How to Fix Picture Thumbnails Not Showing In Windows 10

Eleanor Reed
7 min readNov 26, 2020


Photo by Panos Sakalakis on Unsplash

Check Picture Status to Fix Thumbnails Not Showing In Windows 10

Before knowing how to recover your images, we must know why it is happening, especially with Windows 10.

When the Windows 10 update was launched in October 2018, it was a total blunder. Not only files were getting deleted on it, but the task manager also had 100 CPU usage. Later on, Microsoft’s director of program management for Windows servicing and delivery, John Cable, admitted the issue by writing a blog.

If you’re still using the same version, then you may also have faced the same issue. Don’t worry. We are here to give you a solution regarding picture thumbnails not showing windows 10.

Restore and View Pictures from Windows 10 Recycle Bin

Applies to undelete photos from Windows 10 Desktop, Windows internal hard drive, and partitions.

Step 1: Double-click on the Recycle Bin icon on Windows 10 Desktop.

Step 2: Locate and right-click on the deleted photos, select “Restore.”

Step 3: The deleted photos will be restored from Recycle Bin to their original locations.

restore photos

Enable Thumbnails in the Folder Settings

Step 1: Click on the file menu and choose options. It will open the folder options dialog box.

Step 2: Uncheck the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” from the view tab of folder options.

Step 3: Now, click on the OK button.

By clicking on the Ok button, you’ve restored the thumbnail images for your pictures, media, and other file types.

Enable Picture Thumbnails in Control Panel

Step 1: Open your PC’s control panel and view the items in the large icons.

Step 2: Now, click on the system and Advanced system settings.

Step 3: In the Advanced tab, click settings under the performance section.

Step 4: Make sure that ‘Show thumbnails instead of icons’ is checked.

Restore File Explorer Options to Default

Step 1: Open File Explorer. Click on the View tab.

Step 2: Click on the Options button.

Step 3: Click on the View tab and then tap on the Reset Folders button.

Step 4: Click the Yes button and then OK.

Once you’re done with the above-given steps, the folder will reset to the default template settings. And your thumbnails will get enabled to your system’s interface automatically.

Enable thumbnails cache with disk cleanup

Step 1: Open the search box by tapping the Window button and tap disk cleanup. Then select the disk cleanup application to start the process.

Step 2: A drive dialogue box will open in front of you. Select your operating system drive (typically drive-C) and then click on the OK button.

Step 3: Now select the disk-cleanup tab. Under the ‘files to delete’ scroll menu check the Thumbnails option, uncheck all other options and then click OK.

Step 4: Again, a dialogue box will pop-up click on the delete file option to confirm that you permanently want to delete these thumbnails cache files.

Now your thumbnails cache is cleared successfully.

Run Scan Health to Clear Thumbnail Cache

Step 1: First of all, you’ve to close all running programs and folders.

Step 2: Then open a Command Prompt window

Step 3: Make sure to exit the Explorer shell

Step 4: To clear thumbnail cache to follow the below-given command,

del “%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\thumbcache*.db” /a

If in case your Access is Denied, then maybe more than one program is using the thumbnail cache database one or more of the open programs are using the thumb cache database. Close all of them and try the same procedure again from safe mode.

Step 5: Once you’re done with the above steps, open the Task Manager (Taskmanager.exe) and Click on File → Run new task → explorer.exe → click OK.

This procedure is the thumbnail feature for your all media, start menu, Taskbar, and the desktop, collectively called “Explorer shell.”

Full Guide to Preview Pictures in Windows 10

Step 1: First, open the file explorer (a folder-shaped File Explorer icon at the bottom of the desktop screen). If it is not present there, then search it from the start menu search box.

Step 2: Open your folder by using the file explorer’s left-hand column. Thereafter, navigate to the folder in which you want to enable image previews.

Step 3: Now click the View tab placed on the upper-left side of the file explorer window. A toolbar will drop-down in front of you.

Step 4: Thereafter, click on the options icon placed on the upper-right corner of the window. You can resemble it through a white box having checkmarks on it. Clicking on it, a pop-up window will appear.

Step 5: Now click on the view tab placed at the top of the pop-up window.

Step 6: Look for the files and folder section near the bottom of the window, and right there, uncheck the “always show icons” option. If you can’t see it, then first double-click the “files and folders” heading to make it appear down below it. After unchecking, click on the apply button and then hit OK.

Step 7: After following the whole process, make sure your folder is displaying the proper viewing option to see the thumbnails preview better. You can choose the preferred viewing format from small/large/extra large accordingly.

How to Prevent Windows 10 Images Corruption or Loss

After studying the causes of Image corruption and deletion, we are here with prevention that you can practice, which will ensure you do not fall into any unwanted situation. Because “prevention is always better than cure.”

Here you go, preventive measures that you should study to avoid the ‘windows 10 image thumbnails not showing’ issue.

Ensure, is your photo viewer compatible with your system:

Did you check that your photo viewer is with your computer’s configuration? Let’s say you have an X64 CPU, then most probably your photo viewer would be unable to perform optimally because it is not compatible with the CPU. In that case, check for the latest updates available for your photo viewer, install, and run it.

Take backup:

Taking regular backup of your data to iTunes or GDrive helps to do work carelessly. You can download your important data anytime if it gets lost.

Insert/eject your storage media properly:

It can be observed that most of us eject the storage media carelessly. Always follow the proper procedure of insertion and ejection while using any USB drive.

Let the computer finish the task:

Don’t be impulsive while downloading, sending, and uploading any image. Let the system take time to finish the process. If you interrupt in-between, it may corrupt your photos. Also, avoid unplugging your power supply directly from the socket.

If your system is taking time to save or download or upload an image, then give it time to finish the process. Do not interrupt the process in-between, as this may corrupt your photos. Moreover, unplugging the power supply directly from the circuit should be avoided as well.

Ensure your system has a consistent power supply:

The most important but least focused factor, which leads to almost 2/3rd of file corruption, is the lack of power backups. Hence, always invest in a good power backup or UPS. If anything goes wrong with your power supply, you always have extra power back-up to avoid any abrupt or sudden shutdown and image corruption.

Do not work on the original files:

If you frequently have this issue with the corrupted image, try to avoid working on the original files. Instead of it, work on copies. When you work on a copied version of the image, if, unfortunately, anything again goes wrong, your original photos are safe and untouched. You can start over again with another copy version and save it when you’re done.

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Eleanor Reed

I am specialized in picture, video, camera and SD card fixes. I ‘d love to translate complicated solutions into easy-to-understand ones.