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Thumbnails Not Working: How To Restore Image Preview

Vincent from Oakhurst, NJ writes:

At one time if I selected “View Icons” (small, medium, or large, I would see the actual picture or graphic. However, over time I have downloaded and played with several media viewers, etc. Now, I don not see the photo or graphic. I just see a logo or some other graphic representing the viewer program. How can I restore things so that I again see the actual photo or graphic? Thanks – Vince


The feature Vince is talking about is the thumbnail preview option in Windows Explorer. You can change the display of your files in an explorer window by clicking the small thumbnail icon in the upper right hand corner and select from a list of options. Any of the options that include icons in the name will display either the generic icon associated with that file type, or in the case of images, a preview of the image.

The problem you’re having with previewing an image may be caused by Windows Explorer not being set up to preview images any longer. To change that open Windows Explorer to a folder you commonly store pictures in (for example the Pictures library) and click Organize, then click Folder and search options.

Click on the View tab. Under the heading Files And Folders, make sure there is no check mark next to “Always show icons, never thumbnails.” If there is a check mark, uncheck it and click Apply then click OK.

Your next step is to open a run dialog box (Start, then Run or hold down the Windows key and press the letter R) and type sysdm.cpl and press OK. This will open System Properties. Click on the Advanced tab, then under the Performance box click Settings. Scroll down to “show thumbnails instead of icons” and click the check-box so that that item has a check. Click Apply then OK.

Reboot your computer and your image previews (for supported files) should now be working.