How to Turn On/Off File Thumbnails in Windows 11

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In Windows 11, File Explorer has the ability to display various sizes of thumbnail images for files, folders, documents, pictures, and videos to give you a quick preview of content without having to open them. Although it’s a useful feature that adds a visual queue to find files faster without even looking at their names, it can take some system resources to process and cache all the previews, especially in image-heavy locations. If your device takes a long time to load previews, you’re troubleshooting a problem, or you’re not interested in using this feature, Windows 11 includes at least three ways to disable thumbnails to display file icons instead of using File Explorer, Settings and Group Policy.

As you probably know, Windows 11 (and Windows 10) has the ability to display a preview of a folder’s content on the icon of the folder itself. For example, if a folder contains videos, Windows 11/10 may display a set of video still images on that folder’s icon when you browse your computer.

Thumbnail previews can be a very useful feature, allowing you to view Windows files without opening them. File Explorer content can be set to extra large icons, large icons, medium icons, and detail/tile view, ideal for those who like to be organized. But like I said, it brings its own set of problems. In this article, we will teach you how to disable file thumbnails in Windows 11.

How to enable/disable file thumbnails in Windows 11

Enable or disable thumbnail previews via File Explorer options

  • Go to ‘File Explorer’ and click on ‘File’
  • In the ‘File Menu’ options, click ‘Change folder and search options’
  • The above action will open the ‘Folder Options’ dialog, here press the ‘View’ tab.
  • Now check the ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails’ option that appears under ‘Advanced settings’.
  • Click ‘OK’ and ‘Apply’ settings.
  • To enable, follow the same process mentioned above up to step ‘3’, and then uncheck the ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails’ option.

Show thumbnail previews via Control Panel

  • From the ‘Start Menu’ go to ‘Control Panel’
  • Click on ‘System and Security’ and press ‘System’.
  • Select ‘Advanced System Settings’ which appears on the left side panel.
  • In the ‘System Properties’ window, click ‘Settings’ under the ‘Performance’ heading.
  • Now in the ‘Performance Options’ dialog, click on the ‘Visual Effects’ tab
  • Check ‘Show thumbnails instead of icons’ under the ‘Custom:’ heading.
  • Click ‘OK’ and ‘Apply’ to save the changes.
  • To disable thumbnail previews via Control Panel, uncheck ‘Show thumbnails instead of icons’ under the ‘Custom:’ heading.

Using Registry Editor

  • Press ‘Windows Key + R’ to open the ‘Run’ dialog.
  • Type ‘regedit’ and press ‘Enter’.
  • Navigate to the following path:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced
  • On the right side of the window, find ‘IconsOnly’ and double click on it.
  • Change the values ​​to Enable/Disable:
    • ‘0’ to show thumbnails
    • ‘1’ to hide thumbnails
  • Click ‘OK’ to save the changes.

Through performance options

  • Press ‘Windows Key + R’ to open the ‘Run’ dialog.
  • Type ‘SystemPropertiesPerformance.exe’ and press ‘Enter’.
  • Now, check or uncheck the ‘Show thumbnails instead of icons’ options to enable or disable thumbnail previews in Windows 10.

Using the Group Policy Editor

  • Press the ‘Win + R’ keys to open the ‘Run’ dialog.
  • Now type ‘gpedit.msc’ and press ‘Enter’.
  • When the browser window opens to the following path:
  • User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer
  • Now on the right side of the window, double click ‘Turn off thumbnail display and only show icons’
  • Click ‘On’ or ‘Off’ to turn the feature on or off.
  • You should now be able to enable thumbnail previews easily.

Final words: How to Turn On/Off File Thumbnails in Windows 11

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!

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