden file so you may not always see it unless you have the “view hidden files” option enabled.
The idea is that when the icons are created for you to view they’re saved, so that the next time you view the same folder Windows Explorer no longer has to actually create thumbnails – it can just pick them up from the cache. It’s a classic space/speed trade-off. For the cost of a little disk space, Windows Explorer can display things a little quicker.
Personally, I never use icon view in Windows Explorer. On those occasions where it accidentally happens, I don’t really want Windows Explorer to create the thumbs.db files. I don’t really care if Windows Explorer is going to be a little slower; I care more that my hard disk is not littered with these files.
Fortunately, it’s easy to turn off.
Turning Off Thumbs.db Creation
Type into the Windows 7 start menu’s search box (or into the Run dialog after pressing Windows Key + R), “gpedit.msc” and press Enter. This runs the “Local Group Policy Editor”, a tool which can be used to control many of Windows features and options.
Expand on the left the following:
- User Configuration
- Administrative Templates
- Windows Components
You should see something like this:
(I’ve made the left pane a little bigger and scrolled it up to show where we are.)
Scroll down in that left pane, and click on Windows Explorer:
If you look closely you can already see where we’re headed.
I’ll make that right pane a little bigger and you’ll see the setting we want:
You can see that here it’s set to “not configured”, which means that it’ll take on the default setting, which is to cache thumbnails.
Double click on the item and you’ll get a (large) dialog in which to change the setting:
Click on Enabled, then click on OK to make the change we want.
This is one of those weird double-negative-like things:
- The option is to turn off thumbnails.
- We want that option enabled.
It’s tempting to go spelunking here in the policy editor, and in all honesty that’s a fine thing to do – as long as you look but don’t touch. There are settings here that can have unintended consequences. If you elect to make additional changes here just make sure you know what you’re doing first.
And of course have that system backup ready, just in case.